Tag Archives: assistive technology

Review: myHailo Call Alert for Refuelling Your Car

As a disabled driver and wheelchair user, refuelling my car has always been a bit of a challenge, and not the most dignified of experiences.

I always try to make sure that I never run too low on petrol and tend to use the same fuel stations for filling up. I have found that the smaller petrol stations do not always have someone on hand to come and assist me, which can be really inconvenient, especially if I am running low on fuel. Once I am at the petrol station, I have to make sure that I use one of the refuelling points near the forecourt window, so that the staff can see me, which can mean a bit of a wait if the station is busy. I then have to loudly blast my horn to try to catch their attention, whilst frantically waving my blue badge at them.

This always creates confusion and a huge amount of attention from other drivers, wondering what I am doing. I am not one to enjoy attention so I have found this quite hard to do but I have had to just grit my teeth and get on with it. One of my local stations has revamped their forecourt and I can no longer see the staff properly so I have to call them on my mobile, but if the tills are busy, they don’t always answer the phone!

Finally, when the assistants do appear, they are always very helpful and once they have filled the tank, I pay with my credit card. My card is authorised with a signature, rather than a pin, so that the attendant can take the payment without me having to get out of the car.

I recently came across myHailo,  a call alert system for disabled drivers needing to refuel their car, which has been fairly recently launched and is being rolled out to petrol stations around the country. Perfect!

So, once I had received myHailo key fob, I went to my nearest Sainsbury’s, who I was delighted to find had signed up to the scheme. This time, I parked at one of the pumps at the rear of the petrol station, turned off my engine and then pressed the button on the fob. A receiver at the front of the forecourt, above the shop, flashed red. I could see that this immediately alerted the staff and with a discreet wave of my blue badge they located me and immediately came out to serve me. As soon as they had received the alert, the receiver then flashed green, to reassure me that they were on their way.

It was a lovely feeling, to not have to blast my horn and create havoc as I normally do and to have such a quick response from the staff was impressive. I would really recommend myHailo to other disabled drivers and also to anyone who is elderly and finds it difficult to get in and out of the car. It is also reassuring that the scheme is endorsed by Disabled Motoring UK.

MyHailo can be purchased for £14.95 and you can check as to whether myHailo is available at your local fuel station by visiting their myHailo zone page. If it isn’t, then talk to your local petrol station and suggest that they install it, or myHailo have a letter that you can print out from their website to hand to them, to suggest the scheme.

By coincidence, I also received a promotion in the post this morning from Shell drivers club, about their new Fill Up & Go App which enables you to pay for your fuel as you fill your tank, without having to go to the tills. Take a look at the video below to see how it works – I have yet to try it.

 

Life is slowly getting easier for us disabled peeps and it is the little things, like hassle free refuelling of your car that make a big difference. Happy motoring folks :)

By Katherine, designed2enable.co.uk

 

 

 

 

3D Screen Printing For Disability

Bespoke 3d prosthetic

Bespoke 3D Prosthetic

Nowadays, anyone can pick up a plastic 3D printer for a couple of hundred pounds and start printing their own limbs. To a certain extent.

Amazing technological advances are allowing scientists to take a 3D scan of an amputee’s arm, 3D print a custom fitted socket for the defective limb overnight, and create a bio-electrically controlled limb with sensors on its muscles which can pick up signals from the brain, so that the hand moves in response to those signals.

Scientists are able to mirror the side that exists and undergo “virtual planning” on the computer, whereby they take data from the functional side and reflect it onto the other side. This process will make prosthetic surgery much more efficient time-wise, with less risk involved and improved outcome.

There are also new materials on the prosthetics scene which complement the 3D printing technology and allow for better integration into the body, such as a honeycomb structure which allows bone to grow and merge with 3D printed scaffolding. In the future, developers hope to print and grow complete organs for our bodies, and print using human stem cells, which are the building blocks for any other cell in our body. Currently, they are able to print basic living structures such as liver cells, and this is significant in regards to drug testing, meaning they can test on 3D printed cells rather than on animals or humans.

GO-6 Layer 3D Printing Wheelchair

GO-6 Layer 3D Printing Wheelchair

There are a number of strategic industrial design agencies forging the way in intelligent technological research, improving the quality of life for people with disabilities and amputations. One of these agencies is LayerLAB and their inaugural project “GO”, a made to measure 3D printed consumer wheelchair that has been designed to fit the individual needs of a wide range of disabilities and lifestyles. The custom form of the seat and foot-bay is driven by 3D digital data derived from mapping each user’s biometric information. The resulting wheelchair accurately fits the individual’s body shape, weight and disability to reduce injury and increase comfort, flexibility, and support. The accompanying GO app allows users to participate in the design process by specifying their preferences of colour, elements and patterns.

This is a wonderful example of how we can use 3D printing to offer customisation to the individual customer, and a personalisation of products which allows the wheelchair users to have a greater sense of control around their situation, feeling that the wheelchair is made for them, rather than them having to mould to fit the wheelchair.

 

3d printed wheelchair gloves

Go Gloves Materialise 2016

From this project and the research and interviewing process around it, LayerLAB discovered that a great mental and physical stress for wheelchair users was the strain and effort involved in self-propelling. They developed the GO glove alongside the GO wheelchair, where the glove grips more efficiently to the wheelchair push rims. The user can lock into the push rims and get a greater power-to-push ratio, taking some of the strain of their arm, neck and shoulder muscles, and reducing the exhaustion and injury induced by self-propelling, which so many wheelchair users suffer from.

 

Philip the duck 3d printing

Philip the duck with his 3D printed feet

The story of Phillip the duck is another example of the far-reaching potential of 3D printing technology. Phillip lost his feet from frostbite, and was rescued by a teacher in Wisconsin, who was considering having him put down, due to his immobility. A local teacher had recently purchased a 3D printer and, with the help of his students, was able to design Phillip some new prosthetic legs from flexible plastic. The simple design allows the remnants of Phillip’s legs to slot in the top of the prosthetic legs, with flat artificial webbed feet underneath providing stability.

Now Phillip the duck is able to walk again, not quite as nimble as before, but a pretty incredible feat..