Thursday, October 29, 2009
When Chris Waddell began his ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro he expected to become the first paraplegic to climb the 19,340-foot mountain unassisted. He planned to summit on his 41st birthday and to gather footage to create a documentary film of his adventure to help break down the barriers between able-bodied and people with disabilities and show what is possible. While he missed summitting on his birthday, and required assistance for a very short stretch of the upper mountain, he came to a new realization about the barriers he had created in his own life.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Honda continues its foray into walking assist systems with the "Stride Assist System" that debuted recently at the Tokyo Motor Show. It is not quite clear what this device's intent is for: it could be used for the elderly or for those with difficulty walking long distances. Anyways, here is the press release issued by Honda:
"When walking is a struggle, you need a leg up. And that's literally what Honda's prototype Stride Management Assist device is designed to provide. A motor helps lift each leg at the thigh as it moves forward and backward. This helps lengthen the user's stride, making it easier to cover longer distances at a greater speed.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Family Guy’s Lieutenant Joseph “Joe” Swanson is over-zealous, fearless, full of bravado, short tempered, and operates by the book. He is also a capable police officer who does not get around via a patrol car. Instead, a wheelchair is his main mode of transportation.
Monday, October 19, 2009
NEXT Mobility has a power-assisted manual chair that provides resistance free assistance for the user. The Tailwind Power Package, which is fitted to their RTm lightweight manual chair, consists of a controller, lightweight battery, motors, and quick-release wheels with touch sensitive hand rims. The controller senses inputs from the hand rims about 200 times per second and will provide power assistance when it senses that the user will have difficulty, such as when the user is going uphill or traversing rough terrain. It will even assist in keeping the chair tracking correctly if it senses that one wheel is slipping and could cause the chair to travel off the intended direction. The battery provides up to 9 miles of sustained assistance and can be charged in less than 4 hours. This should provide another viable option for those needing a powered assisted manual chair. Check out the clip to see it in action.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
A Japanese company called Cyberdyne has created a exoskeletal suit that enhances the strength of the user. The Hybrid Assistive Limb, or HAL for short, Uses sensors attached to the skin to allow effortless movement with your muscles and it has the capability of increasing your strength up to 10 times. It also has a continuous operating time of about 2 hours and 40 minutes. HAL is expected to be applied in various fields such as rehabilitation support and physical training support in medical field, ADL support for disabled people, heavy labour support at factories, and rescue support at disaster sites, as well as in the entertainment field. I just find it amazing that a company like Cyberdyne exists: let us hope that they do not start to create machines that want to take over the world like the Cyberdyne in the Terminator series. Check out the info on HAL on their site.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Suzuki is unveiling a revised version of the MIO, a fuel cell scooter concept that they began developing a year ago and seen in a previous post. Like the earlier version, this scooter uses methanol, which is stored in easily replaceable cartridges, instead of batteries as its means of energy storage. The idea is that the cartridges are easy enough to replace that it could provide the user with a virtually unlimited range. Here is the press release issued by Suzuki:
"Suzuki's MIO electric wheelchair is powered by a direct-methanol fuel cell rather than by a conventional lead-acid battery. The methanol solution is held in a cartridge-type bottle that's easy to replace with a full spare one, so the user gains extra freedom and doesn't need to worry about running out of fuel on the road. Suzuki began joint trials of the MIO with the Shizuoka prefectural government in November 2008 with a view to enhancing its reliability ready for commercialization."
Monday, October 5, 2009
The following clip is a trailer for a documentary of Duane Stevenson, an MMA coach who happens to be crutch-bound due to tumors in his spine. With an abusive childhood adding to the complications of dealing with a disability, Duane uses Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as an outlet to vent his aggression. This eventually turned into the means in which he harnesses his fighting spirit and earns the admiration and respect of others that have come into his life. His determination and fighting spirit serve as an inspiration to all who have had the privilege of meeting and working with him. As you can see in the trailer, Duane treats everybody, disabled or not, the same way he likes to be treated. He teaches his students more than fighting: he teaches them how to overcome any obstacles that are in their way. Watch the trailer and get a preview of the life of this extraordinary individual.