The movement of limbs comes so fluidly and effortlessly for many of us that it is easy to take for granted. But those who work in the VCU Health Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation know from firsthand observation that the independence that comes with mobility is a gift. That is why a VCU Health rehabilitation specialist and a technology expert teamed up to create an innovative device that gives patients with tetraplegia the ability to use a laptop with just their eyes.
Tetraplegia indicates paralysis of all four limbs or of the entire body below the neck. To accommodate patients with tetraplegia, the VCU team designed a mobile cart with an extendable arm that holds a laptop.
Todd Stabelfeldt is sending his wife a romantic text. He taps his chin on a button mounted on his wheelchair, then grins, pleased with his wooing.
A quadriplegic since he was 8, Stabelfeldt can’t move anything below his neck. Now a 36-year-old engineer and business owner, he’s turned his wheelchair into a powerful mobile communication hub using switches, a Bluetooth headset and an iPhone 6.
He averages a phone call every six minutes and sends more than 100 texts a day. He’s not much for social media other than LinkedIn (LNKD), but loves to check his elaborate smart-home set up, read books, listen to podcasts and look up recipes online. Frequently outside on the move, he uses the Strava app to track how many miles he racks up.
New software sifts through the information gathered in long forgotten studies and finds new avenues for researchers to pursue—like a new advance in treating spinal injuries.
Doctors have just discovered a previously unknown relationship between the long-term recovery of spinal cord injury victims and high blood pressure during their initial surgeries. This may seem like a small bit of medical news—though it will have immediate clinical implications—but what’s important is how it was discovered in the first place.
Computer scientist and founder of Robots and Cake Stuart Turner took to WIRED2014’s London stage to talk about open access systems. He did so from just outside Manchester, using a telepresence Beam robot, while flying a Parrot AR drone. And he achieved all of that using only his right index finger and his head.
“I can’t move my body, I can’t get out of this wheelchair — but I can totally fly,” he said. “Robots are awesome.”
Accident paralyzed University of Iowa student when he was 7
The details matter to Tony Ramos. As an artist, the details are what make his work come to life for the viewer.
“Any person who likes their work this much, they want to get down to the last detail,” Ramos said as he sat in the middle of a small room in the University of Iowa’s Studio Arts Building. Punctuating the white walls were 20 poster-sized pieces of art, some depicting well-known superheroes and others showing moments significant to Ramos’ life.
A week before he was due to compete in a wrestling tournament in Korea, 17-year-old Carl-Akira Fujinami took a dive into a shallow wave in Australia and hit sand, hard.
19-year-old Carl doesn’t wrestle. Damage to his spine means he has lost full use of his limbs. But he does rank Gold in League of Legends.
An infrared camera sits on top of Carl’s monitor. By putting a reflective sticker on his face, he can reflect the infrared rays back into the camera’s sensor. His head handles movement to a high degree of accuracy, and any pause will activate a click. That’s the mouse.
Device helps with ability to communicate, live more independently
A University of Kansas mechanical engineering student has developed a ground-breaking device that will help his uncle, who suffered a brain stem stroke in 2002 that left him a quadriplegic and unable to speak, communicate and live more independently.
The device — called Ultramouse — was designed by 22-year-old Henry Clever, a St. Louis senior who will graduate in May. The concept originated with his uncle, Henry Evans, of Palo Alto, Calif., whose mind wasn’t affected by the stroke that struck him at age 40.
Tobii EyeMobile is a computer access solution that puts individuals with physical and communication impairments at the forefront of consumer technology.
Going Off-Road with Tracked Wheelchairs! Technology isn’t just fun and games… it can have a major impact in people’s lives. We’re looking at tech that enables people to overcome their disabilities!
A tiny chip implant is enabling paralysed and injured people to move objects by the power of their thoughts – and, in time, researchers hope it could help them walk again
The robotic arm clutched a glass and swung it over a series of coloured dots that resembled a Twister gameboard. Behind it, a woman sat entirely immobile in a wheelchair. Slowly, the arm put the glass down, narrowly missing one of the dots. “She’s doing that!” exclaims Professor John Donoghue, watching a video of the scene on his office computer – though the woman onscreen had not moved at all. “She actually has the arm under her control,” he says, beaming with pride. “We told her to put the glass down on that dot.”