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Caregiver invents omni-directional wheelchair

Shared by Ana Duarte on 2017-05-17 16:07

About the solution

The wheelchair is equipped with a rotating seat and can move in any direction hands-free, enabling dancers and others with disabilities to move more freely. 

“To command the device, a user straps on a portable, wireless control — in this case, a cell phone — to a mobile part of her body, say the head or the upper back. When she leans in a desired direction, the phone detects the movement and instructs the chair to follow suit”, the inventor explained.

Merry worked on the device for over a decade, having patented her innovation.

According to the choreographer, she was driven to built this device by two distinct reasons:

“One motivation was my experience as a caregiver to my father for many years (21 total). He was disabled from a traumatic car accident leaving him with permanent brain damage, a seizure disorder and significant issues of paralysis. The second motivation comes from my work as a choreographer and teacher with individuals with disabilities. In working with many individuals in wheelchairs, I began to conceive of other design ideas for the chair which might be more conducive for dance experience and enable additional interactive movement and expressive possibilities”.

Merry began by working with Segways, and looking for ways in which seats could possibly be mounted to the Segway, and she had her first prototype done in 2007.

The inventor intents to keep refining her invention, and has companies interested in the chair, whom she is negotiating with in order to commercialize the product.

More info: http://rdc.arts.usf.edu

Adapted from: http://bit.ly/2pL44tz
https://youtu.be/E1vFKt2POZ0

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Merry Lynn Morris, from USA, is a choreographer and faculty member in the School of Dance and Theater at the University of Southern Florida. She developed, in 2005, the Rolling Dance Wheelchair, an omni-directional and hands-free power wheelchair. Merry was inspired by her father, who became paralyzed after a car accident, and also by her disabled students.

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