Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Innovation of the iWheelchair

Technology has come a long way in helping people with disabilities.  However, the most recent invention is a real advancement for those who have trouble or cannot walk.  The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has created the iWheelchair.  This wheelchair is equipped with a tablet, in which the user can enforce a demand.  This tablet on this wheelchair can connect to several different electronic devices in a person’s home.  There is also an electronic switch, which can be used for those that have problems with their hands.  The wheelchair also monitors the person’s health and allows them to send emails if they are in need.

The iWheelchair can really help those who struggle to walk.  It provides them the ability to be able to use this wheelchair for a variety of different things and it makes it more convenient for them rather than needing assistance from someone else.  Also, the wheelchair allows the user to communicate with their family if they are in need.  The user doesn’t need to keep track of where their cell phone is.  They can just send an email or alert if they are in need.  In addition, since the wheelchair is able to monitor a person’s health, it is easier to see how someone is doing on a day to day basis.  This wheelchair has many features that is very accommodating to its user and their loved ones.  The iWheelchair allows the person using the wheelchair to live their own life and it takes some of the burden off of their loved ones.

Although this wheelchair is very beneficial to its users and society, I think that the article overlooked a few things.  First of all, if the tablet were to break down or shut down, there would be no way for the user to enforce basic functions on the wheelchair, let alone complex ones.  The user would be stuck and would have no way to call for help unless they have a phone on them.  In addition, if someone were to hack into the tablet, they could send faulty emails and scare the family of the user of the wheelchair.  There may be unnecessary emails or emails that don’t apply to the user or their family.  One other thing that this article overlooked is how the user’s health is monitored.  If the functionality of being able to detect health signals on the wheelchair fails, the wheelchair could be giving incorrect readings and make the user seem more or less healthy than they really are.  In conclusion, the iWheelchair has so many benefits for society, but the creators need to make sure that they reduce the risk of error.



  1. Matt, I agree with you with regard to the fact that the iWheelchair makes it more convenient for people to contact other people such as family or friends if they need help. I like how you mentioned that people don't need to keep track of their cellphone because that is something that people tend to lose track of every now and then. After reading your blog, one thing that I wonder is if they have come up with a backup plan just in case the tablet were to malfunction or stop working? Overall, I think the iWheelchair could be something that would be very beneficial for those who have difficulty walking.

  2. I think this is a really cool invention but I completely agree that it could have some major flaws. A lot of people rely a lot technology and I don't think this should be a substitute for a nursing home or someone to watch over our loved ones. I think there is something about having another human around to help rather than technology. It's a different feeling knowing that someone cares enough to be around rather than buying something. Not only that but I'm not sure I would trust it with someone who needs attention. Like you said, if anything happens they could be helpless. I wouldn't want to leave my loved ones in the hands of technology. If anything ever happened I would feel guilty there wasn't anyone else around to help out like if there was another human there.

  3. While the iWheelchair presents some interesting and innovative technological benefits, I agree with Matt that this product is not yet ready to be released. For those who are in a wheelchair, life can be made difficult and this product attempts to ease some of the troubles with being handicapped. One misunderstanding with this article is that the iWheelchair makes it possible for the person in the wheelchair to no longer need assistance. Not every person in a wheelchair has the same degree of disability. While some people are able to live their life as normal with little difficulty, there are others who are severely impaired and will always need human supervision. There is little discussion in this article as to how exactly this product would monitor health or how it would report it. There is also no discussion as to whether or not this wheelchair can help disabled people get in and out of their chair. This perhaps is the hardest feat for those who are unable to walk, and the iWheelchair does not seem to have any capabilities of helping users get in and out of their chair. While the chair does help with movement and communication it does not present any real benefits that are outside the realm of a smartphone or electric wheelchair.

  4. Technology in this day and age is, in a sense, taking over, but in a positive fashion. There have been many simple, commonly used objects that have been manipulated and better developed in order to create a smarter object. In this case, the wheelchair was upgraded into the iWheelchair.
    This concept is very interesting to me because of the ability of a disabled person to live for themselves without the excessive help from others. I really think that the universal remote concept for the tablet attachment to the wheelchair, also, is a great foundation for future technological advancements.
    As impressive as this technology is, there are a few points that I felt could have been discussed, mostly based on potential issues. First off, I feel that an email is slightly more inconvenient than just connecting text messaging/phone calls to the tablet. Some people may not be diligently looking at their emails. Secondly, what is the expenses for this device? Does the tablet come separately, and is there an issue with charging and powering the device? Other than these issues, this blog post was very insightful and interesting.


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