Welcome to New Mobility’s biweekly newsletter. To receive via email (mobile-friendly), subscribe here.
Independence: A Quad’s Definition
What does independence mean to you? Ian Ruder talks with six quads who use personal care attendants about how their definitions have evolved as they’ve learned to live with a disability. “Now, independence is dictating life rather than life dictating to me,” says Dave Pierson, a C6-7 quad. “It’s more about doing what I want to do when I want to do it with whatever help I need — and knowing I am able to get that help.”
So far, exoskeletons have sounded a lot cooler than they’ve actually been, but that may be changing. First-gen exoskeletons were clunky and not exactly useful for the real world. But the technology continues to advance, and with ever-improving robotics, exoskeletons have the potential to become functional rather than gimmicky. This two-and-a-half minute video features Wandercraft, a French company that’s the first to develop an exoskeleton capable of letting paras walk without crutch assistance. Special bonus: The video features some hilarious footage of robots falling over.
Paralympian, disability-rights lawyer, New Mobility contributor, and all around awesome woman Linda Mastandrea was recently named to head FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, which plays a vital role in helping people with disabilities during natural disasters and other emergencies. Check out her advice on preparing for the worst, including making sure you know what supplies or DME are most vital to take with in case of evacuation.
Sometimes it feels like all the cool adaptive technologies that pop up these days are something to dream about rather than actually use, given their price and the current state of insurance coverage. But Patricia Perez found that by asking the right question, refusing to settle for the wrong answer, and finding the right people to advocate for what she needed, Medicare would actually cover the chair she needed, complete with a SmartDrive power assist. There is hope in the world.
It’s innovation season, says our product guru Mark E. Smith. Two new power wheelchairs have hit the market, the Invacare TDX SP2 featuring a refined, customizable drive system complete with an industry-first touch screen operation, and the Quantum 4Front, which brings automotive grade independent suspension to a front-wheel drive chair. Ki, a company that has been busy taking the ultralight wheelchair world by storm, is releasing a new line of pre-contoured cushions backed by cutting edge science. Innovation season indeed.
Receive New Mobility’s newsletter in your inbox, cleverly formatted for mobile devices. Subscribe.