Bamboo Wheelchairs Developed by Local Company and JAL Clear Metal Detectors at Oita Airport

Bamboo Wheelchairs Developed by Local Company and JAL Clear Metal Detectors at Oita Airport

amboo Wheelchairs Developed by Local Company and JAL.

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On December 21, Japan Airlines Corporation (JAL) announced that it has developed a "bamboo wheelchair" that does not set off metal detectors at airport security screening checkpoints. The first place in Japan to introduce the wheelchairs will be Oita Airport in Kunisaki, Oita Prefecture.

Air travelers in wheelchairs normally have to check their equipment as luggage at the passenger check-in counter and then sit in a chair provided by the airline until they reach the departure gate. However, since these chairs contain metal parts that set off detectors, the passengers have to go through additional procedures including a body search.

JAL developed the bamboo wheelchair together with Hiji, Oita Prefecture-based Sansoing Co. Excluding the rubber used for the seat, back and tires, the wheelchair is made entirely of bamboo, including the brakes, allowing a person to stay seated while passing through airport security. "[People who use this wheelchair] will feel the unique warmth of the bamboo. It seems more like a fancy piece of furniture than equipment for the handicapped," said a company spokesperson, who added that "this product combines Japanese industrial culture, cutting-edge technology and hospitality." Sansoing, which produces these original bamboo wheelchairs, has sold them to places such as a well-established inn at Yufuin Hot Spring in addition to producing store and household furniture.

JAL will introduce three of the wheelchairs to rent them out on a trial basis. One will be placed at Oita Airport in January and two will be at Haneda Airport starting in February.