Do you use a wheelchair? A team of engineers needs your input.

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The UC San Diego Smart WheelChair team is asking ME patients to fill out a short google questioner about how ME impacts their mobility and how they can best design a wheelchair accessory that would support your independence. 
The team of undergraduate engineering students are working to design an affordable, open source, voice activated accessory to make a power wheelchair autonomous. The customized wheelchair will have sensors to detect objects and avoid obstacles.
The wheelchair will have pre-planned routes to help you navigate through your home. For example, it would have the ability to park for easy toilet transfer and be able to navigate smoothly within a tight bathroom.
The engineering team is looking for people who are willing to tell them about how ME impacts their mobility, and how they could best design a wheelchair accessory to support independence.
You are also welcome to email [email protected]ucsd.edu if you would like to share a testimonial about living with ME. The team is hoping to receive feedback from as many people as possible to inspire a human centered design.  
Learn more about the project.
 

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8 thoughts on “Do you use a wheelchair? A team of engineers needs your input.”

  1. Katharine Keeling Spann

    I spend 95% of each day in bed. Due to fatigue and POTS, any outing is a struggle. I lie down in the back of the SUV to go to Dr appts, etc., but when I get to my destination-I am searching for somewhere I can lie down. The POTS causes me not to be able to sit for more than 5 min. and I can’t stand for more than a minute or so.
    I really want a wheelchair that reclines for this purpose. I might even be able to be pushed through the zoo or gardens! I have spent 9 years looking at the same 4 walls in my dark bedroom because I cannot recline when outside of my home.
    Maybe someone could help patients like me?
    Thanks, Katharine Spann

    1. Hi, they do make this type of wheelchair, and my PT has advised that I should have one. They do tend to be expensive and also heavy (one would likely need a modified vehicle to travel in, or stick to paratransit service).
      Best,
      Janelle

  2. Beatriz Pioz Soriano

    Hola. Yo he empezado a usar silla de ruedas para poder desplazarme fuera de casa, pero siempre con ayuda. Ahora me arrepiento de no haber comprado una electrica desde el principio.
    Veo que soy totalmente dependiente ya que no tengo fuerzas para empujarme yo misma.
    Tiene que ser cómoda, muy importante ya que luego nos tiramos días sin poder movernos del dolor de culo, brazos dormidos, etc.
    Normalmente no me hace falta , pero otras estoy tan cansada que necesito apoyo para el cuello/cabeza.
    Que sean realmente seguros, los accesorios para esos pequeños bordillos que son imposibles de subir o bajar, porque hacen tambalearse la silla, con el miedo a poder caerte y darte de bruces contra el suelo.
    A veces las fuerzas no nos llegan para poder mover las direcciones de la silla. Podria tener una opción donde fuese menos difícil moverlo.
    Muchas gracias

    1. Hi, have had ME/CFS for 45 years now and my mobility is getting much worse. It wasn’t good when it all started, but I guess with old age etc. the darn thing is much worse. I tried a self propelling wheelchair but have to have someone with me, to help get it in and out the car. A Mobility scooter was loaned to me to try, but shops don’t often let you go inside with them as they take so much space up. Whatever is designed it must be very light and also strong, as by the time my “outing” is at an end I am absolutely “pooped” and feel like lying down in the car park!

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