Permobil has given its power wheelchair users another communications option with the rollout of the manufacturer’s Voice Assistant feature.
In a May 26 news announcement, Permobil said the new Voice Assistant on the MyPermobil app will enable wheelchair users to “access key wheelchair information verbally while at home or on the go with their Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant device or app.”
Connected wheelchair technology, Permobil pointed out, has been standard on its M- and F-Series Corpus and Corpus VS wheelchairs for years. “These models all come Connect-ready, and once the end user downloads the app and activates MyPermobil, the information is automatically transferred into the smartphone app for easy access,” the news announcement said.
But the addition of Voice Assistant makes the communications process easier for end users who find it difficult to efficiently operate a smartphone with their hands.
Ginger Walls, PT, MS, NCS, ATP/SMS, Permobil’s Director of Clinical and Technical Education, said about the launch, “Many Permobil users have conditions that impact their gross motor function to reach for their smartphone, and fine motor function to tap the screen. For users lacking this dexterity to use their MyPermobil app with their hands, they can now take advantage of the many in-app functions with their voice.”
Once Voice Assistant is linked up to Alexa or Google Assistant, end users can ask when their power chairs were last charged, what the current battery charge is, and what their power chairs’ serial numbers are. Voice Assistant can also estimate the available indoor or outdoor travel range and can report on powered seating activity, such as use of tilt and recline functions.
The MyPermobil app also collects longer-term data, such as daily distances traveled, and data on powered seating functions daily, weekly, or monthly. In-app tutorials are available to teach users how to get the most out of the My Permobil app.
Google’s Project Euphonia and Alexa’s Voiceitt app can support MyPermobil and Voice Assistant users whose speech can be difficult for others to understand.
Chuck Witkowski, President of Permobil Americas, said of the Voice Assistant launch, “Permobil demonstrates our commitment to innovating for individuals as the only wheelchair manufacturer offering an end user smartphone app that has Voice Assistant. MyPermobil is the most comprehensive end user wheelchair app available, and it does not require the end user’s data or Wi-Fi once activated.”