Numotion to Distribute Independence Drive Eye-Gaze Technology

Numotion has announced it will distribute a new system that will enable power chair users to operate their wheelchairs using only their eyes.

The Independence Drive alternative driving control system began as an idea from Steve Gleason, a former NFL player who launched his Team Gleason non-profit after being diagnosed with ALS in 2011. During a 2014 Microsoft hackathon event, Gleason asked for a power wheelchair driving system that could be operated via eye tracking.

After Microsoft created a prototype, Team Gleason began independently developing an eye-controlled system. The result was the Independence Drive, a system created by Team Gleason, Evergreen Circuits and Jay Smith, former CEO and founder of Livid Instruments. Smith has also been diagnosed with ALS.

In an April 11 news announcement, Numotion said it will market and distribute Independence Drive through its 150 locations across the country starting in late May.

Mike Swinford, Numotion’s CEO, said in the announcement, “Independence Drive is one of the most exciting innovations we’ve seen in our industry. The technology has the ability to significantly improve the independence and mobility of people living with ALS and others who have limited physical abilities. People fighting neuromuscular diseases have needed a breakthrough like this for quite some time. They deserve better solutions, and we are incredibly honored to help bring this technology to market.”

In the announcement, Numotion noted that while the Independence Drive was initially developed to support people with ALS, power chair users with other diagnoses, from cerebral palsy to Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injury, could also benefit from the technology.

About the Author

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

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