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Segfree launches in the UK

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Mathys rits rond in nuwe rolstoel - Oct '14

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Mathys Roets on Segfree
2014 Beeld Article

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Segfree launches in the UK

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The Segfree is a seated conversion for the popular Segway self-balancing personal transporter. With this conversion fitted, a standing Segway is transformed into a self-balancing wheelchair, giving incredible freedom to traditional wheelchair users.

The owners of Segfree South Africa are Tharina Stoltz and Mathys Roets. Both are paraplegics, and familiar with the unique challenges presented by using traditional wheelchairs.

Tharina was injured in December 2012, and is a T4/5 complete paraplegic. Together with her husband Mario, they designed and built the first Segfree prototype in early 2013 for personal use. With their combined background in engineering and physiotherapy, the Segfree was conceived.

Mathys Roets, a famous South African singer and all round wheelchair adventurer, had the opportunity to test drive an early Segfree at a local meet and greet for wheelchair users. He immediately identified the adventure possibilities of the Segfree, and also convinced the new designers to commercialise the Segfree.

So between a physiotherapist, structural fabricator and an adventurer, the Segfree was refined over and over. We shared a simple vision; to make a seated Segway, that can be used by paraplegics with high level injuries without trunk control, and make it financially available to as many people as possible.

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There are a number of seated Segways available currently, but a few features make the Segfree unique!

• Actuator driven seat pan for immediate centre of gravity adjustment: With this innovative approach, a high level paraplegic without any trunk control can “lean” forward and backward by the push of a button. This enables users like Tharina, to approach steep inclines with great confidence, and execute emergency stops with ease. Centre of gravity can also be adjusted for multiple users in differing weight classes at the push of a button. This makes the Segfree ideal for test drives and rentals.

• Rugged design: The Segfree uses a minimalist approach in all black. Wheelchair users who
prefer to keep the wheelchair in the background will appreciate the low key Segfree approach.

• All steel fabrication: The Segfree is as rugged as they come, and users will not have to
worry about wear and tear on delicate plastic trims. The all steel fabrication and industrial
grade powder coating will ensure the Segfree will stand up to even the harshest of African
adventures.

• Quick installation: The Segfree is a bolt-on adaption, which installs within 30 minutes. The
user thereby retains full value of the Segway, should it come to re-selling the unit. (VAT
implications may apply).

• No interference with Segway systems: As a bolt-on adaption, the Segway warranty remains intact. Much like removable hand controls in a motor vehicle, the Segfree is a simple
aftermarket adaption.

• Cost effective: The Segfree is by far the cheapest seated conversion compared to similar
devices. The Segfree incorporates a myriad of features not found on any other device, yet
competes at a fraction of the cost.

• Use of secondhand Segways: As the Segway is an expensive device, the customer can
reduce costs by installing Segfree on a used Segway.

• Build quality: Segfree was designed by qualified mechanical engineers and produced in a
specialised fabrication facility following strict ISO9001 guidelines.

• Customization: The nature of the company means that Segfree has been able to offer bespoke options such as all left hand or all right hand controls, longer footplates to accommodate a broken leg in a cast and even a custom paint job to match a customer's Mercedes!

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How can the Segfree be so cost effective?

Having seen first hand the exorbitant cost of various mobility devices, the vision of Tharina and Mathys was to make available an extremely high quality, low cost device. As such, the R&D component was largely done by Midvaal Structures in-house, and the electronic components were used off the shelf from existing technologies. Segfree has only two shareholders, both paraplegics, and both generating income from other sources. As such, Segfree gets offered to the wheelchair using community without enriching any third party investors, or recouping R&D costs.

At £8,400 including a brand new i2SE Segway, the Segfree is indeed a bargain.

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The heart of Segfree is freedom. Freedom from profiteering, freedom of choice,
and freedom to go wherever you choose!

Our UK Distributor, Carlo Weeks, is based in Essex and can be contacted on 07401 407 807, by email: segfreeuk@gmail.com and via Twitter. @SegfreeUK

 

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