Technology

Technology has been improving our lives for decades—especially in the realm of disabilities. AMS Vans stays up to speed on innovation, and we bring that progress to you in articles that reveal how designers and engineers push the envelope to improve wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Advances in technology have enabled AMS Vans to provide you with an easy-to-operate wheelchair accessible van that gets you where you need to go. In our Technology section, we give you the scoop on disability and accessibility technologies—emerging technologies, mobility equipment, adaptive equipment for auto and home, and medical tools that help people with disabilities live and work independently. We also provide information about organizations and assistance programs that may help you pay for this technology. Definitely a good read!

Inclusive Technology: 5 Smart Devices That Increase Independence for People With Disabilities

smart phone controlling colored philips hue lights in home

Philips Hue Lights (photo: Engadget.com)

For people with physical disabilities, smart technology is more than just a convenience; it can be the key to increased independence. Today, smart technology is available for almost every aspect of our lives. It has been integrated into homes, vehicles, and mobile phones – and it seems new technologies become available everyday.

Here is some common smart technology that’s available:

1. Smart Speakers

Devices such as the Amazon EchoEcho Spot, and Echo Dot act as virtual assistants, making it possible for you to use your voice to control certain devices in your home. Those with limited hand mobility can now turn on the television, change the channel, and create a shopping list with a few words.

Devices like Alexa and the Apple Home app let you do more than just control devices; you can set up automated scenes as well. These give you the option of controlling multiple devices at once.

2. Smart Lights

The Philips Hue Light Bulbs, for example, can be controlled by the use of your smartphone and their compatibility with Alexa and Google Home allows you to control your lights by voice command as well. It is now possible to adjust brightness, schedule when the lights go on and off or even change their color. So, these cool lights not only improve independence for folks with limited mobility, but they can also change to suit your mood.

3. Smart Plugs

The VOCOlinc power strips make it possible for you to switch off or on appliances that are plugged into the socket. This is done either by a speaker or phone. This proves helpful, especially since most sockets are low and often difficult to reach.

4. Smart Doorbells

Doorbells today such as the Ring Doorbell come fitted with motion-sensor cameras that display footage of whoever is at your door on your phone’s screen. This provides the added security of knowing who is at the door before opening it. Others have the option of letting you speak to whoever is at the door through your phone.

5. Smart Locks

sebastian-scholz-nuki-IJkSskfEqrM-unsplash smart devices

Smartphone held at the door to auto-unlock it.

If you have visitors, you can give them access to your home without having to open the door. You also have the option of doing away with having to lock and unlock the deadbolt or fumble with keys.

The August Smart Lock, for instance, is a device that is attached to your door’s deadbolt and contains a motor that turns the deadbolt. Using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, you can control the lock on your door. It is also compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit, allowing you to operate the lock on your door with a simple voice command.

You are also able to grant people access to your home by sending an invite to their phone. This gives them access to your home but on your schedule. It notifies you each time the door is unlocked or locked and also records who entered your home and when. This could be really helpful to let in caretakers or visitors.

…And There’s More!

Smart devices do not just end there; there is also the option of getting a robotic vacuum cleaner like the Roomba 675 to help keep your home clean. A smart ceiling fan or wifi-controlled thermostat can help regulate your home’s temperature. Smart devices and their implementation in smart homes are continuously giving those with disabilities more independence than ever before.

Speaking of technology that increases independence, did you know we provide more than just wheelchair accessible vehicles at AMS Vans? We also offer adaptive driving aids, powered transfer seats and much more! Learn more here.

Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

father and daughter hugging outdoors

Father’s Day is just around the corner and if you’re still searching for the perfect gift, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve curated a list of top gifts for Dad’s who roll (and also for those who don’t).

Here’s our list of six great gifts for Dad this Father’s Day.

Apple Watch

An Apple Watch is a great gift for Dads looking to track their fitness levels. But did you know that they have special features built in to accommodate wheelchair users? The Watch’s activity app can record its’ users rolls, exercise, and movement goals. It has specially designed sensors built in to consider various surfaces or inclines. Plus, with Siri’s voice recognition (and more coming soon) technology, users can begin playlists or workouts without even clicking a button.

Apple Watch wheelchair feature

Image: Apple

An #AppleWatch is a versatile gift that's a great option for Dad's of varying abilities. Whether he's tracking workouts, listening to music during a roll or feeling his child's heartbeat from afar, it's a gift he'll sure to love. Click To Tweet

Water Bottle

While on the go, it can be easy to get thirsty or even dehydrated – and that concern can be heightened for people with paralysis. That’s why a water bottle is a fantastic gift idea for Dads too busy to stop for a drink. YETI offers a variety of insulated water bottles that will keep drinks cool (or warm if the weather’s frosty). You could also opt for a hands-free water bottle that’s slightly more convenient. water bottles

Drink Holder

If your Dad is in a wheelchair, you may want to give him a place to stash his awesome new water bottle. Why not grab him a bottle water holder that can attach directly to his chair? This drink holder from Sheer Living can do just that.

Audible Streaming Service Gift Card

Audiobooks have surged in popularity in recent years, and they pair great with the gifts mentioned previously on this list. What better way to get through a daily roll than to listen to some of your favorite audiobooks?

Audiobooks are a great alternative to listening to music – it enables your Dad to listen to his favorite books while working out, traveling, or doing just about anything. If he has a morning or afternoon commute, an audiobook can make it that much more riveting.

Audible offers a variety of gift options for membership plans, including: books with headphones

  • 1 month for $15
  • 3 months for $45
  • 6 months for $90
  • One year for $150

For the voracious listening Dad in your life, the one-year subscription is the best value. It saves you $30 off the standard monthly rate. Each month your Dad will get a new book, with the option to purchase more if he chooses.

Think about that: 12 books for $150, which averages out to about $12.50 a book. That beats the rates at any bookstore. This option is highly recommended for any readers who want a new and innovative way to experience reading.

Apparel and Accessories from Zappos Adaptive

If your Dad gets around on wheels, consider getting him some disability-friendly shoes, apparel, or other accessories from Zappos Adaptive. They have options such as:

  • Slip-on shoes
  • Sensory friendly clothing
  • Orthotic shoes
  • Adaptive jeans
  • Post-surgical wear
  • Pull-on pants

Plus many more options available on their website. Functional fashion is an option for the guy in your life!!

Board Games

Great for a rainy day or just to keep Dad’s mind sharp, board games can be fun for you, your Dad, and the whole family. They come in a variety of styles and formats, so no matter how your Dad likes to compete, there’s something for him. Card games, strategy games, role-playing games and more are just a few of the options you’ll have when looking for the perfect game for Father’s Day.

family spelled in scrabble tiles

How About a New Mobility Vehicle for Dad?

If your Dad is in the market for a new wheelchair-accessible vehicle or adaptive driving aids, you’ll be happy to know we’ve got him covered at AMS Vans! We have a huge selection of new and used mobility vehicles available for purchase, lease and rent! We also offer nationwide delivery and service and unmatched customer service! Take advantage of our Summer Savings and view inventory here.

Lastly, don’t ever underestimate the value of a hug or a phone call and some good quality time! Here’s to a day full of dad jokes!

Aimee Copeland Is World’s First to Use State-of-the-Art Bionic Hands

Just over a year ago, Aimee Copeland captured the world’s attention after a zip-lining accident left her with a deep gash and a flesh-eating bacteria. To save her life, the University of West Georgia graduate student underwent multiple amputations to stop the infection. Now, thanks to the help of the latest technology in prosthetics, she can chop vegetables, pick up Skittles and fix her hair on her own.

The “i-limb ultra revolution” bionic hands are made by Touch Bionics, and run a hefty $120,000 each. The hands can be controlled remotely with an iPad application and a blue-tooth connection. According to a spokesperson for the company, the “bioism” software can be downloaded to an iPhone or iPod, as well.

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futuristic wheelchair

4 Futuristic Wheelchair Models You Simply Must See

Up until the present day, the typical design of the wheelchair models used by persons with disabilities has generally followed a somewhat dedicated commitment to function over form. From the introduction of the first lightweight, steel, folding, portable wheelchair in 1933 — a model known as the ‘X-brace’ — advances in the design and technology of newer machines have come periodically.

Factors in the advancement of wheelchair models — including propulsion method, control mechanism, and technology — are generally influenced by purpose and price. Newer wheelchair model categories include manual self-propelled, single-arm drive, reclining, standing, sports, and all-terrain designs that serve to enhance mobility freedom for their users.

As the focus on improving the mobility and lifestyles of persons with disabilities continue to garner attention, newer technologies and evolved creativity are responsible for four truly unique wheelchair models. Our post today highlights some remarkable wheelchairs — and how these designs enhance the mobility freedom of the people who use them. Continue reading