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Powered wheelchair adaption

  • Ian D Midgley
  • Shelved

Tim Round of the Berkshire panel would like to ask the following:-

We have a client who is seeking a gadget that will allow his daughter (who uses a powered wheelchair for mobility and is learning to drive a twin-joystick controlled car) to acknowledge other road users on the narrow roads, when someone pulls over to let her pass.  She is currently waved at out of politeness by others and cannot reciprocate.

He envisages an electrically operated ‘hand’ that is dashboard mounted, 12v with a remote control similar to the 11-stage knee operated button she uses to control many of the car’s functions.

Have we any experience of such a challenge?

You can probably appreciate I am nervous about making any mods/additions to her specialized vehicle.

Please contact Tim on 01344 776237 or or leave a comment below.




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3 responses to “Powered wheelchair adaption”

  1. Tim Round says:

    Thanks Harry, I had a similar thought, although I believe this young lady already has control of all the basic car functions, including light flashing, through a knee-operated multi-function switch.

    The problem is that her father doesn’t consider any of these adequate, and wants something that simulates a hand wave, which is visible from both the front and side of her car.
    I am very anxious that such a contraption may –
    a/ restrict the view of the driver
    b/ give ambiguous signals to the oncoming driver/pedestrian
    c/ create an unnecessary additional driver function, for someone who already “has her hands full”!

    I have also received an excellent low cost idea as follows:
    The MMI doesn’t need to be complicated because it doesn’t need to be fail-safe. It won’t matter if it goes off when unintended, or fails to go off, from time to time, when intended. Voice-activated? – for example, using a “tv remote/key locator, which responds to a whistle, as the trigger?

    I’d be tempted to consider a spaghetti box, or other opaque plastic box, as the “display”. An inverse painted black, “THANK YOU “, message on OHP film, rolled and placed inside combined with a few ultra bright small LEDS should be all that is needed. It may not even need a suction mount
    – some velcro or a bit of double sided foam tape would do.

    The electronics is trivial – a zener and resistor to drop the 12v to the ~3v that the “locator” needs, a diode plus capacitor to take the signal across its “speaker” and turn it into a trigger. A single transistor driver to turn the trigger signal into a constant current LED drive..

    When I’ve assimilated all the responses, I’ll review with our local panel and decide the best way forward.

  2. Peter Parry says:

    From Alan Hart

    Hi Tim,

    Rather than take the way of the Queens regal wave, why not get a trigger switch such as they have on electric drills or a push button switch that operate the flash on the main beam? Perhaps some way of attaching it to one of the cars dual joy sticks would suit. Rather like the thumb or trigger finger joy stick triggers that fire guns used in playing games on the PC

    I don’t know your clients condition but if the joy stick is not convenient, then perhaps a foot operated or knee operated switch would do.

    Alan Hart
    IOW Panel

  3. Harry Davis says:

    How about a digital display on the dashboard similar to that used in the rear window of police cars (that usually say ‘follow me’ or ‘pulllover’) which could just flash ‘thank you’?

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