In mid-December, Independence Technology quietly announced it would stop selling its iBOT Mobility System in January, about six years after the power wheelchair went on the market. After fulfilling its obligatory five years of iBOT parts and service support through 2013, Independence Technology itself — a division of health-care giant Johnson & Johnson — will shut down.

The official announcement from Independence Technology said, “Despite significant, long-term investment by the company and acceptance of the iBOT Mobility System, demand has not proven sufficient to create a sustainable market. A challenging reimbursement environment for innovative assistive technologies has been a factor in limiting demand.”

Of course, Independence Technology’s early decision to bypass the traditional rehab technology supplier network kept iBOT at arm’s length from much of this industry. But more importantly to the iBOT brand, the chair failed to generate the overall sales numbers needed to keep itself alive. What happened?


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