Editor's Note

A New Department Just for Tech Geeks

Once upon a time, being called a geek was an insult. Now, given our affinity for and dependence on all things electronic, it's a badge of honor.

Regardless of the fact that being a geek is trendy at the moment, I suspect that seating & mobility professionals have long been fascinated by technology, including the assistive technology that can help people with mobility impairments to be optimally positioned to move in the best ways possible through active, independent lives. I’ve seen you crawling under wheelchairs at shows. I know you and your colleagues enjoy rolling up your sleeves and taking things into your own hands, whether that's making a seat depth adjustment or rigging up an alternate driving control. You love duct tape and Velcro.

I get it. Understanding the clinical factors is great, but technology is the other side of the coin that enables you to devise the best solutions.

So I’ve been trying to figure out a way to help you scratch that technology itch. Specifically, I wanted a way to go into greater depth with new technology, trends and innovations than our existing “Product Revue” department — which covers a collection of products each time — can allow.

This month, we introduce Technology Showcase, which will take a much closer look at a particular product, innovation or facet of technology that’s influencing the industry. And I’m looking for your help to pull this off.

Technology Showcase will not merely be a full-page write-up of a new product. I think even manufacturers will acknowledge that sometimes they launch new products that are simply updated versions of existing ones. Hey, new features or greater adjustability, etc., are terrific. But they’re not what I have in mind for our Showcase.

Instead, I’m looking for a technology angle with a twist. Maybe it’s a new way of thinking about an old problem — like dynamic seating for kids who need freedom to move. Or the twist might be with the manufacturer: Maybe the manufacturer is launching a product in a category it’s never worked in before.

I won’t spoil the subject of our premiere column (see page 30), but the twist with this one is a blending of functions, so that one piece of equipment can serve many purposes while reducing the amount of gear in the consumer’s home and, presumably, the need for the funding source to buy multiple pieces of equipment.

You’ll also see that this column isn’t just a page torn from the manufacturer’s product catalog. Multiple viewpoints are included, including a therapist’s and a consumer’s. That’s because I hope these Showcases can act as abbreviated case studies and perhaps answer questions that may immediately spring to mind as you read.

That’s where you come in. I’m looking for nominees for future Technology Showcases, and I’m asking all stakeholders to get involved. That means clinicians across the board, ATPs, RTS’s, repair technicians, billing specialists, consumers… anyone who’s had a great experience with a product and has a personal “twist” to put on the story.

And manufacturers, I’m counting on you, too, to let me know about new products you’re launching. Or newer products that are still staking their claims. The technology doesn’t have to be brand new, but I’m looking for innovations that offer a new way of looking at problems and solving them.

This is going to be fun, technology geeks. E-mail me. Let’s get going.

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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