Top 9 assistive tech innovations to see at Naidex 2021
Independent living event Naidex is returning to the NEC in Birmingham this year on 15th-16th September.
The exhibition showcases the latest assistive technologies available and gives healthcare professionals access to insightful CPD seminars.
Naidex caters to three main audiences: people living with health conditions or impairments (and those who care for them), professionals looking to find accessibility solutions, and traders who buy and sell products designed for members of the independent living community.
Ahead of this year’s event, AT Today has rounded up 9 of the best assistive technology innovations to see at the show, which enable people to live independently and improve their quality of life.
1. OrCam MyEye
OrCam MyEye is an advanced wearable assistive technology device, powered by proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) developed solely by OrCam. The device magnetically mounts to the wearer’s glasses frame and allows users to read any printed or digital text – from any surface – in real-time and offline, thereby ensuring data privacy.
The finger-sized, lightweight solution can register and recognise up to 150 people’s faces, allowing effortless identification of family, friends and colleagues, whether at home, work or socialising in public. OrCam MyEye can also identify colours, barcodes and all denominations of money.
The device further incorporates new “Smart Reading” technology that reads only the text that interests the user, using voice commands such as “read headlines”, “read phone numbers” or “find” a specific word.
Other new features include “Orientation”, which helps users safely navigate their immediate surroundings. Using the verbal command “what’s in front of me”, OrCam MyEye will identify objects, such as chairs or tables, and relay them back to the user.
Another intuitive feature is the time gesture function. This is activated by raising the wrist, which results in OrCam MyEye announcing the time (and date) through its onboard speaker.
OrCam has also released a new software update (9.10) that enables hands-free, voice-activated operation.
2. Centrobed Amazon
The Amazon, from Centrobed, is a multi-functional turning bed that enables singled-handed care and hands-free turning with its automatic turning feature. The Amazon will turn someone from side to side throughout the night and has the added advantage of ‘growing’ with the individual. Irrespective of the height of the person, the Amazon bed will fit and profile in the correct places.
As with all of the company’s beds, the visual design of the Amazon turning bed can be personalised with bespoke panels, ensuring that this profiling bed does not look like a standard hospital bed.
Centrobed will be offering product demonstrations on stand F134 at the show.
3. Motion Healthcare Aerolite Folding Powerchair
Motion Healthcare will be showcasing its Aerolite Folding Powerchair at Naidex 2021, which is the lightest powerchair in its range, weighing 20.5kg with batteries.
This mobility innovation is suitable for the occasional traveller looking for the combination of indoor manoeuvrability and use on pavements and in the shops. It is designed to be easy to use, with a simple pull or push mechanism that folds or unfolds the device.
Although lightweight, the manufacturer says that the Aerolite Folding Powerchair has some of the features of more advanced powerchairs – like a tension-adjustable back, adjustable armrests and flip-up footrests – while still being travel-friendly.
The powerchair comes with a single lithium battery that has its own charge socket, so it can be charged off-board.
4. Loopwheels Urban
Loopwheels Urban has recently launched to fulfil the demand for a lightweight wheel that reduces vibration and bumps when riding in a manual wheelchair, making the ride much more comfortable.
Loopwheels are proven to remove up to 70 percent of harmful Whole Body Vibration (WBV). If clients use a power attachment or have pain triggered by movement, they should notice an immediate improvement in the ride, the company says.
The innovative wheels attach to manual wheelchairs to reduce pain and fatigue for wheelchair users to enable them to carry on working and live an active life.
Loopwheels is offering a ‘try before you buy’ scheme for its wheels to ensure that only people who would benefit from the product purchase them. Clients can find out more about this scheme at Naidex.
Loopwheels Urban and Extreme weigh 1.3 kg and are £1800 for a pair.
5. Ardoo 140 Portable Hoist
Polymorit will be showcasing the Ardoo 140 Portable Hoist at Naidex 2021. Ideal for car transfers during day trips and staycations, the hoist folds away in seconds to stow away in a car boot or cupboard.
At 23kg, it is the lightest folding portable hoist in the world, according to Polymorit, and can be easily operated by one carer.
The hoist can lift up to 140kg from a wheelchair, stairlift, toilet, bed or floor. Compact for use in bathrooms and tight spaces, the hoist converts to a stand aid if required.
6. Electric Mobility Vortex 8mph mobility scooter
New for 2021, the Electric Mobility Vortex 8mph mobility scooter is unique, dynamic and packed full of user-friendly features. It can greatly improve the lives of those with reduced mobility by offering a stylish and functional connection to community life.
For elderly people no longer able to drive a car, the Vortex can mirror similar freedoms, with a range of up to 25.5 miles to maintain a link with the outside world. The mobility device can combat this potentially negative change in circumstance by reducing the risk of isolation and facilitating prolonged independence.
The scooter has an ergonomic design with a 900W powerful motor, USB charging point, super bright LED lights and full suspension.
RunOn run flat pneumatic tyres (to get home even with a puncture) and Max Grip Limited Slip Differential Gearbox offer peace of mind for carers and family members as well as a heighted experience for those who own the mobility scooter.
With extensive legroom, an adjustable tiller and comfortable seat, this mobility device is designed for all users. It has a weight capacity of 28 stone.
7. Apex Medical Rota-pro Rotational Chair Bed
The innovative rotational chair bed design of the Apex Medical Rota-pro family (Rota-pro Standard, Rota-pro Low, Rota-pro Bario & Rota-pro Bario Low) has a robust, quality construction coupled with unique bed features aimed to bring back mobility, dignity and independence to users of all shapes, heights and sizes.
These beds are suited for those who are weight-bearing and able to walk but struggle transferring from a sitting to standing position. Its attractive timber frame, specially designed pressure reducing mattress, rotational and profiling functions enable users to get in and out of bed unassisted. This potentially reduces single- or double-handed care and associated costs.
These features can help protect professional carers, family carers and the extended family from the risk of moving and handling injuries. They also remove stress and anxiety while managing the user’s condition in a dignified and independent manner. This is critical to the social, emotional and the physical well-being of the user.
There are four models available, maximum user weight ranges from 135kg-185kg, and height ranges above and below 5’5”.
8. Safespaces Siesta Hi-Lo
The Safespaces Siesta Hi-Lo is a robust, high-sided bed with flexing sides and a height-adjustable base.
Designed for those who require nursing care and the flexibility of a height-adjustable platform, the Safespaces Siesta Hi-Lo provides a 41cm range of travel to raise the top of the mattress, offering a comfortable working height for carers. There are no moving parts or hard surfaces inside the compartment, providing a soft, safe sleeping area.
The Safespace Siesta Hi-Lo has a range of bespoke features to allow access to the patient for different levels of care with minimal disturbance to the occupant. These include viewing panels, roll up sides, nursing access panels and tube holes for gastrostomy, and oxygen.
Additional options include a water-resistant PVC or soft-touch PUL-covered memory foam mattress, manual profiling set and a fibre optics kit.
9. CHRONUS Robotics Kim-e
Personal mobility robot Kim-e is a next-generation micro-mobility device. It empowers people with paraplegia or other lower limb disabilities with more independence at home, in the workplace and outside.
Kim-e combines an exoskeleton and a self-balancing scooter. Patented transforming seat technology allows the user to change their posture from sitting on a chair to sitting on a bar stool by mimicking natural human movements. Patented wearable interface technology further allows the user to steer the device by intuitive spinal movements, leaving their hands completely free.
It has a modern aesthetic and a lightweight, compact design. The device is agile and manoeuvrable too.
Using CHRONUS Robotics technology, disabled people can perform a variety of jobs that were previously inaccessible to them. Kim-e can even move freely off-road on grass, sand or snow.
Interestingly, Kim-e has no joystick or handlebar but is easy to control. Users lean back and forward to go forward or backward and turn their spine slightly left or right to steer.
As the upper-body muscles are engaged in control of the device, they are constantly trained. Controlling the device with body movements also enables the individual to use their hands for various activities.