Intel Unveils Connected Wheelchair

by Laura M on September 16, 2014

in Products and Devices

Smart watches, smart wristbands, smart glasses… oh my!  Wearable technology is a booming industry linking users to technology like never before.  And now there is a device that connects its users in a whole new way.  At the Intel Developer Forum last Tuesday, Intel introduced a new, cutting-edge connected device: the first smart wheelchair.

Most smart, wearable devices are busy tracking how many steps the user takes, or even how many miles the wearer jogged in a day–but what about those of us who don’t travel on foot?  For those with mobility impairments, the benefits of these smart gadgets tend to fall short.

This smart wheelchair proof of concept “enables the collection of biometrical information from the user, as well as mechanical information from the machine, that can be analyzed.  The team also built an application that allows wheelchair users to map and rate the accessibility of locations, further enhancing the user experience.”

In other words, this wheelchair collects biometrical details, tracks location, and sends vitals to doctors if things go wrong.  The device monitors vitals of the person sitting in the chair, including blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate, and can notify 911 in event of an emergency.  It even informs the users of the wheelchair’s status, keeping them even more safe and comfortable wherever they may go.  The general idea is to connect the wheelchair and its user to the Internet of Things, which has the potential to change and save lives.Intel connected wheelchair

Perhaps one of the most interesting facts on this chair is not necessarily what it can do, but rather who developed this exciting piece of connected technology.  His name is Tim Balz, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering student at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.  He is an intern at Intel and also the founder of Freedom Chairs, a nonprofit that provides refurbished electric wheelchairs.

Further, this device is endorsed by none other than Stephen Hawking.  If anyone has an idea or invention in the field of science and technology, and it is endorsed by Hawking–that’s huge.  Hawking is a world-renowned author and physicist who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 and has been using a wheelchair for more than 30 years.  He firmly believes that science and technology highly influence the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.  “Medicine can’t cure me so I rely on technology.  It lets me interface with the world.  It propels me, it is how I’m speaking to you now.  It is necessary for me to live.”


Monday Tech Tip: Tablet Mounting Systems

by Laura M on September 15, 2014

in Tech Tips

For this week’s tech tip, David Frye is going to introduce us to an assortment of tablet mounting systems.  Check it out!


ATU172 – What does the Apple Watch and iPhone 6 mean for people with Disabilities, National Federation of the Blind, Duo Lingo app, Vision Force from Bosma Enterprises

September 12, 2014 Assistive Technology Update

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Chris Danielson, Director of Public Relations – National Federation of the Blind | How one nonprofit built a […]

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Track Life’s Tempo with CarePredict

September 11, 2014 Products and Devices

There are several wellness trackers available on the market today to monitor the habits of relatively self-aware, healthy individuals.  These wearable devices are designed to help those looking to stay active or to hit a specific goal each day (i.e. a steps objective.)  CarePredict is utilizing the technology behind these fitness wristbands to improve the lives of seniors.  They have created a […]

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Facilitating Play for Children/Adaptive Toys handouts and powerpoint slides.

September 11, 2014 Training

If you are joining us today for our FREE full day training on Facilitating Play for Children of All Abilities & Adaptive Toys below are the powerpoints and handouts that will be used in today’s training. We are thrilled to have Hayley Anderson, CTRS/Manager of Family Services & Partnerships and Ahren Hoffman, CTRS/Manager of Industry […]

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Apple’s Bigger than Bigger Announcements

September 10, 2014 Computers

After several months of anticipation and speculation, the day of Apple’s “bigger than bigger” announcements has finally come.  During these months of suspense, many predictions surfaced discussing what consumers might expect from the company.  (To view our said predictions visit our blogs on iOS 8 and the Apple iPhone 6 event.)  So what exactly can we expect […]

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Sony Smart EyeGlass

September 9, 2014 Products and Devices

Sony is challenging Google Glass with its current prototype of Sony Smart EyeGlass.  Sony’s new smart specs are comparable to Google Glass in several ways, but are much more obtrusive appearing like a pair of unwieldy 3D glasses. The Sony Smart EyeGlass acts like a secondary screen for an Android smartphone, connecting via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.  Once paired, the glasses will […]

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Tech Tip: Livescribe 3 Smartpen

September 8, 2014 Tech Tips

Turn your words into action with this week’s tech tip.  Assistive technology specialist Craig Burns demonstrates the Livescribe 3 smartpen.  This pen writes like a premium ballpoint pen, but pairs with your iOS device making your notes available anywhere you go.  Check it out!

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ATU171 – Assistive Technology: USA vs AUS (Wendy Stevens from Lifetec in Australia), Free Assistive Technology Webinars, Web a11y Survey Results, AFB’s Family Connect, Mobile Accessibility Checklist

September 5, 2014 Assistive Technology Update

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Show notes: Wendy Stephens, Services Manager, Lifetech in Queensland, Brisbane, Australia Comcast’s Internet Essentials program: […]

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Control your home with Reemo

September 4, 2014 Products and Devices

Wearable tech and smart home technology are beginning to merge as is demonstrated with the forthcoming Reemo wristband.  At first glance, Reemo may not appear to be anything special with its flat, rubbery bracelet design comparable to current wearable gadgets on the market.  However, Reemo is dissimilar from devices like the Jawbone Up24 or Fitbit Flex as it […]

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