InvoTek receives $175,000 grant for ‘handcycling’ project

Grant Will Fund Development of Quad Rider – A Gear and Braking Device that Helps People with Disabilities Operate a Handcycle Safely

Alma, Ark. – July 22, 2014 – InvoTek, Inc., a research and development company in Alma, Arkansas, recently received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health.  The grant will fund the development of technology to enable thousands of people with high level spinal cord injury the opportunity to enjoy the health benefits of handcycling. The Lakeshore Foundation and University of Alabama at Birmingham are collaborating with InvoTek on this project.

“Lack of access to fitness and recreation equipment is one of the primary barriers to participating in health-enhancing fitness activities for people with spinal cord injuries,” said James Rimmer, PhD, Lakeshore Foundation Director of Research. “The Quad Rider can open up the possibility of promoting a wonderfully engaging form of physical activity for people with high level tetraplegia and help lower their risk of heart disease and diabetes and improve their mental health status.”

The Quad Rider makes it easy to shift gears and brake, enabling people with poor grip-control to safely cycle. According to InvoTek President Tom Jakobs, “The mechanism does not require strength to brake quickly, which is a big deal for someone who has limited control of his or her hands.  Plus, the rider can change gears by puffing air into a device (through a straw) attached to their helmet, allowing them to keep their hands in position to steer and brake.”

The Quad Rider will attach onto a standard handcycle. Phase II will focus on enhanced automation for people with even more severe injuries so that they too can exercise.

Founded in 1988, InvoTek specializes in creating and applying technology to the needs of people with severe disabilities. InvoTek is a founding sponsor of Be Extraordinary, a non-profit organization that helps people with severe disabilities who want to accomplish a life goal. The goal can be wide ranging — improved participation in their health care, access to books, better communication with family or friends, the ability to advocate on their own behalf, or accomplish an educational or vocational goal. Be Extraordinary uses tax-deductible contributions from generous donors to fund these projects.

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