October 2012 update

Busy trying to get environment facilities improved without the help of disabled facilities Grant (I am no longer eligible because of working and being married). Installing remote control (infrared not radio frequency) dimmer switches and door openers with help of a friend called Gordon and another called Jack. Hopefully going to significantly undercut the “possum” quote of nearly 2K pounds per door opener!!! Light switches are also hopefully going to be significantly cheaper than asking a specialist company to the job. The risks are, as with most ventures in this domain, associated with servicing costs which I’m going to have to stomach.
Still working on getting a suitable solution for “phone control from wheelchair”, preferably without using a laptop/computer. If using phone through computer, advantages are associated with using the familiar voice control input, disadvantages are mainly related to the lack of portability and dependence on computer. iPhone may be the way to go as accessible technology for android seems to be unfeasible because of platform variability which threatens mobile application return on investment due to maintenance costs and reliability issues. Windows mobile has the advantage of being most compatible with Windows operating systems but due to the success of android and iOS phones, maybe a sinking ship. iphone/pad interface device from rsl steeper seems to be the most promising prospect… Let’s hope it’s not too long in coming.
PCEye eye tracking, mouse control device is definitely highest next on the wish list, will improve IT usage productivity by about 30% I estimate. At the cost of around 2.5 K (a welcome reduction from three years ago).
Lots of travelling to and from London for social, on the way back from Glastonbury today for Louise Stewart’s birthday, what a nice place.
Looking forward to talking at Mascip (Google if interested)
off-road wheelchair waiting for confirmation and programming parameters on the settings supposedly hardcoded when factory configured. This will help with steering corrections.
brushing up on web development frameworks (django) to tie into python related skill set
Hobby project to help with filing system and remotely accessible personal document repository.
Looking into message brokering systems and related efficiency.

Naidex South 2012

naidex 17 October 2012

items of interest

hybrid indoor/outdoor chair, front and rear pivoting axles, great off-road capability, questionable indoor manoeuvring. Company patron: Chris. Send specifications of head control/HMC easy Rider. No lockin system, questionable suitability for vehicle travel.
Very interesting conversation with Chris, the patron, about the lack of variable resistance in head control systems (predominantly being switch/discreet control systems). This does limit the driving experience when compared to a joystick (e.g chin control)

etac800 (Balder successor), slick design, seat extension, footrest extension, easy to fit armrests etc. Permobil have no direct competing model.

Unfortunately no otobock stand.

Permobil have a new head control to go with the new control system (octopus). The head control is compatible with P&G control systems (it is not proximity heads switch controlled). It is therefore compatible with the etac800.

RSL-Steeper, the assistive technology company, are one of the few to have ventured out of the dark ages (along with “smile rehab”, who I need to check out).
After the disappointment of finding out that the IPortal system (used to control iPad/iPhone from a wheelchair using dynamics control systems) is exclusive to Apple products and dynamics control systems (not P&G, the control system used by Permobil & etac/Balder), it was refreshing to hear that rsl are coming out with a small adapter that you control via scanning through a switch connected with a minijack plug.
Secondly, the mytobii system, which I have previously disliked for its overpricing, proprietary software model and limited usability, is now exceptionally accurate and user-friendly. I preferred the “PCI” model which can attach to any monitor/PC. Using the control bar at the right of the screen, you select the action and afterwards the location on the screen to perform the action. This separation of function and location leads to a reliable and relatively fast experience, a perfect companion to voice recognition when surfing or writing code.

thank you Angela for your help and consideration on the day

exoskeletons

http://www.channel4.com/news/new-door-has-opened-with-robotic-exoskeleton
Great to see the article, a very para (as opposed to tetra/quad) perspective.
So you say that someone with upperbody immobility can use this as well? How’s the upperbody stabilised?

If someone has lost the ability to use arms and hands as well, I’m not sure how functional the ability to walk slowly would be as opposed to elevating the height of a good wheelchair. The health benefits of standing I achieve through static standing in a standing frame.

So the functional benefits related to performing manual functions whilst standing may not apply to tetra’s quite as much, also the practicalities of maintaining upperbody stability require consideration. The, “elevated perspective” gained from standing can also be achieved partly through elevating a good power wheelchair. the possibility of a “unrestrained hug” is definitely a positive feature for all..

reminds me of the considerations with respect to the irobot and its suitability for tetras.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYpYWEeCP7o

California part II

Vegas was incredible and three days was probably enough. Great fun playing poker, seeing the sights, music and shows. Point Loma was definitely a highlight for me which followed with more beach fun in Laguna Beach and a whirlwind tour of the sights and sounds of Los Angeles before heading back on a long flight with intermittent delays mainly due to lack of organisation on behalf of LAX, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow staff. Complaint submitted to Virgin Atlantic but noted that service had previously been exemplary.

Immeasurable thanks go to all our hosts (Sharon, John and Marie as well as Michael, Monique, Luke and Anna), Claire and Angela for being such patient and diligent PAs, all the other people we enjoyed time with including Louise, Thomas, Luke and Missie, Robin and the girls… the list goes on.

What a perfect honeymoon which we will never forget. Cemented in the memory of Ellen and I for ever.

Pictures now on the web on the Flickr page.