Okay, so recently I took possession of a new TiLite wheelchair and the SmartDrive MX2+ Power Assist module. For those that are unaware the SmartDrive is an additional attachment that allows for manual wheelchair users to take advantage of “a little extra push”. The unit I have is controlled by a bluetooth watch called the push tracker. Like any new technology we’ve had a learning experience with this new tech.
It was a nine month wait - so the anticipation had plenty of time to build. After being trained, I took the chair and this is when the fun began. Now to be honest, I am not the most spatially aware person at times. But WOW! You really need to be aware of your surroundings at all times especially when driving the TiLite. It pushes me along in my chair by a little module (that will keep going like the little engine that could) until it gets a double tap from the watch to tell it to stop. This bluetooth watch is what commands my chair to start and stop. So you can imagine that you feel that you need to have cat-like reflexes at times.
I have been out and about in the local shopping centres with pretty much no issues, with the exception of people who walk without paying attention. But yesterday was a whole new experience when Martin and I decided to take the chair on a little outside adventure to assess the accessibility of public areas. We packed up the car and headed out a random outing to Fremantle. With sunblock on, my chair is powered and my seatbelt tightly fasten, safety first! The Smart Drive is attached and we're ready to go. Travelling on the bricked pavement throughout Fremantle was an interesting sensation as I really had to be mindful of any uneven surfaces or dips. After a few minutes I was able to quickly adjust to my new surroundings but that was short lived. Remember when I mentioned safety first? Well boy am I glad I had that seatbelt on. While crossing at a pedestrian crossing at the railway line the front wheels of the chair decided to wedge themselves in the gap. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but when you have a little motor on the back of your chair constantly pushing it was almost a case of head over heels. Thankfully Martin was there to save me - my knight in shining armour yet again ☺. All jokes aside I did bruise my leg and chip a nail. I’ll survive though.
Our day in Fremantle was a good experience as I was able to really test out the SmartDrive and the new wheelchair for the first time. The SmartDrive is a great piece of Assisted Technology (AT) that helps people like myself get around that little bit easier. I have a damaged rotator cuff in my right shoulder, as well as lower back issues, so this is the perfect addition for someone that has issues pushing a chair long distances but doesn’t qualify for a full electric wheelchair. There are so many AT options out there, that there really is something to suit almost everyone. This SmartDrive is only one of many options out there to help with mobility. It’s amazing how far technology has come. The SmartDrive also has and iPhone and Android app where you can track your:
You can also adjust all of the pushtracker settings such as the:
by either the watch or the app. Most of the teething problems that I’ve had with the SmartDrive have all been down to adjusting to something new. The more I use it the more confident I become. After all, practice makes perfect.
'Til Next Time,
Dream, Believe, Achieve :)
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