Author Archives: eliot

TEK RMD – standing, back-loading powerchair

MATIA Robotics has a new video up for their TEK RMD (Robotic Mobilization Device) demoing the latest iteration of their standing, back-loading powerchair.

The TEK RMD is an exciting wheelchair concept because:

  • You get into it via the back and with a remote control, the device can be driven to where you are.
  • It’s designed to use it while standing up. But even in the standing position, it’s possible to transition into a seated position temporarily.

Some potential downsides of it include:

  • The wheels are smaller and because it’s designed to be used while standing, it probably wouldn’t handle that well in the outdoors.
  • It may not be very comfortable after prolonged use.

Seatrac – incredible self-serve beach access for wheelchair users

Wow, what a cool innovation. It’s a track system that transports a wheelchair user from solid ground, where you can transfer to the seatrac seat from the wheelchair all the way into the ocean!

The only downside is that it’s only available on select beaches in Greece right now. You can find the locations of the Seatrac devices here:

http://www.tobea.gr/?q=seatracs-listing-map&language=el

New Eye Tracking Device, the Tobii REX

The Tobii REX is a new eye tracking peripheral for the computer that was shown at CES. It works by following the the direction that the user’s eyes are gazing and moves the mouse cursor accordingly. And it works pretty well, as you can see in the video below. It could be a great tool for people that have very limited use of the rest of their body, such as those with ALS. And the fact that they’re aiming to sell it to general computer users will help bring the price down. It seems limited in that it requires a second input device such as a keyboard for things like mouse clicks but I imagine that if it can accurately track eye gaze then programming it to track blinks for things like click events shouldn’t be far off.

Nintendo Wii Helping Children With DCD

The Wii Balance Board is a game controller that comes as part of the Nintendo Wii Fit package and is being used to help children with developmental co-ordination disorder

UK-based researchers performed a study with children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) that shows favorable therapeutic results when using the Nintendo Wii gaming system and it’s motion-based Wii Fit control as part of their therapy.

Lead researcher Professor Elisabeth Hill from the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, said the pilot study provided evidence to support the use of the computer within therapeutic programmes for children with movement difficulties.

“The results provide interesting points warranting further discussion, particularly in view of the fact that many children have access to the Nintendo Wii Fit and may be using this system at home with minimal supervision,” she said.

Source: Wii games could help children overcome disabilities

Game-based therapy is becoming more and more popular for all sorts of disorders. The Valedo Motion is another example that uses game-based feedback along with sensors placed on the back to help improve back problems and pain.

Ulu Knife – Easier Cutting and Chopping in the Kitchen

Ulu Knife Kitchen Aid

The Ulu knife is a traditional Eskimo knife with a unique design that features a handle above a curved blade.

The benefit is that it allows for much easier cutting and chopping in the kitchen particularly for people with limited hand dexterity and weak hand and arm muscles.

It’d be great tool for people with multiple sclerosis, arthritis or quadriplegia.

Here is a video showing the cutting and chopping of many different kinds of food including fruits, vegetables and meat:

The Ulu knife is commonly paired with a bowl-shaped cutting board that aids with chopping:

Ulu Cutting  Board

The Ulu knife is available at Amazon as well as other places around the web.

There’s also a really nice one available on Etsy from seller “NorthWestWoodworker”. It’s really nice in that the board features the bowl-shape for chopping as well as a flat section for cutting other foods:

Product for Easier Cutting in the Kitchen

Daily chores can be more difficult for people with neurological impairments caused by Multiple Sclerosis or a stroke for instance. One of those chores is preparing food in the kitchen with a knife.

This product, the Cutting Board With Pivot Knife, makes it easier to use a knife and cut up or chop food by positioning a knife into a fixed bracket on a cutting board using the tip of the knife as the pivot point.

So instead of having to wield the knife laterally as you’re cutting the food, all you need to do is apply some download force on the knife and handle and move the food into the path of the knife. Much less force needs to be applied to the knife because of the added leverage that the pivot point provides making it easier all around to prepare food.

This product is available on Amazon.com.