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FDA approves stair-climbing wheelchair

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WASHINGTON, Aug 14, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The Food and Drug Administration has given its stamp of approval to a wheelchair that can climb stairs.

The battery-powered wheelchair relies on a computerized system of sensors, gyroscopes and electric motors to keep it on a level plane while ascending or descending stairs.

The FDA expedited review of the product, called the Independence iBOT 3000 Mobility System.

FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan said: "This wheelchair represents a breakthrough in wheelchair technology. It can help improve the quality of life of many people who use wheelchairs by enabling them to manage stairs, reach high shelves and hold eye-level conversations."

An estimated 2 million people in the United States use wheelchairs.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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