Jul 182016
 

(posted by Paula Allchin)

Can anybody help Hilary Cresswell (Lancs NW) please? 

A blind wheelchair user would like to have a Guide Dog but he needs to be able to control his electric chair whilst holding the dog’s harness and he only has use of one hand. The obvious solution is to find another way for him to control the chair. Does anyone have any suggestions?

hilarycresswell3@gmail.com

 

  12 Responses to “Guide dog and electric wheelchair need to be controlled but only one hand”

  1. When I did a pram-pulling device for a blind person it was pointed out to me that there had to be no obstructions to either side of the guide dog as the dogs are trained to steer clear of front and side obstructions.

    In effect we ended up with a “train” comprising dog, client, then pram.

    I would imaging that, in the case of a wheelchair user the dog would have to have its head and front shoulders ahead of the chair’s front wheels and even then it would involve the client having to hold their arm out virtually horizontally.

  2. Advice from The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is needed (if not already done so) before any solution is finalised. A guide dog is matched and supplied to the visually impaired person (and in this case also has walking / holding difficulties) by the GDBA. The dog and owner work together as a team with the dog’s harness usually held in the owner’s left hand. The presence of an electric chair could interfere with the interaction between dog and owner, especially at road crossings and obstacles on the pavement (eg fixed / temporary signs, guarding etc).

    • Bob
      Thanks for reply. Yes we are working closely with the guide dog association. We need to prove that we can provide an alternative control before we go near a guide dog. Regards Richard

  3. A thumb-operated joystick mounted on the harness cross-bar? It could be wireless-linked to a control unit mounted on the chair. A suitable housing to go on the actual harness used could be designed for 3-D printing and could incorporate inductive loop recharging to facilitate an all-weather, water-proof end product.

    • Keith
      Many thanks for your reply. Next visit we will discuss a thumb mounted vs chin or head control. Many thanks.

  4. I assume the client needs to hold the dog’s handle to be able to follow the dog’s instructions. Can the handle and/or the joystick be modified so one hand can hold both?

    • Thanks for your reply Rob. That looks like the most promising solution for discussion with client.

  5. If you type: “chin operated wheelchair controls” into Google, you can see some options such as chin joysticks. I think they can be rather expensive however.
    (West Midlands Panel)

  6. Adapt a joystick for foot operation? A roller ball instead of a lever? I salvaged a couple of joysticks from PWCs just before the holidays; it’s only an idea. Yet.
    This would free up his hand to control the dog.

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