When disability tech is just a marketing exercise

Publication Title
The Outline
Publication/Creation Date
November 8 2017
Rose Eveleth (creator)
Dean Kamen (contributor)
DEKA Research And Development Corporation (contributor)
Toyota Motor Corporation (contributor)
Food And Drug Administration (FDA) (contributor)
Johnson & Johnson (contributor)
Persuasive Intent
Rose Eleveth discusses the short-lived IBOT wheelchair and its subsequent downfall. Although some wheelchair users benefitted from the invention, it proved to be too impractical and incredibly costly (especially at the $25 000 price tag!) Then, in 2016, it was announced that the IBOT would officially be coming back on the market, thanks to a partnership with Toyota. Despite a press release and ample media coverage, Toyota still does not have a specific plan to develop it. In other words, promoting the “concept of mobility” is more important than actually creating better accessibility. This is an example of what scholar Bonnie Tucker refers to as "Techno-capitalism". 
HCI Platform
Location on Body
Entire Body
Marketing Keywords
IBOT, Google, Toyota