I'm new to the forum! My name is Joe and I'm an engineering student at Oxford University. This year I am working with three of my colleagues to design a semi-autonomous electric wheelchair for use by people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or Parkinson's disease. In the project we will be taking an existing electric wheelchair and looking to build onto it a system which will aid the user with going about their daily lives. To give you an idea, we are currently looking at how the wheelchair can be controlled during an onset of tremors, or other debilitating symptoms, but the scope for what we can do is quite broad.
Although within the group we have experience of working with people with disabilities, none of us have first hand knowledge of the diseases, the symptoms, or the effects they have on people's lives. The reason I have come to this forum is to ask for your help and valuable knowledge to develop our project.
We are specifically looking at an age group of between 20 and 50 years of age, and those who use or have used electric wheelchairs. Although we would welcome input from everybody. I ask you to get in touch and tell us about your experiences of using the wheelchairs: positives, negatives, ways you feel they could be improved. We would also like to know about how these diseases affect everyday life, to build a picture of the needs and requirements of the user. Obviously these experiences vary a lot between each person, but having done some research we will look to narrow this down to some key issues and perhaps focus on case studies of a few people.
I must stress this is a research project, and there is no commercial aspect to it. For this year the project is purely theoretical, however should we come up with something good we may well continue the development next year as this is a subject we all feel passionate about.
Feel free to comment on the forum, or you can contact me via email if you prefer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your help in advance, your time is much appreciated. Joe