Wheelchair made of bamboo allows passengers to pass through security checks without setting off metal detectors in Japan

Yesterday Japan Airlines announced a service to lend wheelchairs made of bamboo so passengers needing them can pass through security checks without setting off metal detectors. Passengers in wheelchairs have long complained about setting off alarms even if they aren’t wearing any metal, JAL officials said. After triggering an alarm, they have to undergo a physical body check. The service will start next month at Haneda and Oita airports with a small number of wheelchairs, the officials said, and the number of bamboo wheelchairs will increase based on customers’ responses.

The frame of wheelchair is made entirely from bamboo, with rubber tires and carbon wheels. Completely handmade, each wheelchair costs some ¥600,000($7,167). The project is partially financed by donations from celebrities, including baseball commentator Norihiro Akahoshi, a former Hanshin Tigers outfielder who suffered serious damage to his spinal cord while he was a player.