The next generation of wheelchairs could have a totally new look and allow users to get in and out with less assistance, if a new model unveiled Wednesday in Japan is any indication.

The new high-tech prototype looks more like a motorcycle than a traditional wheelchair, with users straddling over the device and leaning forward rather than sitting back. Users direct the chair using a joystick.

The non-traditional design means that users can slide onto and off of the mobility device more easily, designers say, giving them more independence.

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There are no plans in place yet to make the new device available commercially. But, with Japan’s quickly aging population, researchers in that country are working hard to provide new options for those with physical challenges, reports

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