- By Laurie Watanabe
- Feb 01, 2021
SOAP AND SUDS: DEPOSITPHOTOS/BOMBAERT
It’s the start of February as I write this, and I am at home. This is the time of
year I’m typically packing and repacking my suitcase, and pouring my
shampoo into little travel-sized bottles. But I’ve used only full-sized bottles
of shampoo and large bars of soap since arriving home from the 2020
International Seating Symposium in Vancouver last March.
Obviously, the world has changed a lot since then. As someone who
loves routine and derives reassurance from it, the new landscape has been
But happily, some crucial things
about mobility have remained the
same. For example, Complex Rehab
Technology (CRT) and mobility
manufacturers may be staying home
a lot more than usual, but they’re also
staying very busy. Because so many
industry events typically take place in
Q1, manufacturers began announcing and launching new products at the
end of 2020, and the launch pace has quickened in the new year.
You can see Sunrise Medical’s new Nitrum ultralightweight wheelchair on page 26, and I’ll be covering many more CRT and accessibility/mobility
launches in future issues and newsletters.
What I’m also noticing is other industries converging or crossing paths with
CRT and accessibility applications. In fact, our ultralightweight chair story
(page 14) takes a look at how materials and engineering practices in other
industries have been adopted and adapted by our industries’ manufacturers
for the benefit of consumers.
I’m hearing from manufacturers of robotics, orthotics and prosthetics,
too, whose products could improve and support independent mobility.
Autonomous cars have long sounded like a potential fit for consumers with
disabilities; apps originally created for architects, contractors and interior
designers could also be useful as home assessment or home accessibility
tools (page 30).
On the clinical education front, early intervention continues to gain
momentum, as does 24-hour postural support, aka, optimal positioning
beyond wheelchairs and seating. And happily, telehealth and remote
services sessions have worked so well that the CRT industry is lobbying to
maintain those options beyond our public health emergency.
So while the pandemic continues to try our souls, mobility has done what it
does best: find a way to keep moving. You’ve found ways to keep innovating,
keep learning, keep communicating… while even improving some processes
and while supporting colleagues, consumers and caregivers.
This public health emergency, too, shall pass. The last year has been full
of stress and sorrow. But we will be together again. And in the mean time,
it does my heart good to see wonderful things — creativity, perseverance,
teaching, compassion, kindness — keep rolling right along, undeterred.
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.