Bridging the Opportunity Divide

This Vet Designed a New Wheelchair-Tank Hybrid for His Paralyzed Wife

June 13, 2014
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This Vet Designed a New Wheelchair-Tank Hybrid for His Paralyzed Wife
Brad Soden created the Tankchair, an all terrain wheelchair, when he noticed his paralyzed wife was having trouble with her traditional wheelchair. Tankchair
And he has neither engineering experience nor a college degree.

Despite the amazing technological advancements we’ve made (think: smartphones, driverless cars, 3-D printing), the average wheelchair could use some updating.

And that’s where Brad Soden comes in. Soden, a combat veteran and owner of the Phoenix-based Tankchair, wants to help all people those that need a little assistance by creating a one-of-a-kind wheelchair. “People in a wheelchair’s got a problem? We’ll fix it. We don’t care what your injury is. You got the desire, we’ll get you off the sidewalk,” he explains.

One of his most recent designs can plow through muddy football fields, storm through feet of water and glide over snow. The Tankchair (as it’s appropriately dubbed) is built from steel or aluminum and provides users with confidence when traveling over any terrain.

According to the Huffington Post, Soden’s wife was paralyzed from the waist down in an automobile accident in 1999. After that, “she was crying one day after her injury, and she couldn’t go camping anymore.” She told her husband to continue doing all that they loved without her, but he didn’t find that to be an acceptable resolution.

After two years of tinkering in his garage, he invented the battery-powered Tankchair.

MORE: A Cute Little Car That Takes Wheelchair Users Everywhere

Each tankchair starts at $19,500 and is durable enough to last up to 15-20 years. While it took trial-and-error to create the invention, Soden has silenced a lot of naysayers. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, “critics are so easy to find — you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one,” explains Soden.

The sale of each Tankchair raises money for research and development of future designs.

“I get more pleasure watching other people have fun. You see a kid smile, or you see happiness, and the tears of it. I can’t really describe it. Man, I can’t tell you. It’s just really cool.”

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