Page 10 - The Mobility Project, 2021
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Technology That Keeps Up with You
blood pressure, oxygen intake, and bowel function (U.S. National Library of Medicine,
While exoskeletons are often associated with walking, manu- facturers are also developing upper-extremity exoskeletons for people who have lost arm function, perhaps because of a stroke or other brain injury. Those exoskeletons can be helpful for activ- ities of daily living, such as eating and grooming.
Wheelchair Riding: Safety First
Back-up cameras and blind-spot sensors have become common in today’s cars and are hugely useful to drivers. Shouldn’t wheel- chair riders be able to access that same kind of technology?
Now they can! New sensor systems are making it safer for wheelchair users to navigate with ease, confidence, and greater independence... and with less worry for caregivers and family members.
For example, Braze Mobility’s blind-spot and proximity sensors can be added to any wheelchair to improve a rider’s awareness
of the environment. Alerts can
be transmitted to the wheelchair
rider visually, audibly, or via
vibration, and the system can be
customized — for example, while the Sentina system is typically mounted to detect obstacles behind the wheelchair, riders can contact Braze Mobility to discuss mounting the system to detect obstacles in front of the wheelchair instead.
SmartDrive MX2+
people who’d self-propelled their wheelchairs for decades and eventually suffered pain from years of repetitive stress and strain.
Happily, a revolution is underway. Wheelchair clinicians are increasingly viewing power assist as a proactive technology that — when added to a wheel- chair early on — can prevent
Braze Mobility Sentina
those costly and debilitating injuries, as well as help wheelchair riders to avoid weeks or months of down time and immobility while they rest and heal.
Today’s power-assist systems do far more than lend a motor- ized hand; they also demonstrate versatility in design and function. Some power-assist systems are contained within a wheelchair’s wheels; other systems are attachable to the wheel- chair in front or in the back and can be easily added or removed according to the environment or the distances the wheelchair rider wants to travel.
Today’s power assist gives the rider more customizable control than ever, with on-the-fly adjustability and apps for seamless operation. Many systems can adjust on ramps to prevent roll- backs, and they can adapt if a rider has more strength in one arm than the other.
LUCI is the brainchild of two brothers, one of whom has a daughter who is a long-time power chair user. Together, this dad and this uncle imagined smart technology that could detect such common power chair obstacles as curbs, other
The greater variety of power-assist choices, along with a more proactive way of using them, make this technology one to watch. Ask your wheelchair team if power assist could make your ride more efficient.
The Power of Positioning
Cheelcare Companion
LUCI smart system
drop-offs, and tip-over hazards, so that power chair riding would be safer. LUCI was designed to detect those dangers, as well as
to detect and prevent potential collisions. And because LUCI is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, the system can also give wheelchair riders or caregivers information about battery usage and battery life.
If you’re a veteran power wheelchair rider, you might be very familiar with seating functions such as tilt and recline. At the touch of a button or switch, your power chair can tilt backward, typically while maintaining your original center of gravity.
Use tilt with power recline, and you can shift your weight to alleviate pressure and redistribute your body weight. Or you might routinely ride while tilted slightly back because that posi- tion makes you feel more stable.
But powered seating now includes much more than tilt and recline. Many powered seating manufacturers now offer an anterior (forward) tilt option, in addition to traditional posterior (backward) tilt.
By moving the rider forward, anterior tilt can help with activi- ties ranging from transferring out of the power chair to reaching for objects while eating or grooming. Used in combination with power seat elevation — which lifts the rider straight up — ante- rior tilt can improve visual angles so, for example, a power chair rider can see into pots and pans on a stovetop and reach forward to stir or serve.
Empowering Manual Wheelchair Riders
For most of their history, power-assist systems were thought of as reactive technology, an intervention to call on after shoulder, arm or hand injuries made self-propelling a wheel- chair too difficult. As a result of this perspective, power-assist systems were typically used by
Alber e-motion M25

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