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new photos on Flickr
fun and frolicking over the summer festivals mainly…
and meeting Raymond Blanc, what a legend!
A response to a question about power wheelchair control using the head.
I’ve got a permobil M400 (mid- wheel drive), and a Permobil head array control.
My main qualm with head arrays is that it’s discreet/switch–based rather than continuous/proportional control. This results in relatively jerky steering and a less-than-intuitive driving experience.
The high-end power wheelchair market has opened up a lot over the last 5 years, companies like quantum, etac and permobil are no longer the only suppliers. I’ve noticed that my wheelchair service is now supplying a pretty decent power chair for people that want it and I know there are some German and Swiss companies looking to get in to the UK market with really decent products.
The thing that really excites me is the GyroSet and I just got my hands on one (metaphorically) to test which I’m using to control the laptop mouse pointer, it is manufactured and sold by Now technologies: http://nowtech.hu/
They now have production wheelchair controls which allows you to control the chair just from slight head movements, check out some of the demo videos on the website.
I really like them, they seems to have dedicated a lot of their time in making something that “just works” and can be configured to be controlled by the slightest of movement (head or fingers, with different devices). They have had to overcome some challenges getting into the UK market but have proven themselves to be very resourceful, developing interfaces to common wheelchair control systems.
If I was buying a chair now I would seriously consider getting one with a proportional control system for better driving experience, if you are a new wheelchair user, it’s probably the thing that will most affect your standard of living going forward. As I said I’m using one of the headsets for mouse control and its astounding. Looking forward to getting one installed to control the chair.
Here is a short list of benefits compared to what I’ve tried previously (EyeGaze/head pointer/camera mouse/integramouse):
– zero config, “just works”
– improved accuracy
– flexibility and portability, can drive around my chair, come back to the computer and carry on, can use at home work and in the car with no reconfiguration
– works outside, unlike infrared dependent solutions, is not affected by ambient light sources (e.g. sun)
Although it sounds a bit like a pitch, I’m not affiliated with the company I’m just genuinely excited by finding a functional and practical solution for proportional wheelchair control after 8 years.
As far as I know it’s a small team but the main contact is Mark: Mark Istvan firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a lovely bloke who will come and give demos on request, they have chairs for testing in Stoke Mandeville. I think Ruth Peachment is in charge of them.
Getting back to wheelchairs, warranty is important, if I was buying again now I think I’d about going with a wheelchair service chair just because warranty is covered by them. Running out of warranty on a private purchase can get expensive.
Rave review of the play my wonderful wife designed and put on in Brooklyn
I’ve had a niggling but not severe chest infection for a little while and here’s what I think on the matter and advice for others in similar situations:
it only really been minor but it’s been dragging on for the last month or so, hasn’t been that bad and I’m still going to work. started as a viral infection and now bacterial with a low-grade fever.
I have an assisted cough machine (clearway) from the Oxford respiratory medicine team, I also have a sleep apnoea machine during the night which helps with breathing deeply, most important thing is for the carers to have someone to learn how to do proper assisted coughs from (Ellen in my case). It’s very strange but people don’t really know how to do it properly, so best is probably for someone close to learn properly from a respiratory physio and then you can pass it on by doing it with people (two at a time as best for me, one person pushing on each side of the chest). It has to be gauged properly so you have to do hard enough but not too hard.
Absolute care must be taken to not aspirate if one has a tendency. I do a fair amount of inhalations with menthol or Olbas oil, this helps get secretions up.
Keeping chest warm at all times with extra layers on the chest, thermal vests, extra vests, sleeveless jackets etc. vitamin C (although my GP is not convinced!) seems to help. Antibiotics when necessary but not all the time, always follow a full course, don’t take half courses.
Hope this may be of use
don’t usually pay much attention to spinal research but this one piqued my interest (thanks John):
enjoying mentoring and trying to help with assistive technology.
recently asked a question regarding assistive IT for someone with a C2 spinal injury (phone specifically) and gave the following response:
“I’m using a Plantronics Voyager HD pro which has good noise cancellation. There are a lot of good Bluetooth headsets and as long as you’re not buying the cheapest that should be fine, I find one of the most important things is comfort as I wear it for long periods. I haven’t really used the voice commands as much as maybe I could, I’m very reliant on voice control software and spend a large proportion of the day on my laptop. Getting auto answer workingwas very useful for me, this is trivial on an android phone but with my iPhone\ I had to jailbreak and get an application called CallController off (free) Cydia (unofficial app store). Obviously there are pros and cons of auto answer in terms of privacy.
In terms of phone control I’ve tried Pererro sold by RSL Steeper, iPortal (which unfortunately works with one type of wheelchair control system) and the Tapio (my current favourite). They generally offer a switch interface which enables scanning through objects on the screen, other options such as a sliding coordinate target can also be useful.
I have a bespoke system of VNC server on my iPhone\ and USB tunnel/VNC viewer/voice recognition coordinate macros which I have made open source (www.github.com/whIzz2000) but is not particular straightforward to setup (and also requires jailbroken iPhone).
I’ve tried a vast number of access IT devices including eyegaze, headpointer, gyroset and all have their merits and can be good in a specific situation, for me portability is probably one of the top priorities and to be able to have a reliable system I can take anywhere without hassle has meant I use voice recognition most of the time. I’ve actually tried the Occular rift headset today and gyroscopic/gesture/voice integrated devices will definitely be big and very useful in the near future. I really like the look of the gyroset created by our Hungarian friends.”
enjoying the new job at Intel in Swindon, exciting product to work on and lots to learn
my brother just married and is expecting the baby tomorrow, look forward to a trip to Thailand in March to see her (Sophia)
looking forward to the rugby at Twickenham on the weekend, supporting Wales of course
torn between “Dave Matthews band” and the backup ball, and it’s going to have to be the backup ball because you can’t miss that if you’re in your right mind, anyone who fancies Dave Matthews band and is or has a friend in a wheelchair please give me a shout
created website for beautiful accessible and homely holiday rental in Scotland, get in touch if interested
love to all
Posted by: Tom in: news
awesome gig and pleased to see @SleafordMods perform
bit weird raving at midday
wow what a summer, amazing festival music with friends.
Isle of Wight Festival, highlights included Fleetwood Mac
Italy trip for the cousins wedding including wonderful time on boats and snorkelling and paddle boarding, so great to get back into the water and see some sealife! thanks again to everyone involved.
Paleo Festival annual pilgrimage/anniversary, highlights including Chinese man, Robbie Williams!, caravan Palace, Modselektor, Thylacine. Great to have some Switzerland family time and catch up with friends (esp. the amazing Ernsts). Thanks to Tom for the drive in the Jag up into the Jura! Thanks again to Gillian and Dad for the amazing hospitality.
Wilderness Festival in cornbury Park what an incredible setting, highlights including Opera in the estate grounds, Nils Frahm, Bjork, Tom Middleton and Ben Howard.
Green man Festival in Wales in another incredible setting with lovely friends from Cardiff/London down for Lockies birthday surprise. Seriously good music selection, with highlights including Jamiexx, leftfield, music of William Oneyabor, Disrali and the young gods, Hotchip, Sylvan Esso, Syd Arthur, 2 bears, super furry animals, loyle carner, Matthew E white, Courtney Barnett, public service broadcasting. and what a well choreographed firework display!
Southwest 4 dance weekend festival in Clapham common, easily the best dance lineup in London of the whole year! so many good DJs playing hard to choose. Highlights including Paul Oakenfold, Faithless, Gaia, Deetron, Andy C, Carl Cox vs Loco Dice, Eric Prdz, Manu le tough, J Digweed … lovely time with Lucy, Raj, Ellen, Lousia, Eric, Simon & James.
Thanks to everyone who came to my birthday party, was a great weekend. Sad to see James and Jana move out from our house to go to Czech but wish them the best with their new endeavours x
We are spoilt to have such luxuries and brilliant friends!
Now to buckle down to the new and exciting job working with parallel file systems running on supercomputers…
love to all
Another brilliant holiday in Levanto, Liguria – Cinque Terre, Italy. First part of it was spent celebrating the wedding of our cousin Blythe to the amazing Cody, both bringing troops all the way over from the US. Levanto has just about recovered!
On the way we stopped off to visit my dad and family, all on good form and enjoyed visits to Lake Geneva and catching up.
When we got to Italy it was straight into celebration mode, it was quite a wedding celebration with almost a weeks worth of excursions and events, great to meet both sides of the family and bask in the warmth radiated.
We were again accommodated at the fantastic and luxurious A Durmi , the wonderful family business and perfect hosts; Chiara, Elisa, Gianni and Graziella.
All of us Nabarro children apart from Josephine were together for a couple of days when Lucas and David arrived which was a treat.
Then afterwards we were joined by family friends the Churcher Clarkes for the remainder of the holiday which is when I started getting in the sea. One of the beaches had a specialist wheelchair for getting in the water so with help of friends we managed to get in and out floating on my back and front and being dragged around the water. On one of the subsequent days I was taken on a paddle board (which people use to stand on a little bit like a punt) in an ingenious manner strapped to a low fold up canvas chair and we paddled out to an idyllic cove in a group. Then I had a go at snorkelling with a fullface mask which was a great success and was pulled along by the feet. It was great to be looking under the water again for a prolonged period, it’s been a long while. On the last day we had a real treat and were taken on a boat out along the coast stopping at various places of interest, I was lifted in on a manual chair to sit under the canvas shade over the boat and along the way lifted into the water off the side of the boat by a great team of well-organised “Levantese”. Afterwards they lifted me back in out of the water in an extremely impressive and well-organised manner, led by the captain Marco.
This will be remembered for a long time, it was a special experience and great to get back to the water. I am so grateful to the team who enabled me and encourage me to do it including Alejandro, Ivano, Didi, Rudy, Alessio, Marco, Gabbo (by proxy) and of course Chiara. https://www.facebook.com/www.deepinsidesurfshop.it
Posted by: Tom in: news
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Bound for Switzerland then Italy for Blythe & Cody’s wedding! Then out to Ibiza 15-19 July and back to #PaleoFestival
Feeling bit shattered but was so great to hangout with friends @ Lucy’s housewarming and catchup & celebrate @ Guy & Anna’s wedding. what a lovely couple.
Posted by: Tom in: news
Thoroughly enjoyed the Fleetwood Mac experience last Sunday, performance was absolutely phenomenal, “living” the music with drums bass and guitar playing as one. brilliant vocals and synth/keys from Caroline and sullen, magical stage presence and voice from the one and only Stevie Nix. Makes me proud to be related. Also enjoyed a bit of a rave with @SandyRivera on the #FunctionOne sound system and a good nostalgic performance from @Ash.
Party, wedding and then Switzerland/Italy trip coming up at the end of the week, can’t wait. warm wishes to all.
Off to Brighton for a hopefully sunny time on the beach, then looking forward to June and time in Italy with family and friends for a spectacular wedding of our much loved cousins from across the pond. July will involve partying in Ibiza and a festival in Switzerland (PALEO)! How lucky we are
After attempting to apply for a charity bike ride in Cuba to raise money for the Regain sports charity I was notified that it wouldn’t be possible as
it would be too “difficult” for me. Edit: it has been communicated to me that the reason was in fact due to overcapacity rather than “difficulty” which is of course a different matter.
I am keen to encourage tetraplegics to push boundaries and participate in events that push the boundaries of what’s physically possible, it challenges damaging attitudes which set and encourage low expectations of those with disabilities, this needs to be changed as it sets a limit on what people strive to achieve themselves.
@SkettyProductions watched an insightful play about the pressures young footballers go through to try to get a football contract called Result @PleasanceTheatre last week.
Spent the weekend in Scotland revitalising the father-in-law’s house, brilliant views of @SweetheartAbbey in Dumfries. #WestMaryfieldHolidays