Stow-Away Powered Transfer Seat Makes Trucks, SUVs More Accessible

Mobility Management spoke with Andrew Bayer, scientific technician/technologist, Bruno Independent Living Aids, about how this system can facilitate transfers, and therefore independence, for wheelchair and scooter users.

Q: Describe the Stow-Away’s main features & benefits.

A: A compact, fully powered transfer seat allowing an individual to transfer from a personal mobility device (wheelchair, scooter, etc.) onto a vehicle’s seat, the Stow-Away is mounted outside the pickup truck or higher SUV. This means that all of the features of the factory seat -- power and manual functions, forward and aft movement, tilt back/forward, heat, and side airbag system -- remain intact. Nothing in the cab or seating compartment is affected in any way.

The Stow-Away is affixed under the vehicle (normally to running board mounts) in a sealed container that is protected from the elements. A single button switch activates the Stow-Away -- the seat “drawer” opens, and the seat moves out of the container. It then rises to the desired height for a safe and smooth transfer from a wheelchair. The user then pushes the button again to raise the seat to the height of the vehicle’s seat and slides over onto the seat.

Sealed, e-coated and powdercoated for harsh environments, the Stow-Away includes a splash guard as standard equipment. A removable safety handle, which provides added stability while riding the seat, is also standard.

With a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs. (136 kg), the Stow-Away is a workhorse that has been tested under extreme conditions. Optional features include a taller seat pad for extra height when transferring, and a transfer plate, which helps to bridge the gap between the Stow-Away seat and the vehicle seat.

Q: What target customer will benefit most from the Stow-Away’s features and functionalities?

A: The Stow-Away is designed for pickup trucks and higher (i.e., taller) SUVs. When used with Bruno’s companion products -- the Out-Rider lift and Pow’r Topper or the Cab-Sider -- the Stow-Away provides the complete mobility solution. Individuals who utilize a wheelchair or scooter, but who possess normal upper-body strength, are the target market. Bruno envisions that the Stow-Away will be especially appreciated by wheelchair users who maintain an active lifestyle.

Q: What sets the Stow-Away apart from its peers?

A: The Stow-Away has no peers. It is the only compact, powered transfer seat that is entirely outside of the truck cab or SUV seating compartment. All other transfer seats impair, modify and hinder the features of the factory (OEM) seats, and impact the FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) regulations in some or all ways.

This article originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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