Segway unveiled its latest self-balancing vehicle earlier this year, much to the consternation of the general public. Best described as a blend of Baby Yoda’s crib, the airplane-like seats used by future people in Disney’s Wall-E and a giant egg, the S-Pod is a two-wheeled transporter capable of traveling up to 24 mph. Like other Segway products, the S-Pod relies on gyroscopes to keep riders upright and maintain balance. Unlike other Segways that move in response to how the rider shifts, the device is driven by a small joystick. Segway did not announce the S-Pod’s price, but did say to look for it later this year or early in 2021. Perhaps designers can use that time to work out some of the kinks, as the S-Pod quickly earned headlines for more than its “unique” looks when a reporter crashed into a wall just moments after being reassured about the product’s safety.
The University of New Hampshire-based Institute on Disability released the “2019 Annual Report on People with Disabilities in America” on Feb. 11. In addition to its traditional focus on indicators like population size, educational attainment, employment, earnings from work, poverty and health insurance, this year’s Annual Report tracks statistics related to institutionalization, mass transit, housing and the role of the environment in the enablement/disablement process. Here are a few stats to tide you over:
In 2018, there were 322.2 million people living in the United States, and 40.6 million of them were individuals with disabilities — that’s 12.6% of the population. People with disabilities are more than twice as likely to live in poverty in the United States. In 2018, 26.1% of people with disabilities lived in poverty while 10.7% of people without disabilities lived in poverty.
On the bright side, the gap between disabled and nondisabled people who have attained high school degrees shrunk to the smallest margin — 9.0% — since the report’s inception in 2008.
New Mobility correspondent Aaron Broverman shows off his profile-writing skills every month in “How We Roll” (and in features like December’s cover story on Jill Pantozzi), but that’s just the tip of his writing chops. Don’t miss, “The Surprising Truth About Having a Baby When You’re Disabled,” his great look at what to expect when you’re expecting, on Toronto’s LocalLove.ca. Read at bit.ly/2vMgPbh
Photo by Northern Wildflower Photography
See what all the fuss at Sundance was about when Crip Camp debuts on Netflix this month. Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham’s documentary about a revolutionary summer camp for kids with disabilities in upstate New York took home the Audience Award at Sundance and elevates the discussion around disability rights as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ADA.. For more about Crip Camp, see our coverage here. Watch it at Netflix.com.
Calling a caregiver in the middle of the night can be complicated for quads living in residential settings. United Spinal board member, Backbones founder and Reframed columnist Reveca Torres suggests the Honeywell Home Series 5 Wireless Portable Doorbell as a simple, cost-effective solution:
“I bought this and it works really well! It has different ringtones so your PA can choose which they prefer, and you can adjust the volume. It has lights that flash, too! I added some tape to the raised button to help me push it, especially at night when I’m half asleep. And I attached it to a lanyard so I wouldn’t lose it.”
A confrontation over an apparent disabled parking violation quickly escalated into a nightmare scenario for one California wheelchair user this January. Moments after Phillip Kensler confronted a woman who was illegally parked in a disabled spot, Target security camera footage shows him being accosted by a man, later identified as Jimmie Tiger, the boyfriend of the woman in the car. Tiger pushed Kensler away and then violently picked him up and flipped him from his wheelchair onto the floor. The shocking footage made national headlines and was reposted widely on social media.
“He says, ‘You need to apologize to my girlfriend,’ and I didn’t know what to say,” Kensler told KRON-4. “He just got behind me and started to push me out of the store. I grabbed onto my wheels real tight and he picked me up in my wheelchair and he dumped me out of my wheelchair.” Kensler said he had to have a titanium plate and screws implanted in his wrist. Tiger was charged with attempted kidnapping and assault.
Fresh off her run as Ani in the Citadel Theatre’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Cost of Living, NM media columnist Teal Sherer is already gearing up for a May 22-Jun. 14 performance in her hometown of Seattle (seattlepublictheater.org). The 2016 play examines “diverse perceptions of privilege and human connection through two pairs of mismatched individuals: a former trucker and his recently paralyzed ex-wife, and an arrogant young man with cerebral palsy and his new caregiver,” according to promotional materials.
Cost of Living won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and is now popping up in quality productions all over North America. NM contributor Regan Linton is slated to perform as Ani in Round House Theatre’s Washington, D.C., run, opening April 1 (theatermania.com).