"Smart technology" is a term that gets thrown around a lot nowadays, and tech start-up LUCI developed a framework that assesses how "smart" these techs actually are in relation to mobility.
LUCI has created a smart technology platform designed for power wheelchairs to provide its riders with improved stability, safety, and connectivity. Alongside developing this revolutionary tech, LUCI Chief Technology Officer Jered Dean also inquired about what "smart technology" in mobility is supposed to mean. This effort culminates in a whitepaper titled: "Judging Smart: A Framework for Assessing 'Smart' Technology in Power Mobility Today."
Assessing Modern Mobility Solutions
Judging Smart serves as a comprehensive guide in understanding this particular segment of modern technology that covers almost every aspect of daily living. Barry Dean, LUCI CEO and co-founder and Jered's brother, explained in a statement that "by beginning to paint a detailed picture of what we want powerchair riders - and all wheelchair riders -to be able to do, we reduce the odds that we'll miss a key factor in the equation, or that we'll neglect to think about how LUCI and other smart mobility products will affect riders along the way."
Among the guidelines offered by the white paper is a scale for assessing Smart Wheelchair Mobility - starting from Level 0 to Level 5. The report claims that most power wheelchairs score "below" Level 0, which only offer warnings to the user: beeper, sensor alerts, and backup cameras. Power wheelchairs that attain Mobility Levels 3 to 5 begin to transfer control from the riders to the machine increasingly.
The report argues that this transfer of control is an important consideration for mobility solutions as it helps find the "sweet spot" between user control and machine assistance - noting that more is not necessarily more when it comes to automation. Transfer of control refers to the instant where the user hands over particular decision-making processes to the machine.
Guided By Holistic Human-Machine Metrics
The questions in wheelchair mobility, as well as the criteria in developing systems that answer these concerns, are also summarized in the product description page on LUCI's official website.
For example, the LUCI hardware/software system is designed to automatically and gradually slow a power wheelchair before coming to a full stop - which also applies to travelling off steps, curbs, or before colliding with obstructions. Conversely, it offers an easily accessible control for the rider. Users can easily turn the system on or off. The same rider control ensures that the user safety comes first, with its self-disabling ability in the event of an error it cannot correct by itself.
Data access also maintains user control and security as a top priority. LUCI users can invite other people to access their data - location, driving condition, system health status - and manage what data these people are privy to. Additionally, no personal information is kept in the LUCI units installed in the power wheelchairs, with its online portal complying with security standards stipulated in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), with regular updates from the developers.
Watch the introductory video for the first-ever smart power wheelchair platform set to revolutionize mobility in day-to-day life.