Lightweight Folding Power Wheelchair Arena

USA wins Gold at the Invictus Games for Wheelchair Rugby

Orlando, FL. -- The US Wheelchair Rugby team completely dominated the Invictus Games, taking home the gold medal on Wednesday night.  They handed Denmark their silver medal with a 28-19 victory.  The US team also brutally defeated Australia in the semis with a Invictus Games scoring record of 36-15.  Some video footage of the final against Denmark is below. You can see how the US team makes scoring seem effortless. 

It's good to see that even celebrities got involved in the Invictus Games.  John Cena was one of the couches for the wheelchair rugby team, sponsored by Land Rover and Jaguar. Derek Hough was also there to lend a hand.  Check out their interview by ABC News below. 

 
Even Vice President Joe Biden and of course Prince Harry, the founder of the Invictus Games, were apart of the event.  Prince Harry presented the UK players with their silver medals, and also greeted the third place team Denmark and the US winners, who received their medals from Dr Jill Biden, wife of the US vice president Joe Biden.

Joe Biden with Prince Harry during the wheelchair rugby gold medal match (Stephen M Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/AP)

Most of us will never know the full horrors of combat. Many Servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, visible or otherwise, whilst serving their country. How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries?

How can they be recognized for their achievements and not given sympathy? Prince Harry asked these questions. On a trip to the Warrior Games in the USA in 2013 he saw how the power of sport could help physically, psychologically and socially. His mind was made up. London would host the inaugural Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel.  And the Invictus Games were created. 

UberWAV has expanded to London

UberWAV

UberWAV allows riders with relevant disabilities to request wheelchair accessible vehicles. When riders select the UberWAV option, they're connected with vehicles equipped with ramps or lifts.  UberWAV is expanding on the city’s and state’s efforts by connecting riders with wheelchair accessible vehicles directly through the Uber app. For the first time, riders requiring a wheelchair accessible vehicle now have access to reliable, on-demand transportation.  

Uber has just announced that it will be expanding is UberWAV services to London, UK.  It will give disabled customers the power to call a car that features a rear-entry ramp, winch and restraints.  UberWAV, operates in more than 10 US cities including Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington. Toronto and Sydney are also covered. UberWAV carries the same cost UberX, and can now be booked across Greater London.  Uber says that UberWAV drivers will have "received Disability Equality Training from Transport for All, and Inclusion London."  Uber has said that it is launching the service with 55 vehicles, and plans to expand to have more than 100 vehicles in the coming months.  While Uber has pledged to keep waiting times to a minimum, average wait times in the service's first few weeks are expected to be around 25 to 40 minutes. 

Power Wheelchair

Google.org awarded $20 Million to Better the World for the Disabled

Google.org recenlty awarded 29 nonprofits to build transformative technologies for the disabled.  Google.org is the philanthropy division of Google that has just set out to help the 15% of the world's population with disabilities. That's 1 out of every 7 people, and 50% of the disabled people can't afford healthcare. 

Here is the list of the 29 nonprofits and a little information about what they do:

 e-Nable is a global community of volunteers that designs and creates 3D printed prosthetics.

• World Wide Hearing is developing an inexpensive tool for health workers anywhere to screen for hearing loss.

• Mission Arm | exiii are working together to make affordable prosthetics accessible for everyone.

• Royal National Institute for Blind People | Smart Glasses is developing smart glasses to help people with sight loss regain their independence and confidence.

• J’accede is building a community of advocates to map accessible locations around the world using a mobile app.

• Wheelmap is creating a global dataset of accessible locations for people with disabilities.

• My Human Kit is launching an online platform to connect people in need of prosthetics to low-cost, open-source 3D printed models.

• The Arc is building a search and recommendation tool to help people with cognitive disabilities find the right technology to reach their goals.

• Motivation is testing customizable postural support designs to provide better fitting wheelchairs to users around the world.

• Royal London Society for Blind People / Wayfindr is developing technology that delivers audio-based directions to users’ smartphones, providing a more independent lifestyle to the visually impaired.

• The Center for Discovery is developing an open-source power add on to quickly convert any manual wheelchair into a power chair.

• UCP Wheels for Humanity is collecting data on wheelchair usage in developing countries to ensure everyone has access to the chair that best suits their needs.

• Ezer Mizion | Click2Speak are piloting an onscreen keyboard to help people with low mobility and high cognitive function better communicate.

• DAISY Consortium is developing a suite of industry-standard accessibility tools for publishers to ensure that every book is accessible to people with disabilities when printed.

 Benetech is scaling access to their library and content conversion process to make more books accessible to the visually impaired.

• Dan Marino Foundation is developing software that uses interactive avatars to help young people with autism train for job interviews.

• Miraclefeet is augmenting clubfoot treatment by providing monitoring, engagement, and training software to keep providers and patients on track.

• Perkins School for the Blind is using crowdsourced data from sighted individuals to develop technology that helps the visually impaired to navigate the gap between GPS and the real world.

 Inclusion without Borders | Livox’s nonprofit arm is helping people with limited speech ability participate in conversation more fully by making assistive communication technology more intuitive and responsive.

• Beit Issie Shapiro | TOM are creating a template for “Makeathon-in-a-box,” which connects makers with people with disabilities to develop new accessibility solutions.

• Neil Squire Society is developing a mouth-operated controller that will allow individuals with limited use of their arms to interact with a mobile device.

 TDI is developing software to make live captioning services more affordable and more available for the deaf and hard of hearing.

• ProPortion is developing and distributing a device that quickly and easily produces high-quality prosthetic sockets in developing countries.

• Leprosy Mission Trust India is producing 3D-printed custom footwear that allows people with leprosy to maintain the ability to walk.

• Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust is working to bring comfortable, easy-to-produce prosthetic sockets to rural areas of India using 3D scanning and printing.

• Nia Technologies is training prosthetic technicians to use 3D scanning and printing to produce prosthetic sockets more quickly.

 APAE Brasil is developing an SMS messaging system to support families who have children with developmental disabilities.

• Beit Issie Shapiro | Sesame are partnering to pilot a solution that allows people with limited mobility to operate smartphones by moving their head.

• Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled | University of Washington are creating a platform that tracks data about the supply and distribution of assistive technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa to expose gaps in availability and spur further adoption.

The programs fall into one of five categories of disabilities. They are mobility, education, communication, independence, and employment.  The average amount they'll each receive is $750,000, with six of the grant winners getting more than $1 million.  $20 million dollars is probably a drop in the bucket for Google, but it's not always the amount you spend, its how you spend it.  We hope that all these projects succeed and make the lives of people in need a little better.  

Layer's 3D Printed Wheelchair Design

Layer Go Wheelchair

Layer is the evolution of leading design agency Benjamin Hubert Ltd.  It is set to launch the world's first 3D printed consumer wheelchair during Clerkenwell Design Week at Clerkenwell-London on the 24th of May.  Layer has partnered with well known global brands such as Aesop, BMW, Braun, Cappellini, Herman Miller, Nike, Samsung, Panasonic, Oral-B, and Fritz Hansen to forge engaging, high-performance products that push the boundaries of possibility.  It can take up to 8 weeks to make a custom wheelchair, but Layer says they can do it in about two weeks.  The GO wheelchair prototype is the first project under Layer's new research division, LayerLAB, and has been created in collaboration with Materialise, world leaders in 3D-printed software and solutions. LayerLAB is a new inhouse division of Layer that facilitates experimentation and research into the future of physical and digital products.

The company has just made a prototype 3D-printed wheelchair, and it is designed to be more comfortable for its users.  The comfort comes from taking the user’s measurements and building a custom seat.  Materialise and Layer have been working on this wheelchair for the past six months, consulting with the patients and doctors to help create a wheelchair perfectly sculpted to suit the user’s body.

Specifically, there are 2 custom made pieces, the seat and the foot bay, which are built to accurately fit the user's body shape, weight and their disability.  The company maps the user's biometric information, ensuring that each chair is a good fit. The seat is printed from a semi-transparent resin combined with thermoplastic polyurethane for elasticity. Its exact placement is also adjusted based on the body mapping data, ensuring that the center of gravity is correct.  The geometry of the 3D-printed foot bay, which is constructed from titanium, is built to fit the user's leg length, sitting position and foot shape, and features an anti-slip finish.  The frame of the chair is built from titanium, with a simple design that cuts down the number of struts to a minimum, lowering the visual weight of the chair. The wheels are also lightweight, with carbon fiber spokes and molded push grip rims. The company will also make gloves designed specifically for the chair, featuring a surface that's designed to easily lock in to the push-grip rims, making it easier for users to self-propel.  Color selection and optional extras (transfer bars, push bars and wheel guards) are selected via an app designed by the company, through which the final order is placed.

There's no word yet on exactly how much the GO wheelchair will cost, or when the first units will ship. Expect to hear more when the product is launched later this month at the Clerkenwell Design Week in London.

WHILL Model A in Batman VS Superman

Batman VS Superman

Spoiler Alert!  If you're planning on watching the Batman vs. Superman Movie, Don't Read This Yet!

We're fans of the WHILL model A, here at EZ Lite Cruiser. We even wrote about their mobility aid a few months back.  We were pleasantly surprised to see it have some what of a significant role in the blockbuster film, Batman VS Superman. You can hardly see it in the picture above, but this is all we able to use at this point in the movie’s release. You can clearly see the tops of the armrests on the chair.  You see a clear shot of it when it is gifted to Bruce Wayne's employee, Wallace Keefe (played by Scoot McNairy) by Alexander Luthor Jr (played by Jesse Eisenberg).  Wallace Keefe is the Wayne Enterprises employee who wrote "You let your family die" and sent it to Bruce Wayne seen in the movie's trailers. 

Batman VS Superman

The critics have taken Batman VS Superman to the woodshed.  Its hard to find decent reviews and a lot of the scathing reviews are down right exaggerated.  We find it suspect that critics rate this movie a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes while the Audience score sits around 70%.  IMBD also rates it at a 7.2 out of 10.  The movie has grossed over $867 million world wide.  That is an astounding achievement but its being overshadowed by all the negative reviews.  Maybe it's all a marketing stunt to pull in the die hard fans BACK into the theaters for its R rated director's cut

Batman VS Superman

We are excited that WHILL was in a major block buster movie and we hope to see it again on the big screens. Till then, the EZ Lite Cruiser will soon be on one of the longest-running scripted television programs in the world.  More developments on this to come, stay tuned!