In days when there are apps for everything and many gadgets are going smart it was only a question of time before it would happen in the world of wheelchairs !
AT& T one of the Worlds largest network suppliers has teamed up with Swedish electric wheelchair manufacturer Permobil to produce what they can a connected wheelchair. Although only at proof of concept stage so far the model has been displayed at CTIA Super Mobility in Las Vegas.
Aimed at empowering folk with disabilities and improving their quality of everyday life, the wheelchair has the technology and Internet connection to monitor the chair for user comfort, overall performance, maintenance requirements and even the chairs location. The data that is gathered is then used by carers and developers alike to provide feedback allowing them to improve on all aspects of the performance.
“The connected wheelchair is a great example of how the AT&T Foundry can quickly collaborate with a customer on a proof of concept to bring connectivity and intelligence to a new range of devices,” said Mike Troiano, vice-president of AT&T industrial IoT systems. “We’re using innovative technology to solve real-world problems and, in this case, potentially improve quality of life,” he said.
GPS technology is used for what they call wheelchair fleet management whilst also providing data on battery status and performance and the more simple aspects of maintenance which i s then used to ensure the chair is serviced when required and kept in optimum condition. This in turn provides confidence for both the electric wheelchair user and the carers.
In addition to this comfort is monitored by saving data on many things including seating position, cushion pressure which will help to spot sings of misuse including bad posture or slumping both of which can lead to dangerous pressure ulcers, particularly important to users who may lack sensation below the waist.
So, here comes the App ! the Swedish manufacturer of powerchairs has developed the virtual seating coach App and cloud service, which provides seating system information and tracks if users are following recommended regimens.
“Our guiding star when developing any product comes directly from company founder Per Udden, who has stated that every person with a disability has the right to have his or her handicap compensated as far as possible by aids with the same technical standard as those we all use in our everyday lives,” said Olof Hedin, CIO at Permobil.
“Permobil’s collaboration with the AT&T Foundry is the epitome of how to bring today’s technology into the complex rehabilitation arena to benefit users, clinicians and stakeholders.”