From I SCOOT to IBOT, #9 of ??: You're not stoned if you see me in Seattle at a 50 degree or a 130 degree angle

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/12/12 10:31 -05:00, original URI:

YIAB -- yet another IBOT blog -- feel free to ignore if they aren't your thing...

Prior blogs in the series here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Yesterday was an interesting day.

We had a morale event, an Argosy lunch cruise.

We managed to get the whole International Fundamentals team there, which was cool.:-)

My manager and others kept asking me if I could be there; a quick call to Argosy confirmed that they could handle a powered wheelchair.

Interestingly, they pointed out that the elevator was in the kitchen; they asked me I would have trouble with that. Are there people in wheelchairs who actually would? That is just downright odd!

Lunch was cool, and of course ther were the requisite number of people on the boat (crew and passengers) who came up to say they thought the iBOT was cool.

Am I a junky for the positive attention? I thought I'd be tired of it but I thibk the technical details of the iBOT appeal to me enough that I aall I can do is agree -- it is cool!

anyway, people kept offering to carpool, but I pointed out that since they don't have trucks it wouldn't work. I'd just take the 545 and head down to the waterfront....

And this is what I did -- straight down Spring in 4-wheel mode, into balance once I hit Alaskan, and onto the boat shortly thereafter.

I could have taken a different route down than Spring (some people balk at the steep hill and prefer other ways down to the water that involve stairs), but I have determined something about stairs and the iBOT.

Don't get me wrong, It is an incredibly useful feature, a lifesaver from situations that would otherwise be blocking

But most of the time, if you do it, then you're just showing off....

And I am not above showing off (that is why I spend so much time in balance mode!), but sowing off in balance mode is actually more comfortable and less work involved. Climbing stairs is more work!

So I took Spring, and I took the elevator once I was onboard.

Lunch was cool, and I headed out with everyone after, until we parted ways so people could head back to work and pack (yes, we're finally doing the gratuitous move -- more on that another time!).

So I headed out, in balance mode, up to the base of Spring Street and Alaskan Way, when I suddenly remembered something I had recently learned.

The directions for the iBOT suggest that you should not do more than a 10° incline in Balance mode (20° in 4-wheel), but they aren't really all that accurate -- it can take a much bigger incline -- even in training I was taken on steeper ones.

The key is that the hill has to be straught ahead, because the iBOT does not have lateral iBALANCE, only forward/backward iBALANCE.

So I decided to test that theory by going up Spring Street all the way to 4th Avenue, in Balance mode.

You want to know something?

I am pissed.

I could have taken somebody with me, someione with a camera. Someone to capture me going up a street with a 30° to 40° incline, with me flat and level all the way up, going at the same speed as if I were on level ground.

It was awesome!

I tried to get my head around how odd/interesting it must have looked, but I'm going to have to get it captured on film -- not just pictures but live motion video.

I don't have access to a Steadicam:

A steadicam is a stabilizing mount for a motion picture camera, which mechanically isolates the operator's movement from the camera, allowing a very smooth shot even when the operator is moving quickly over an uneven surface. 

But even so, a little amateur footage might be just the thing here, though I imagine there are logistical problems with walking up that hill at the same speed. We'll have to do some figuring out here, certainly. Both up and down, since being at a a 50°-60° angle is just as cool as being at a 120°-130° angle....

I guess it is too much to ask if anyone in the Seattle area has a Steadicam and a few hours? :-)


This post brought to you by (U+267f, a.k.a. WHEELCHAIR SYMBOL)

John Cowan on 12 Dec 2008 2:54 PM:

Lots of wheelchair users think it's insulting to have to use service or freight elevators, as if they were deliveries or garbage bags or sumpn.  See Fred Small's 1984 song Talking Wheelchair Blues at

Michael S. Kaplan on 13 Dec 2008 9:57 PM:

Okay, I can see that. Though this particular elevator and the area around it was clean, I imagine that might not always be the case. I guess that makes some sense in general, though they seemed quite okay in the particular case of this particular cruise....

Brent on 17 Dec 2008 11:05 AM:

The iBOT user manual actually recommends 5 degrees or less in Balance Function, and 10 degrees or less in 4-Wheel.  And yes, it is grossly conservative.  

referenced by

2013/09/19 From I SCOOT to IBOT, #10 of ??: The good, the bad, and the ugly (IN THAT ORDER)

2008/12/20 From I SCOOT to IBOT, #10 of ??: The good, the bad, and the ugly (IN THAT ORDER)

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