Power Wheelchairs Could Soon Be Fitted With a Smart Safety System
Electric wheelchairs may come with those with “smart” safety systems.
Eleven-year-old Betsy Pringle was born with muscular dystrophy. He was selected as one of the less than 10 people who took part in the LUCI trial.
Six years ago, Betsy used a wheelchair to get around. That can also be a concern as his chair may change if he does not pay attention to his position. He said participating in the LUCI trial was a joy for him as he now had no risk of hitting his pet, siblings, or walls, and even getting off any of the streets.
Betsy’s mother, Anne, is also excited and thinks her daughter will be independent because of LUCI. Betsy is now able to navigate and explore the area safely. He can also play like other neighbors’ children. And her mother does not have to worry about having an accident.
Anne said LUCI gives her peace of mind knowing she will be warned if something bad happens. However, it is best that LUCI is able to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.
LUCI makes wheelchair-friendly seats safer
LUCI is the latest technology developed by Barry Dean and his brother, Jered. Her 19-year-old daughter, Katherine, suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. The idea to develop LUCI came when Barry discovered that no one had come up with a plan to make wheelchairs safer.
Barry and Jered then developed a device that will make electric wheelchairs safer for its users. LUCI can be fitted with a powerful wheelchair. It incorporates radar, sensors, and a camera so that the wheelchair can sense surroundings. The device also has the ability to communicate alerts and voice activation.
Betsy has been selected to be part of the LUCI testing program thanks to Cathy Carver. Cathy is a physical therapist at UAB’s Spain Rehabilitation Center. They met at an event organized by Cathy. Betsy participated in the event to help show other children how they interact with children with disabilities. The two have been in constant contact ever since.
Cathy Carver later found out that the company was looking for people to participate in the LUCI driver. Then Bheki thought. According to her, Betsy is better suited to test and provide feedback about LUCI. She had the opportunity to interview Betsy when the 11-year-old returned to the Spain Rehabilitation Center to be fitted with a new wheelchair.
In the next few months, Betsy will be testing the device. He will then provide his feedback on his experience using LUCI. The information he will provide will be used to filter the device before it is made public.
As for Cathy, she told WTVY that she sees technology becoming part of every wheelchair in the future. Pringle agrees and adds that this type of technology gives him great peace of mind.