Advertisement

Disability

After taking a look at the Jet Blade hydroplaning watercraft last week, we were alerted to another senior design project from Calvin College, Michigan. A different group of students has designed and prototyped a device they're calling the TheraTryke. Aimed at those with MS, spinal cord injuries, or complete paraplegics, it lets riders use their hands, feet or a combination of both together to propel themselves forward.

Read More

Last year we heard about the GRIT Freedom Chair, an off-road wheelchair that users propel using arm levers instead of hand rims on the wheels. While it's pretty neat, it isn't the first product of its kind. One of its predecessors is the British-made Mountain Trike, which is now available in two new models to accommodate riders with varying physical challenges.

Read More
Just because you have difficulty walking doesn't mean that you should be limited to the smooth sidewalks and asphalt paths of the world ... at least, not according to folks at Sweden's Zoomability. Their Zoom 4-wheel drive electric vehicle can be operated entirely by hand, allowing people with limited mobility – or anyone else – to get in some off-road action. Read More
Although blind people are generally capable of going about things unaided, there are times when seeing something is a necessity. A new mobile app aims to help the blind in those situations. Be My Eyes connects individuals in need of visual assistance with sighted volunteers via a video call. Read More
Three years ago, scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) reported success in getting rats with severed spinal cords to walk again. They did so by suspending the animals in a harness, then using implants to electrically stimulate neurons in their lower spinal cord. Although this ultimately resulted in the rats being able to run on their previously-paralyzed hind legs, the technology still wasn't practical for long-term use in humans. Thanks to new research conducted at EPFL, however, that may no longer be the case. Read More
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) have successfully tested bilateral shoulder-level prosthetics, allowing a test subject to perform complex tasks using both arms simultaneously. The tests indicate that the system is quick to learn, and it could one day drastically alter the lives of shoulder-level amputees. Read More
Whoever said that losing your mobility also meant giving up your independence? We've already seen that the adventurous wheelchair user or walking-impaired person can head off road with a six-wheeled electric all-terrain vehicle or a caterpillar-tracked micro EV drive train. Now there's another option: Rocket Mobility's Tomahawk all-terrain personal utility vehicle, which allows the wheelchair-bound to traverse up to 12 miles (19 km) cross country at a maximum speed of 6 mph (10 km/h). Read More
In 2012, a quadriplegic woman managed to move a robotic arm, using only her thoughts, to a level of proficiency that allowed her to eat a chocolate bar using said arm. The University of Pittsburgh team behind the study didn't stop there, though. By improving the technology in the arm and working more closely with test subject Jan Scheuermann, they have since enabled her to replace the simple pincer grip of before with four new hand shapes – fingers spread, pinch, scoop, and thumb up – that allow for more complicated object manipulation. Read More
Derby the dog faced a challenge right from Day One. Due to a congenital deformity, he was born with very small forelegs and no front paws. This resulted in his ending up in the care of Hillsborough, New Hampshire-based dog rescue group, Peace and Paws. Fortunately, he then proceeded into the foster home of Tara Anderson. She works for 3D printing company 3D Systems (3DS), and set about using her employer's technology to make him a set of prostheses. As a result, he's now able to run for the first time. Read More
Paralysis or problems controlling movement are among the most common disabilities resulting from stroke and have a major impact on everyday life. Lancaster University researchers say seven out of 10 stroke survivors suffer from arm weakness as a result of their stroke, and only a fifth of these people ever regain the full use of their arm. A new study suggests the Nintendo Wii could provide an effective, economical and fun rehabilitation tool for stroke victims. Read More
Advertisement