Using the Internet of Things to Create a New Wheelchair Concept

We are quickly becoming connected to almost everything we own.  Pretty soon, you will be able to access everything from your toaster to your wheelchair van, all by touching a single button on your phone. With the onset of smartphone technology, mobile applications and cloud computing, we now have the ability to access substantial amounts of data recorded by the things we use, and it is vastly improving our quality of life.

Thanks to AT&T and Permobil, we will soon be able to do the same with our wheelchairs.

A Wheelchair Design for the 21st Century

Telecommunications giant AT&T has just announced a partnership with Permobil, the Swedish wheelchair manufacturer. Together, the companies have developed a groundbreaking wheelchair design that will use internet technology to record and make available data to its users. The companies hope that the data collected will improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Using ideas derived from the Internet of Things, the new technology will monitor certain aspects of the user’s power wheelchair, collecting data and making it available through cloud-based technology.

A Virtual Internet of Things

For those who are unfamiliar with the Internet of Things, it is a technology that promotes internet connectivity to everyday items, in this case, a person’s wheelchair. By recording key metrics of the wheelchair’s use, companies can better tailor their technology to fulfil the user’s unique needs.

What Sort of Information Does it Collect?

According to AT&T and Permobil, the wheelchair technology will record and make available multiple aspects of the wheelchair including seating position, cushion pressure, battery level, maintenance requirements, GPS location and more.

The technology and information recorded can be put to use in a variety of ways. By measuring seat positioning and cushion pressure, the user can be notified when adjustments need to be made, reducing the risk of fatal pressure ulcers.

Users will also be able to track maintenance needs and prevent their chairs from missing much needed appointments. Dealer will also be able to remotely access chairs and conduct diagnostic measures to see what is wrong with a wheelchair without ever seeing it firsthand.

Finally, GPS technology will allow users to track their chair if it is lost or stolen. Parents will also be able to easily locate their children in the event of an emergency.

AT&T says that the chair will be used to solve real world problems that can often affect the lives of wheelchair users.

What do you think of the idea of an internet-connected wheelchair? Let us know in the comments below.

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