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A physical disability presents unique challenges for the individual, the family and the caregivers. Our wheelchair blog is here to empower all of you with tips, trends in wheelchair technology, wheelchair news, inspiring stories, insightful interviews, medical breakthroughs, helpful links, the latest in adaptive products, disability news, upcoming events and, of course, information about AMS Vans' wheelchair accessible vehicles. We focus on anything and everything that enriches your life and makes it easier.
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John Spletzer, associate professor of computer science and engineering at Lehigh University, believes that technology has the ability to “serve as a person’s feet, hands, and eyes” thereby enabling the disabled to interact with his/her environment.
The National Science Foundation recently awarded Professor Spletzer with a five year Career Award to develop a robotic wheelchair that will use high fidelity lasers and detailed maps to navigate through a crowded city without remote or human guidance. This project is actually a by product of two older projects. Spletzer and his students, working with University of Pennsylvania and Lockheed Martin, converted a Toyota Prius to a robot two years ago. “Little Ben” was equipped with laser and camera sensors. Of the 89 driverless vehicles Ben was one out of 6 who completed the 57 mile course in the 2007 DARPA Grand Challenge for robotic vehicles. And in a collaborative effort, engineers from Freedom Sciences LLC and Spletzer have invented the ATRS or Automated Transport and Retrieval System which enables wheelchair users to get into and out of their vehicles, stow and retrieve chairs and drive while sitting in traditional auto seats that meet all safety regulations.
Spletzer was quoted as saying “Our goal now is to extend the autonomy of the wheelchair so it can navigate completely in an urban setting and take you wherever you need to go. At the same time we want to download Little Bens’s hardware, convert it to software, which is much less expensive and upload it to the robotic wheelchair. This will give the chair the maps and images it needs to be able to interact with its environment”
Jack Benedick, Chris Waddell, and Sarah Will are the first adaptive skiers to be inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame since 1984.
Some good and some bad news regarding voting accessibility for people with disabilities.
Employees of the Center for Disability Services were warned today of the possible loss of funds which would lead to cuts in basic services and jobs.