Posts Tagged ‘trabasack’

Robotic Wheelchair Tray

Robotic Wheelchair Tray

RoboDesk Wheelchair tray for tablet

RoboDesk in action

New research from Purdue University in Indiana has resulted in the development of a robotic wheelchair tray. This motorised wheelchair tray has been designed to make access to laptop computers and tablet devices easier for wheelchair users. The RoboDesk is made up of a motorised arm which deploys or retracts a tablet or small laptop computer when it’s needed.

When RoboDesk isn’t being used it sits safely out of the user’s way – positioned near the rear wheel and doesn’t add any further bulk to the wheelchair or cause any problems of manoeuvrability. The wheelchair can still function as normal and transferring in and out of the chair isn’t affected as the RoboDesk is kept out of the way. To access it the user can simply press a button and the arm will swing out and position the attached tray in front of the user’s lap. The tilt of the tray can then be manually adjusted for individual preferences and although the new design was developed as a wheelchair tray for tablet it could be used for more general purposes such as eating meals or for writing upon.

The inventor of the RoboDesk is Brad Duerstock who works in the Biomedical Engineering and School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue. His invention came from a desire to increase the employment opportunities of wheelchair users and from his research he discovered only 2% of people working in scientific industries aged 35 or younger lived with a disability and people with disabilities made up just 10.4% of the whole workforce. His research is US-based but the figures in the UK are probably very similar.

This video shows the RoboDesk in action and Duerstock is dedicated to getting the product licensed and manufactured within the next three years so it can be brought to market. His current development stage is focused on making the product more universal so it will work with a range of different wheelchairs.

Trabasack – A Budget Alternative

Trabasack Curve Connect Wheelchair Tray + Media Mount

Great Value Trabasack Wheelchair Tray for iPad

When RoboDesk makes it to market it’s clear it won’t be a budget product and unfortunately this is the case with many gadgets designed for accessibility – they simply aren’t affordable to all. Of course a budget alternative to RoboDesk, potentially whilst you’re waiting for its development and release, is the Trabasack.

Trabasack wheelchair trays are an attractive alternative to traditional wheelchair trays as they are functional and fashionable and easily moved for transfers. The tray is lightweight and provides the perfect surface for wheelchair access to an iPad as well as eating, drinking and writing. The Trabasack also comprises a bag compartment so you have somewhere safe and easily accessible to store your gadgets after use.

 

Powerchairs and problems with pavements

Powerchairs and problems with pavements

Today I read a very interesting post from the Tentacles of Doom blog. It was about the frustrations of using a powerchair for the first time by twitter user Latent Existence. Many people who use chairs have a real problems with pavements and kerbs, lack of dropped kerbs, slopes and adverse cambers on pavements and paths.

Here is an extract that describes many of the problems of using a powerchair in a town:

“Getting to a junction and finding no dropped kerbs and therefore no way to leave the pavement and cross is frustrating.

Having to backtrack to the last dropped kerb is also frustrating.

Having no matching dropped kerb on the other side and having to take the chair along the road is dangerous.

Latent Existence in a powerchair.

Curved dropped kerbs that go round the corner are a pain. Wheelchairs are supposed to take the kerb at 90 degrees to avoid toppling. Having to turn 45 degrees to do that is irritating, AND the pavement is at odd angles that push the chair to one side.

A dropped kerb that crosses the pavement all the way to someone’s driveway makes the chair go down then up again. Having these repeatedly all the way along the street makes the chair go up and down continuously. They can also make the chair swerve into the road unless paying perfect attention and deploying light-speed reflexes.

A dropped kerb is supposed to be dropped. That means going down to road level. Not two or three inches above it. When a chair goes over that, it lurches wildly back and forth.

When a too-high kerb is combined with a round-the-corner curved dropped kerb that simultaneously goes up a hill on one road and down a hill on the other road, the combined angles plus speed necessary to climb the kerb mean that the chair will topple.

Flailing wildly when going over will wrench muscles, twist the back, neck and shoulders, and cause extreme pain and swearing.

Finding no way to get from pavement to road to pavement so that you can cross is bloody annoying. Did I already do that one? Well I’m doing it again because it’s BLOODY ANNOYING.

Tree roots growing under the path and tearing it up can lift one side of a chair, causing it to tip disturbingly to one side.

Cars parked on the pavement deserve to be scratched as I go past.

Pavements full of pot holes, cracks, patches and worn away surface are not just a minor irritant, they make the journey a hell full of dragging, rattling, lurching, bumping and worse.

A path is supposed to be wide enough to use. Six inches of goat trail with smashed up tarmac surrounded by tall grass and weeds right at the edges on both sides is not acceptable. Grass to within six inches of the road edge is definitely not acceptable.

Paths so old that their height varies by several inches NEED FIXING. You can’t leave that.

I got stuck on patches of broken pavement so bad that one wheel went in a hole. Not once, but twice. I couldn’t avoid the hole because the grass verge had covered the pavement.

I had to negotiate places where the broken, narrow path went through potholes, gravel and old stones at the edge, merged with driveways, with grass covering it at 45 degree angles. I lurched wildly.”

These are all problems that I have encountered with my wife who uses a powerchair. Other countries are often worse but the UK still has a long way to go. The full blog post can be read here http://trabasack.visibli.com/share/wE4ROD

 

Powerchairs that do not have problems with pavements

 

We have a friend, Chris, who imports powerchairs that have 4 wheel drive and can go over the roughest terrain. Watch this video for more

 

Powerchairs like that do not have problems with pavements, click for more info on Chris’s All terrain wheelchairs and Four X powerchairs They have independent controls on all four wheels (four wheel drive) and are extremely tough and resistant to any difficult going.  They have  a unique suspension and shock absorbing abilities and a centre of gravity adjustment system. There are able to tilt in space and can even go downstairs! This is the sort of chair that ‘Latent’ would be happier in I think.

Trabasack a powerchair tray on difficult terrain

Trabasack can be used a wheelchair or powerchair tray, it has straps so that you can keep it on when on bumpy or uneven terrain. You can use a waist strap to go right around your body or the chair to hold it on. Or you can use our ‘side straps’ to attach to the armrests or anywhere at the side of a wheelchair or powerchair frame. They is a lot of flexibility with these four straps to give lots of options.

Also the beans in the beanbag give a slight cushioning and suspension when going over bumps so that it is more stable than ordinary trays. I have sent a trabasack to Mr Existence and his review will be featured on this blog soon!

 

UPDATE after posting I received this tweet

@ Good stuff. You're going to like what I've been working up. It involves video, a powerchair, rough terrain and a trabasack!
@latentexistence
Tentacle Sixteen

I am now very excited!