Why kid inventors are the best inventorsJun 24 10:56
A group of teens from Staten Island, NY have recently created the “dream” wheelchair for a high school engineering project. They are geeky, they have East coast accents, and they have put blood and sweat into this thoroughly impressive creation.
Whenever young, eager kids, un-jaded by the world get their hands on something that can change the world for the better, that’s when I get really excited; that is when amazing ideas come forth, and this omni-directional wheelchair is existing proof.
What really got me were some of the chair’s unprecedented features. The omni-directional driving capability is my favorite. The wheelchair sits on a round wheel-base and has four caster wheels. It can easily perform 360-degree turns. The really amazing part are the moving grooves on the wheels. These spinning grooves enable the chair to roll left to right, just like it does front to back. The ability to drive in these new directions could transform the lives of wheelchair-users everywhere in regards to accessibility.
They also must have talked to a quad, because they added a comfort controlled wheelchair seating system, intended to cool-off the user on hot days. Cool air is piped into the seat using an on-board AC system. And on chilly days it can also produce heat. They've also installed a pressure build-up reduction seat, which is just like a rotating-air pressure mattress and is built into the seat (created using an inflatable bed). This seat’s main purpose is to prevent pressure sores. And ooh aah - it also has a built-in vibrating/massage feature.
Its always exciting to see fresh eyes take a long hard look at a centuries-old problem, and in this case: the wheelchair, a chair on wheels that is now the “Can’t we do better than that?” chair-on-wheels. Let’s face it, the wheelchair is embarrassingly in need of being decimated and replaced. I’m still holding out for the hover chair. Maybe an improved version of the iBot will triumphantly return.
All I know is that we should let high schoolers take a crack at societal problems more often. Just look at what they’ve dreamed up for the wheelchair. We need to start treating teens with more respect, as adults like they used to be. Maybe then we could solve the gas crisis, and finally devise a plan for peace in the Middle East.
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1. ... | Jul 02 05:33
WTG, guys! Definitely has potential; keep up the good work.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.