Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mercedes F1 Team Sponsors Artificial Hand For Fan

British teen Matthew James, who was born without a left hand, found a creative way to secure funding to obtain an artificial hand.  The young Formula One fan wrote a letter to Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP Petronas team boss, asking him for the funding to get an artificial hand in exchange for permission for the company to place a Mercedes logo on his hand - along the same lines as the logos seen on their F1 cars.

Mercedes was so moved by the young man's letter that they agreed to help him and worked with Touch Bionics, maker of the i-Limb Pulse, to design a custom prosthetic hand for Matthew.  The i-Limb Pulse is one of the most advanced prosthetic limbs in the world.  With this hand, the teen will be able to grip a pen, tie his shoes, and catch a ball with ease.  The limb is controlled by electrodes that work from impulses coming from the muscles on his lower arm.  The hand is even equipped with Bluetooth so that the hands movements and strength can be monitored via computer.

This hand has been a massive help in allowing Matthew to live a normal life.  And yes, there is a Mercedes logo by his wrist.  Watch the clip above to find out more information.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Part Man Part Car Tip: Service Your Chair/Scooter Or Else It Can Catch Fire

Aiden Cassidy's story of his scooter serves as a reminder to powerchair/scooter users to make sure your chair is properly maintained.

The 77 year-old stroke victim from the UK was using his 6 month old scooter when he noticed that the motor was cutting out.  After shutting the scooter off and restarting, one of the batteries on the scooter had exploded and broke out into a fire.  Thankfully, Mr. Cassidy's assistant managed to assist him off before the fire consumed the entire scooter, as seen in the photo above.

Mr. Cassidy has since been given a replacement scooter by a friend.  The thing that should be taken away from this story is that any issue with your powerchair/scooter should be checked out as soon as possible and to make sure that it is properly serviced and maintained.  An image of what remains of the scooter is after the jump.

Monday, August 1, 2011

IntelliWheel AGS Provides Automatic Gearing For Manual Chairs

Engineering Grad Student, Scott Daigle, has developed a new set of manual wheelchair wheels dubbed the Intelliwheel AGS.  AGS stands for "Automatic Gearing System" which makes this one smart wheel. These wheels utilize sensors to analyze the various conditions and sorts out the best gear to be in so that the user is maximizing his pushing effort.  The best part is that this works without the user requiring any special training or change in their style: the user just pushes the wheels like a standard manual wheelchair and the wheels simply do the rest.  While designed to ease hill climbing, this system can also be used to minimize shoulder pain and strain.  Although these prototype wheels are still heavy at around 5 lbs. each, they can be of great source of relief to the 73% of manual chair users who currently developing shoulder problems due to use.

These wheels are, as previously mentioned, in the prototype phase and are currently undergoing heavy durability testing with a production prototype slated to be released around September of 2012 with consumer availability shortly after that.  Hit the jump for more images.