Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 3

This week, I am going to narrow down the problems to those the elderly wheelchair users face. There are certain disadvantages the wheelchair users have that normal people take for granted, this also applies to those who use walking aids too as their injuries do not completely hinder them from walking like those who are wheelchair bound. Like the previous post I will be listing five problems and five solutions to match it, one problem and solution will be listed into three topics: Knee and leg pains(the main topic), Blurred eyesight and Weak hand and arms
Knee and leg pains
- A problem that most wheel chair bound people is that they will find it hard to move up steps as they are riding on wheels and they would have to lift their body weight and the wheelchair's weight in order for them to tilt the chair to move up just one step. If it is comparatively hard to move up just one step, it would be near impossible to go up one flight of stairs without assistance.
- The problem has been solved by a company, they made a product called the IBOT 4000. It has been approved by the FDA(the Food and Drug Administration). It is able to go up or down a flight of stairs whether with assistance or not. There are two sets of drive wheels that rotate up and over each other and help the user go up the stairs. It is an automatic wheelchair in a sense that it is controlled using robotics and not through pushing the wheels like those of a conventional wheelchair.

Blurred eyesight
-One problem that most wheelchair bound and partially blind people face is that they will find it hard to navigate, as a stick could not be used to sense what is around them when both hands are occupied rolling the chair, thus coupling both wheelchair and blindness is a bad combination.
-There are not that many solutions to this but the most obvious one would be having a helper to help guide the handicapped person around and have that person navigate the handicapped person around. This may not be the best solution as it will give the handicapped person a feeling that he or she has to depend on others to get by.
Weak hand and arms
-Another problem is that wheel chair bound people have a certain restriction on how high the person can reach. The limit is much lower than that of a normal person as the wheelchair bound people have to sit all the time.
-This problem can also be solved by the IBOT 400 as well. As mentioned before, the IBOT 400 has four wheels. It can change into a mode where two wheels are used to support the whole wheel chair while the other two are lifted so that the user can reach things that are higher than they can reach on conventional wheel chairs.

By Turning Point Productions. Title: Think! A wheelchair user's daily struggle

video url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cB0PI3lsYGk

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