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Wheelchairs

Electric wheelchair fitted with laser line striper and other terrain assistance devices. C...

Many of the greatest civilian innovations can be traced back to military origins. Penicillin, radar, satellites and the Internet, just to name a few. So it is not uncommon for technologies developed for fighting wars to be found to have wider applications. The following idea is an example of this adaptation and is inspired by the important need of disabled veteran soldiers for independence and mobility. By using terrain sensing control systems designed for the guidance of autonomous vehicles on the battlefield, researchers have begun developing a system that will allow wheelchair users to access more areas than ever before.  Read More

The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton is designed to get paraplegics out of their wheelchairs

The wheel may be one of mankind’s greatest inventions, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life for the wheelchair-bound that much of the modern world is built for the upright – from deli counter-tops and store shelves to stairs and escalators. When Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer was left paralyzed after a car accident in 1997 he set about creating “robotic trousers” to replace a wheelchair. The fruits of his labor are now set to help others with his ReWalk robotic exoskelton set to go on sale from the start of 2011.  Read More

Haidar Taleb and his solar-powered wheelchair

United Arab Emirates (UAE) inventor Haidar Taleb has today set out from Fujairah on a journey that will take him across all seven of the emirates that make up the UAE. The journey is expected to finish in Abu Dhabi in 11 days time on the UAE National Day, but its not the route or the timing that is attracting attention, it's the means of transport. Taleb won’t be making the trip by train, car or even camel – he’ll be riding a solar-powered wheelchair.  Read More

Berkeley Bionics' eLEGS exoskeleton

At a press conference held this morning in San Francisco, California’s Berkeley Bionics unveiled its eLEGS exoskeleton. The computer-controlled device is designed to be worn by paraplegics, providing the power and support to get them out of their wheelchairs, into a standing posture, and walking – albeit with the aid of crutches. The two formerly wheelchair-bound “test pilots” in attendance did indeed use eLEGS to walk across the stage, in a slow-but-steady gait similar to that of full-time crutch-users.  Read More

The Rowheel System

Traditional manually powered wheelchairs require the occupant to turn the chair’s rear wheels with a pushing action. This places a lot of stress on muscles that aren’t really designed to be used in this way, resulting in everything from repetitive stress injuries and muscle pain to torn rotor cuffs, joint degeneration and carpal tunnel syndrome. To combat this, Salim Nasser of Merritt Island, Florida, has taken a backward approach and developed the Rowheel System, which allows a pulling motion to translate into forward motion of a wheelchair. This transfers loads and stresses usually placed on weaker shoulder and arm muscles onto more capable muscles in the upper back, shoulders and arms to reduce the chance of injury and give the user an overall increase in endurance and range.  Read More

Test subject Bob Melia tries out the UCF robotic arm

Researchers have created a computer-controlled robotic arm designed to help wheelchair-bound people perform actions such as grasping and lifting objects. It has both an automatic mode, in which the computer identifies objects and figures out how to grasp them, and an option for full manual control. When physically-challenged people were selected to try the device out, the researchers were surprised to discover that most of them preferred going manual. It’s all about something called Flow.  Read More

Computer rendering of the HXC wheelchair

Quite a few people have heard of wheelchair basketball and sledge hockey, but perhaps not so many are familiar with Hardcore Sitting. That’s what wheelchair athlete Aaron Fotheringham calls his sport, which involves doing BMX/skateboarding-style stunts on a wheelchair at a skatepark. Los Angeles-based industrial designer Joven De La Vega was so inspired by Fotheringham, he decided to design a wheelchair tailored specifically to the sport. The working prototype – dubbed the HXC Wheelchair – can be compared to a freestyle BMX street bike.  Read More

The SX4 is one of the existing vehicles Suzuki has adapted to its new fuel cell technology

Suzuki’s carbon free mobility effort at the Tokyo Motor Show used three existing models to demonstrate the benefits of its growing hydrogen fuel cell expertise: the SX4 fuel cell car, a two-wheeler based on the existing Burgman 125 feet-forward enclosed scooter, and the fuel cell powered Mio Electric Wheelchair. Although Suzuki also showed a plug-in hybrid version of the Swift, another existing car being adapted to a future power train, the company is clearly staking a claim in the Fuel Cell technology arena. Check out the video to see what Suzuki has planned for our garages in the coming years.  Read More

Panasonic has developed the Robotic Bed, a robot-shaped bed which transforms into a wheelc...

Panasonic has developed a robotic bed which easily transforms to a wheelchair - and back again - without the user needing to move. The Robotic Bed eliminates the need for those with limited mobility to transfer between bed and wheelchair, reducing the need for assistance and helping them retain their independence and mobility.  Read More

The Toyota/RIKEN wheelchair - this laboratory prototype runs with the EEG detector run by ...

Toyota and Japanese research foundation RIKEN have teamed up to create a revolutionary wheelchair steered by mind control. This remarkable development is one of the first practical uses of EEG (Electro-encephalogram) signals. Designed for people with severe disabilities, the Toyota/RIKEN wheelchair is fitted with an EEG detector in the form of a electrode array skull cap, a cheek puff detector and a display that assists with control. To turn left, right and move forward, the driver simply thinks about the movement and the wheelchair instantly and seamlessly responds. To stop the wheelchair, the driver puffs his/her cheek. A detector on the face picks up the signal and immediately stops the wheelchair. This form of braking is necessary for safety reasons as a puff detector is more reliable than the EEG reader.  Read More

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