An innovative mobility device incorporating a raft of smart technologies has been unveiled in the US, enabling powerchairs to analyse & safely navigate environments, as well as providing advanced levels of connectivity and protection.
Called LUCI, a new product from a Nashville-based startup with the same name, the device is described as a “first-of-its-kind hardware and software platform that uses sensor-fusion technologies to allow a power wheelchair to “see” its environment, giving riders unprecedented stability, security and cloud connectivity.”
The incorporation of smart technology into powerchairs is by no means a new invention, however, the company hopes that its attachable system that can be retrofitted to leading powered wheelchairs and boasts a wide array of technologies will be a gamechanger in the market.
According to the company, its LUCI device mounts onto a power wheelchair between the power base and the seat, to help users avoid collisions and dangerous drop-offs while maintaining personalized driving control.
Also, through its cloud-based capabilities, LUCI can also monitor and alert users and caregivers of low battery, possible tipping scenarios, and other important updates regarding the chair and the user.
The invention is the brainchild of Grammy-nominated songwriter Barry Dean, LUCI’s Founder and CEO, whose 19-year-old daughter Katherine has cerebral palsy and has used a wheelchair her entire life.
“Wheelchair users were left behind when it comes to most innovative technology,” explained Barry.
“We realised no one else was working on this problem in a meaningful way so my brother Jered (Dean, CTO of LUCI) and I set out to create a solution for Katherine. What started as a labour of love among family members has ultimately created a safer, more stable way for people with disabilities to navigate their world and stay connected to loved ones.”
The LUCI team spent the past two and half years collaborating with clinical professionals and logging over 25,000 hours of user testing to develop its unique mobility system, with its commitment to R&D resulting in a total of 16 patents – eight currently pending.
The company has verified that LUCI works with a wide range of Permobil powerchairs at the moment and says it is currently working on making it compatible for Quantum Rehab’s leading range of chairs, including its new Edge 3 Stretto.
Available to purchase in the US for $8,445 MSRP (£6,729), the company told THIIS that once it has established its distribution network domestically, it plans to bring its invention overseas.