A few months ago we wrote about an all-terrain wheelchair from Leveraged Freedom Chair. While decidedly low-tech, the low cost product offered amazing access to rough terrains around the world. This month, we continue to explore the changing world of personal mobility with a new product from Japanese company WHILL.
WHILL bills itself as a ‘personal mobility device’ in a very high-tech sort of way. Japanese car designers took on wheelchair design and totally reinvented it. WHILL is sturdy, comfortable, and innovative in every way. It starts with omni-directional wheels comprised of 24 small rollers – giving the rider 4-wheel drive and the ability to turn on a dime, moving forward, backward, and even sideways. With an ergonomic joystick control that fits in the palm of a hand, retractable armrests, and a motorized seat for getting in and out, the product appeals to the emotional aspect of mobility and boosts confidence. The sleek high-tech design is also operable from a smartphone app, controlling speed, direction, and other features from a Bluetooth wireless device.
The amazing chair isn’t cheap – it aims to be “the Tesla of sidewalks” and has a current price of $14,000. The battery-powered chair is capable of a more than 10 mile range and speeds of 5.5 mph. This is design that works – or as we say in marketing, form follows function.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Start by showing the video:
- Bring up the company’s Web site: http://whill.us/
- This product is not available in wide distribution yet and has no promotion. Discuss the various promotional tactics that can be used for launching the product.
- Have students come up with tactics and list all the tactics on the white board (ex: billboards, print, direct mail, etc.).
- Divide students into groups to work on this exercise.
- Have each team select three different tactics. For each tactic, explain why it was selected and how it will be used.
- Debrief by putting together the entire suggested lists on the white board. As a final step, have the entire class vote on the top three tactics to use.
Source: CNN Money, Manufacturing Business Technology