Remap is a charity that helps disabled people achieve independence and a better quality of life by designing and making equipment for their individual needs. Last year the charity helped more than 3,500 people, giving the equipment free of charge in every case.
The charity has a network of skilled volunteers who design and make bespoke items to help people enjoy life more. Here, we hear about five of the designs it has created to change five disabled people’s lives.
Wheelchair dance sensors
Among the many subjects taught at the National Star College, students can learn performing arts, including wheelchair dance. Participants in the classes normally control their wheelchairs using a joystick. But not everyone can, such as those with cerebral palsy or spina bifida.
The college was, therefore, interested in developing a system that would allow everyone to be involved. It contacted Remap Gloucestershire and the project was taken on by volunteers Martin Davitt and Tom Bradley.
Martin and Tom’s new system is based on gyro/accelerometer sensors (devices that measure velocity and acceleration). Attached to armbands and a headband, these sensors monitor the position of the arm or head, allowing the user to control the chair accordingly.
The dance instructor also has an emergency stop button, so they can safely stop the wheelchair, should the need arise. As is the norm with Remap projects, the college was involved at each stage of the design.
The project has been a resounding success, with students achieving great personal satisfaction from being able to express their response to the music through movement. This has built their confidence and self-esteem. National Star College can now offer dance experiences to many more students than in the past.
We believe that this is the first wheelchair dancing system of its type to be made and used in the United Kingdom.