A former American football player has teamed up with rehab technology firm Numotion to launch a new eye controlled wheelchair system.
Former NFL star Steve Gleason, who revealed he was battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2011, has played a key role in bringing ‘Independence Drive’ technology to the market.
The innovative new system enables powered wheelchair users to control their chair using only their eyes and was originally inspired by a challenge issued by Gleason during a Microsoft hackathon in 2014.
Speaking of the system, Gleason said: “There are still no treatments for ALS, but because of technology, people like me are able to remain productive and purposeful for years, even decades.
“Unfortunately, when I was diagnosed, the available technology was severely lacking and incredibly expensive. Because of this, Team Gleason decided that we would work with innovative partners to develop and provide cutting edge, cost-effective solutions to stay independent.”
The project was completed with help from Evergreen Circuits , an assistive technology company in Seattle, WA that helps empower those living with disabilities through circuitry.
Mike Swindford, the CEO of Numotion also issued a statement about the techonology. He said: “Independence Drive is one of the most exciting innovations we’ve seen in our industry. The technology has the ability to significantly improve the independence and mobility of people living with ALS and others who have limited physical abilities. People fighting neuromuscular diseases have needed a breakthrough like this for quite some time. They deserve better solutions and we are incredibly honoured to help bring this technology to market.”
Despite being designed specifically with ALS patients in mind, it is thought that the technology could also prove beneficial to people with a range of other medical conditions, including spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and a host of others.