Virtual Reality brings wheelchair skills into the 21st century

Published on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:08

A signficant challenge that users and therapists face whenever a new chair is delivered is developing a way for the user to train themselves with their new chair in a safe way. Obviously the client shouldn't be forced into a situation where they might hurt themselves, but by the same token, they will likely face scenarios while out and about in their chair, which they will need to know how to cope with safely, particularly if they are fulltime chair users. A team in the USA have developed a 21st century response to this issue - virtual reality.

A wheelchair user will sit in a wheelchair on a specially designed set of rollers while wearing a virtual reality headset. This system will emulate what pushing around an environment will feel like, and will throw up some of the challenges chair users face on a daily basis, whether that's a curb on the street, a steep hill, or pedestrians and cars, all in a setting where the user and therapists can feel safe that they won't do any real harm to themselves or others.

The technology is still in the early stages of development, but in the future, may be a viable option to produce confident and happy wheelchair users.

To see more, watch this short video -