Mobi-Mat helps disabled to access beaches

Barrier-Free Network Kaigi, a specified nonprofit cooperative, is starting to rent a device made by a French fabric and textile company that enables people in wheelchairs and mothers with small babies in baby wagons and strollers to enjoy an easy access to the beach.

Moving a wheelchair or baby stroller on a beach is laborious to say the least, as the wheels sink into the soft sand. “Mobi-Mat” is a portable rollout mat, on which wheelchairs or baby carriages can move on a soft surface like sand. Mobi-Mat makes it easier for elderly and physically challenged people in wheelchairs, parents with babies in strollers to move over sandy beaches on Okinawa. This is the first trial in Japan that Mobi-Mats are offered for rental.

Mobi-Mat is a product of Deschamps, a long-established French fabric and textile company. It was developed 25 years ago, and reportedly is widely used in Europe and the U.S. Versions of the mat are also used as temporary helipads.

It’s a 5-meter-long and 1.6-meter-wide strip of study fabric weighing 14 kg that works as a pathway on a soft surface, on which a wheelchair or baby stroller can move easily.

The mat can be rolled up to carry. Several of them can be connected to make a longer path. The mat is made of special processed polyester that is salt and sunshine resistant, and maintenance free, not like ones made from wood or plastic.

According to Deshamps, the mats are widely used in weddings on beaches and as portable slips for launching personal watercraft and other marine equipment at resorts, and also on golf courses to protect greens.