• The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

  • The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

  • The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

  • The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

The world’s first MSc program in disability, design and innovation

Disability innovation is more than just a good idea. We’ve heard enough stories how disability innovations can go wrong with unrealistic expectations and insufficient market research. This needs to be changed and a world-class university in U.K. is on the mission.

In September 2020, University College London will launch the first cohort of MSc Disability, Design and Innovation program. During the one-year program, students will learn what disability is, how design decisions play a significant role to people with disabilities, and how to design and tackle complex challenges of disability. They will learn to take into account inclusion and diversity, the current disability legislation, policy and guidance used in the global industry for their design.

The program is for individuals with the ambition to take on the global challenges of disability innovation. Three Snowdon Masters Scholarships are also reserved for exceptional students with disabilities accepted into the program. Application for the first cohort opens til 10 July 2020, and you may find out more here.

Globi, robots and Swiss Paraplegic Centre: a new book!

Globi is on an adventure again! This time the popular Swiss cartoon character makes his first visit to Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) in Nottwil. He visits his friend Nik who rehabilitates at SPC after an accident. Globi gets to learn all about the new robotic devices at SPC and how they help Nik to get back on his feet again.

To explore the fascinating world of robotics and digitalization, Globi also takes part in ETH’s Cybathlon and travels as far as to Japan: the country known as the pioneer of robots and artificial intelligence. His adventure discoveries are all depicted in “Globi und die Roboter” (EN: Globi and the robots): the latest book of the Globi knowledge series.

Book Cover of "Globi und die Robotor"

Crip Camp on Netflix: relive the disability revolution in the 70s

Looking for a new Netflix show to watch? Check out "Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution", a new documentary about Camp Jened: a summer camp for youngsters with disabilities back in the early 1970s.

The film was co-directed by Jim LeBrecht, a disability activist who was born with spina bifida and attended the camp at the age of 15. The documentary features rare footage of the camp, where youngsters with a wide range of disabilities experienced, for the first time, the liberation and full inclusion as human beings. The camp is described as a rare utopia for the disabled where everyone was free to express themselves and discuss issues like overprotective parents and their shared craving for social acceptance. It also played an important role in launching the disability rights movement of the late 70s and 80s.

Here’s the trailer of this award-winning documentary, which, by the way, is executive produced by the Obamas:

Also check out this CNN interview with the directors for more behind the scenes and why the controversial name “Crip Camp”.

Backcountry skiing as a paraplegic with WIITE

Certain sport activities seem to be fantasies to resume when one becomes paraplegic. Now, however, it's one less: an avid fan of winter sports who is paralyzed from the waist down has recently returned to backcountry skiing with the help of an exoskeleton extension called WIITE.

WIITE is to be used with TWIICE: the exoskeleton developed by REHAssist engineers at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. With TWIICE, users can manage daily activities like standing, walking and climbing stairs independently. With the extension WIITE, users can attach the exoskeleton to ski boots and skis. It also improves the bending and extending of knee and hip joints which replicates the body’s natural movements for activities like mountaineering and backcountry skiing. The only requirement is that “wearers must be able to use their upper bodies to operate the exoskeleton’s crutches, which provide balance and control.”

See how WIITE works in the following video with English subtitle and its press release.

Hand hygiene tips for people with SCI

“Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Stay at home.” – these are some basic measures recommended for everyone against the current COVID-19 pandemic. As a person with spinal cord injury (SCI), what more should you do?

Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, a registered charity organization in Canada, has compiled a special COVID-19 guidance, offering further tips on hand hygiene and caregiving issues for people with SCI.

To people with SCI, hand hygiene is more than washing hands. It is also necessary to clean the wheelchair or other assistive devices regularly. How? Check out the infographic below:

Hand hygiene tips for people with SCI

Swiss Paraplegic Centre as cantonal medical center for COVID-19 disease

Yesterday, Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) in Nottwil announced its support to Switzerland’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. It becomes one of the four main medical facilities in the Canton of Lucerne to accept and treat patients with COVID-19 disease.

As first step, SPC will convert its sports hall into a medical center for patients with COVID-19 disease. Around 200 beds will be made available within the next two weeks. The new center will then be operated by the Swiss military and civil protection service, separated from the SPC's daily operations.

In addition, up to 100 beds are made available in the SPC’s new acute medical north wing, including an intensive care unit and around 30 ventilation stations, completely available for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 disease.

The SPC is Europe’s largest clinic for acute medicine and the rehabilitation and integration of people with spinal cord injuries. With the new pandemic responsibilities, the SPC has guaranteed its paraplegic patients top-quality care as usual. The health of all patients and staff members remains SPC’s top priority. At the moment, the SPC is no longer accessible to the public, and patient visits are no longer permitted until further notice.

You may find more details about the new COVID-19 measures at SPC here (in German, French and Italian only).

Coronavirus: what helps against fear?

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a special and unusual reality: shut-down of schools and shops, isolating at home, the increasing fear of loneliness and the worry about the virus in general. We are all challenged physically and psychologically like never before. In fact, many would feel vulunerable and some may even face panic attack, anxiety or depression.

How can we prepare ourselves to cope with the current situation and minimize its impact on our lives? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has offered some good stress and coping advice for different target groups on this webpage.

A doctor who works for Doctors Without Borders has also given some advice on how to deal with fear in the video below:

Cybathlon 2020 postponed to September

Cybathlon, the renowned championship of assistive technologies, has been postponed from 2-3 May to 19-20 September 2020. The decision has been made one day before the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is characterized as pandemic by WHO.

It would be the second Cybathlon to be held since its debut in 2016. Run by ETH Zurich, it is an international event with the goal to promote research, development and implementation of assistive technology for people with disabilities. This year, over 80 teams from all over the world are invited to compete in the two-day championship on six disciplines including powered exoskeleton and powered wheelchair race.

Let's hope the impact of the virus can be controlled and minimized by the government measures implemented and everyone's continuous effort to protect themselves and others. Our best wishes to Cybathlon to be held successfully in September 2020!

America first: accessible scooter rental service

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Sharing is caring. Recently, Oakland has become the first city in the US to offer a e-scooter-sharing service for people with disabilities. Watch here.

The new e-scooter-sharing service is provided by Lime, a car-sharing company in the US. It’s a follow-up of last year's adaptive bike share pilot launched in Oakland. Those who can balance themselves on a seated scooter can rent one through the new sharing service. These scooters are designed with larger wheels and wider handlebar for better balance and driving experience.

According to a survey by Lime, 8% of their customers worldwide have either a permanent or temporary disability including those with limited mobility issues. When do you think we’ll see similar or even better accessible car-sharing services available in Switzerland or Europe?

The car-sharing breakthrough for wheelchair users

  • kitwan
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Soon it won’t be a dream anymore to car-share as a wheelchair user. Recently, the world’s first car-sharing system for wheelchair users called “WheeM-i” has been showcased at the GITEX Technology Week in Dubai.

The concept of WheeM-i is pretty much the same like Mobility, the car-sharing service in Switzerland. There’ll be an app where users can book and get real-time information about their WheeM-i. They can also use the app to interact with other wheelchair users, other means of transport and transport applications. The specially-designed vehicle allows users to get on with their own wheelchairs to drive, so it’s totally independent!

Watch here to learn about this breakthrough of accessibility and sharing economy.

Free Tickets to Swiss Handicap 2019

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Swiss Handicap will take place again in Lucerne this year on 29th and 30th November with the theme “work”. Over 100 exhibitors will gather at this unique national trade fair to promote independence and inclusion of people with disabilities.

Our Community will join this year’s event with a 20-minutes-talk given by Johannes, our Community Manager, on Saturday the 30th at 13.30. You can also visit exhibits from particular members of the Swiss Paraplegic Group during the two-day event.

Paraplegia, the benefactors’ magazine by Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, has offered a voucher code for its readers to attend Swiss Handicap 2019 for free. Details are available here (see on page 5).

See you at Swiss Handicap 2019!

Adaptive Halloween Costumes

  • kitwan
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Last-minute preparation is rarely possible for people with disabilities. However, it’s feasible this year for children with disabilities who like to dress up for trick or treat.

Target, one of the largest retailers in the US, has been introducing adaptive clothing for kids since 2017. Now, the company has added a line of inclusive and adaptive Halloween costumes for kids aged 2 to 15. The line includes costumes which are easy dressing and wheelchair-friendly as well as covers which are adjustable to fit various wheelchair sizes.

To find out more about these new adaptive Halloween costumes, read USA Today’s article: Boo-tiful! Target’s adaptive Halloween costumes help every child ‘bask in the fun’.

The Mind-controlled Exoskeleton Suit

  • kitwan
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Recently, a paralysed man known as Thibault has been able to walk again using a mind-controlled exoskeleton suit during a clinical trial at Clinatec research centre in Grenoble, France. He has joined the clinical trial since 2017. Before his attempt with the exoskeleton, he has been practicing with the two sensors implanted on his brain on a virtual character in a computer game.

What’s special about this exoskeleton? What does it mean for Thibault being able to walk with it? Find out more in the articles below:

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Most Recent Topics
2020-05-12 In Latest
Crip Camp on Netflix: relive the disability revolution in the 70s
Looking for a new Netflix show to watch? Check out "Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution", a new documentary about Camp Jened: a summer camp for youngsters with disabilities back in the early...
0
2020-05-19 In Latest
Globi, robots and Swiss Paraplegic Centre: a new book!
Globi is on an adventure again! This time the popular Swiss cartoon character makes his first visit to Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) in Nottwil. He visits his friend Nik who rehabilitates at SPC...
0
2020-06-08 In Latest
The world’s first MSc program in disability, design and innovation
Disability innovation is more than just a good idea. We’ve heard enough stories how disability innovations can go wrong with unrealistic expectations and insufficient market research. This needs to...
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Swiss Paraplegic Research
Guido A. Zäch Strasse 4
6207 Nottwil
Switzerland

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