‘Freedom, independence, living.’
Darren doesn’t miss a beat when asked to describe the Adapto in three words. ‘This kind of mobility tech brings accessibility. It gives a real ‘can do’ attitude to disability,’ he says.
Darren speaks from experience. As one of Adapt Ability’s team, it’s part of his job to ensure that when we launch a new all-terrain active powered wheelchair it makes the grade.
How? By testing it out for himself – the way it feels, the way it works, how far it can go and where – alongside others in our team, including director Cristian.
Rigorous checks on the quality, safety and comfort of the kit is an essential part of the ‘vetting’ process. Naturally, any Adapt Ability product also needs to look cool…
Enabling people to feel good and travel far
‘That’s easy,’ says Darren. ‘At Adapt Ability, we want people to feel good. We want people to be able to get out to the places they want to go. Self-balancing tech is one of the key features of our range because of the accessibility it provides.
‘The Adapto has the build, reliability, zero-degree turn and all-day comfort we look for in our tech, as well as a really cool Swedish design. It’s so intuitive. You forget you’re on it – it gives you legs.’
Providing an alternative in mobility kit
The Adapto’s September launch was also about giving Adapt Ability’s customers more choice – both on specification and price. It starts from £9,995 and, even better, can currently be delivered in just a matter of weeks.
As Darren explains: ‘We know ourselves that you could have two people with the same disability but with different personal wants and needs. The Adapto allows us to provide an alternative to the Omeo for people who are looking for the same all-terrain accessibility but might not be able – or want – to use an Omeo, for whatever reason.’
The Adapto also has some pretty nifty features of its own. ‘It does,’ Darren agrees.
These include its hand-steering capability – for those who need (or prefer) something to hold for that added sense of safety – and its height-adjustable seat, which can be raised up to 14cms at the press of a button.
‘The world is designed to be a taller place,’ Darren points out, ‘but the Adapto’s seat brings you quickly up to its level again. We can also fit it with any backrest which can then be easily adapted to fit your specifications without the need for nuts or bolts.’
Getting active in the fresh air
So which of the Adapto’s features does Darren personally like best?
‘Its industrial, rugged look – you feel you want to be outdoors, to be more active in it,’ he reveals. ‘It invites you to get out there and explore which, of course, you can because it can cover up to 35 miles on a single charge.
‘Even if being active is your daily trip to the shops you don’t have to stick to the wheelchair route, which we know can be boring. The self-balancing tech gves you an alternative – if you want to go across grass, fields, woods or even sand you can.
‘And the public love it. Some don’t realise it’s a mobility device – I’ve been out demonstrating the Adapto and people have asked me where they can ‘hire one of these things’! That’s something you definitely don’t get in other wheelchairs.’
He adds: ‘Another good thing about both the Omeo and the Adapto is that users tell us people never stare – they don’t get that unwelcome attention. It’s a positive look, it’s something people want to try for themselves.’
Creating that Adapto smile
And giving people with impaired mobility the chance to do just that is the focus of Darren and Matt’s full-on autumn schedule, with the first Adapto ‘try me’ days now under way.
Both Darren and Matt are looking forward to seeing people get on board the Adapto… and get that ‘Adapto smile’.
‘I love seeing how surprised people are when they think they won’t be able to use one of our wheelchairs because of their balance, then realise they can – this is game-changing mobility tech.’
Darren concludes: the Omeo will suit some better but launching the Adapto means we can now cater for people with a broader range of abilities – and budgets because disability isn’t cheap.
‘I’m super-excited about the life-changing difference the Adapto can make.’