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Disability

Good Thinking

Wheelchair controlled by facial expressions to hit the market within 2 years

Brazilian researchers have developed a wheelchair that can be controlled through small facial, head or iris movements. The team at Faculdade de Engenharia Elétrica e de Computação da Universidade Estadual de Campinas (FEEC/Unicamp) says the technology could help people with cerebral palsy, those who have suffered a stroke or live with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other conditions that prevent precise hand movements.Read More

Computers

Head-tracking mouse designed for people with disabilities

Technology is intended to make life easier, but our most popular devices are based on the assumption that users have full control of their hands. For those with disabilities who are unable to use a mouse or a touchscreen, mass-produced devices can become more of a hindrance than a help. This is why a Turkish designer says he came up with GlassOuse, which puts the capabilities of a mouse on a pair of glasses.Read More

Urban Transport

Self-balancing wheelchair goes hands-free

A New Zealand designer is revamping the traditional wheelchair design with a new model that frees the arms of the user. Instead of using the hands to create movement, the user moves their upper body to direct the two wheels. Kevin Halsall was inspired to develop Ogo after noticing a friend's difficulties with a traditional wheelchair, and deciding that things could be better.
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Robotics

suitX announces "world's most affordable" powered exoskeleton – the Phoenix

When it comes to the price of most products, US$40,000 is pretty high. In the case of powered exoskeletons, however, it's cheap – at least half the typical price. Nonetheless, that's approximately what suitX's Phoenix modular exoskeleton should sell for, bringing the technology to a whole new income class. And at 27 lb (12.25 kg), it's also one of the lightest models ever made.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

A-Gear exoskeletons keep users' arms useful

Affecting approximately 1 in 5,000 boys, Duchenne muscular dystrophy causes the victim's muscles to shrink throughout their lifetime, often to the point that the arms and legs can't be used at all. That's why the european Stichting Flextension (Flextension Foundation) started up the A-Gear project four years ago. The multi-partner effort is designing two arm-worn exoskeletons, intended to help Duchenne patients retain the use of their arms.Read More

Good Thinking

Topchair-S wheelchair has no problem with stairs

Wheelchair users have had to live with the fact that stairs, sharp curbs and doorsteps either required assistance to maneuver, or made access to some locations impossible. The TopChair-S, however, is designed to change that. It's an electric wheelchair designed to safely maneuver over such obstacles, utilizing caterpillar-like tracks in addition to wheels for greater maneuverability and independence.Read More

Robotics

Japanese exoskeleton could help users walk and run, no batteries required

Assistive exoskeletons are a bit like electric bikes – they do indeed give users a power boost, but part of that boost is needed just to move the extra weight along. Japanese researchers at Hiroshima University and Daiya Industry Co., however, have created a minimalist exoskeleton that does away with heavy batteries and motors. Instead, their Unplugged Powered Suit (UPS) harnesses the wearer's own weight.Read More

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