A Canadian firm has just struck a blow for independent living by creating an assistive device that can be discretely fitted to a wheelchair and connect with a range of electronic devices. This seemingly simple move is opening up a whole world of opportunities for many people with disabilities. Consider the following…
You’re meeting friends for lunch. You’re on your way but the taxi is stuck in traffic, the bus has broken down, and now you’re running late. You go to send a quick text to let the gang know you’re on your way, but how do you send a text?
You use a wheelchair and also have virtually no upper body mobility. How do you physically hold the phone and type on it?
Different example: you’re too hot and want to turn down the thermostat at home. How? You use a wheelchair and cannot raise your arms more than a few inches. The thermostat has very unhelpfully been fitted quite high up on the wall. How to you reach it to turn the temperature down?
Common problems for many a wheelchair user if their upper body mobility is also affected. Tecla-e, as it’s known, is a small square box that connects remotely to smartphones, iOS and tablets. Using the Internet of Things, it can also connect with things like TVs, Thermostats, computers and more besides. Once connected, you can control any phone/TV/tablet/etc using your wheelchair controls and never need to lay a finger on any other device.
“[Tecla-e] works with all assistive switches on the market” says their website “including buttons, sip-and-puff controllers, head arrays, joysticks and the driving controls of a wheelchair.”
Founders of Tecla, Mauricio Meza and Jorge Silva, have both worked in the field of assistive technology for a combined total of 22 years, coming to understand and feel the needs and barriers faced by people with disabilities.
“Tecla is for anyone who can’t easily use a smartphone, tablet or computer” they go on to say. This includes those with limited upper-body mobility resulting from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, or stroke.”
Find out more about how it works and impacts the lives of its users by watching this short clip…
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