As I was browsing the invention site Quirky, I was delighted as usual. I always see some amazing things on here for wheelchair-users, like this invention that would help us open any door independently (brilliant!). The other day I also saw an amazing wheelchair umbrella, but that has since been taken down (boo).
I just love inventions and new gadgets for people with disabilities. It always makes me happy to see barriers being removed, especially ones you think would never come down.
Speaking of inventions, I thought it’d be fun to list a few ideas that would truly help millions of people with disabilities. So here is my list of seven inventions people with disabilities are still waiting for:
Rosie the Robot (turned PCA): Growing up, I loved The Jetson’s, and their robot maid Rosie was one of the coolest things on the show. She could clean your whole house in 30 seconds flat, and she could help you get dressed, too. Yes, she would be perfect for people with disabilities.
Imagine no longer needing another human to get you out of bed. Instead, you’d program a robot to help you whenever you wanted their help. Imagine the world of possibilities this would open up for people with disabilities. I know many of us would party much later into the night … oh yeah.
Hover wheelchair: They have the technology, so why hasn’t this been invented yet? Imagine how awesome a hover wheelchair would be — to no longer be restrained by the limitations of four wheels. In a hover wheelchair, you could float over stairs, sand, snow, gravel, even water. Now that would beat the iBot anyday. Now if only they could make hover technology less noisy …
Finger-moving gloves: For a lot of people with disabilities, our fingers are affected. As you can imagine, having fingers you can’t move is pretty frustrating. Recently they’ve invented gloves that in fact do move fingers!
However this “tech” still has a long ways to go. You can’t just strap the gloves on and suddenly have hands that will move. No, you need to hook up your brain to the gloves using electrodes, and this technology currently isn’t as precise as they would like it. One day soon though, this magical pair of gloves will exist, and my piano-playing days will commence again.
Accessible shopping carts: As a wheelchair-user, when you go shopping it’s never easy. There are always things you have to work around, and the shopping cart situation is one of the worst. I would love to see an accessible shopping cart with a cut-out in front where we could nestle ourselves and propel the cart forward, and I’d love to see this cart available everywhere, too.
Powerchair-accessible cars: I’ve seen power wheelchairs uniquely created to fit a car perfectly, but that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a new way to make cars accessible to powerchair users. They drop down the floor in minivans, they add an external ramp to trucks and cut the floor out, so why can’t they modify cars?
The average used 2002 Ford Taurus, a vehicle I could actually afford, has no way of being made accessible to my power wheelchair. I would love to see a new method for making a car accessible. Maybe they need to target cars that sit higher from the ground to make it happen, or something like that. Whatever it would take, someone needs to create it.
More aesthetic customization options on wheelchairs: It’s always bothered me that wheelchair companies don’t offer more aesthetic customization options. A wheelchair is so expensive. It can cost more than most people’s cars and furniture in their homes, yet all those things have way more customization options when it comes to how they look. Why don’t wheelchairs have these too? I’m talking fabric choices, the curve of the frame … way more than just color.
Automatic transfer devices you can take anywhere: Have you ever wanted to get into one of the plush seats at a movie theater but couldn’t? Imagine a portable transfer device you could take with you wherever you go that would help transfer you from your wheelchair to another seat without anyone’s assistance. Maybe it would be something like a powered transfer board with a conveyor belt that rolls you, kind of like fruit when checking out at the grocery store.
Gosh I hope one day at least some of these happen. All I know is that the longer we’re disabled, the crazier our ideas get for inventions. But that’s OK. That’s how brilliant ideas finally come to life. And please — don’t ever doubt yourself if you come up with something crazy. You never know, it could be the next big thing.
What are you still waiting for in the invention department?