Exploring the national fair for people with disabilities

On November 30, the Community joined Swiss Handicap, the national trade fair for people with disabilities in Lucerne. Our Community Manager Johannes held a presentation about the Community on stage to visitors to the fair.

Before the presentation, Johannes was joined by me and our Community member Francesco to make a tour through the exhibitions and check out the latest tools and services for people with disabilities.

Experience, information, marketplace for all

eingang swiss handicap in der messe luzern

Upon arrival, Francesco and Johannes enjoyed a cup of coffee with some festive music to get ready for the exciting day.

This year, over 110 exhibitors participated in Swiss Handicap. The fair covers topics relating to life with mental, physical, psychological and sensory disabilities. Contrary to its name, Swiss Handicap does not only welcome people with disabilities but also people without disabilities, uniting them with various programs and activities which they can take part together.

armband von active communication

A special wristband we got at the booth of Active Communication. A simple aid to have for those with speech difficulties or people like me who want to avoid embarrassment speaking Swiss German. 😉

francesco und sein doppelgänger auf dem armband von active communication

What are the odds of finding your look-alike at a national fair? Well done, Francesco! 😉

kunst und backworkshops auf der swiss handicap 2019

Art and bakery workshops for young and old.

sunny maskottchen der swiss handicap

Sunny, the Swiss Handicap mascot, welcomed visitors with open arms.

kit wan johannes und sunny

Johannes and I also received a Sunny welcome.

Meeting the robot celebrities

After Sunny, Johannes and I ran into two well-known figures in the robotic world: PEPPER and NAO6. PEPPER is the first personal and emotional humanoid robot in the world which can recognize and react to principal human emotions. Without knowing what language PEPPER could understand, we’ve invited him for a selfie in English and it seemed to have worked.

kit wan johannes und roboter pepper

Selfie with PEPPER, who was busy recognizing Johannes’s emotion.

roboter pepper mit kit wan und mit junge im rollstuhl

PEPPER seemed to react better with people in wheelchair, children or small people like me.

While we talked, PEPPER gave me a nod, and Johannes wanted one, too. But maybe he was too tall for PEPPER and confused him instead:

Another robot called NAO6 seemed to interact better with Johannes. NAO6 is a 58-cm tall humanoid robot. According to the developer’s website, he “assists with the development and progress of science and technology education”. The Chinese character “six” is written on his chest.

We’ll talk more about assistive robots in one of our next blog posts, so do visit our blog again later. 😉

Community gatherings

As we moved on through the fair, we met some familiar brands and faces. How many of them do you recognize?

bekannte marken und gesichter auf der swiss handicap 2019

In the REHAB Basel booth, Johannes and I met our Community blogger Fritz who took part in Swiss Handicap with his new book “Ansonsten munter: Einsichten eines Rollstuhlfahrers” (EN: Otherwise lively: insights of a wheelchair user).

kit wan johannes und fritz

At the same booth, we saw a lady playing a video game with the help of an exoskeleton arm:

Then we went to present the Community, whose success relies on your active participation here. Applause to all of you!

johannes präsentiert die community an der swiss handicap 2019

Johannes presented the Community to visitors.

Trying out the Scewo Bro

I’ve heard often about Swiss Handicap since I joined Swiss Paraplegic Research in September 2016. Thus, I was really excited to join the event this year. It’s like dreams come true when I finally had firsthand experiences of things I’ve previously reported on the Community. Trying out the Scewo Bro is one of them, especially after Francesco earlier that day told me about his exciting experience with the Scewo Bro.

kit wan testet den rollstuhl scewo bro

Scewo Bro is an all-rounder smart wheelchair aiming to take you to inaccessible places which no other wheelchairs can do. It is operated with a joystick and the Scewo app installed on the smart phone. It’s so easy that I could just sit and drive around with the Scewo Bro with the immediate instruction of the Scewo salesperson.

In this video, you can see me driving down the stairs in the Scewo Bro. Without a driving license and a seat belt, I was a bit nervous but I descended safely. 😉

But we all know fabulous devices come at a price: a Scewo Bro currently costs around CHF 39,000. Like Francesco told me, there are so many incredible helpful gadgets in the world. However, with the many employment limitations people with disabilities face, many of these products become unaffordable luxurious products when it’s already a challenge just to earn a living.

In fact, there was a small funny episode during my Scewo Bro trial. Once I got on the wheelchair, I noticed the nice path next to me as shown in the photo below.

parcours am stand des rollstuhls scewo bro

(Source: Facebook @swisshandicap)

I thought I could drive through this path with the Scewo Bro. But my wish was kindly rejected for safety reasons: the Scewo salesperson said their team had failed to set up the trial on this path. Just when she finished telling me the bad news, I saw another visitor with a rather compact wheelchair who drove on the path at ease. It made me think again that we don’t have to be upset when things don’t work out: often there’s an alternative, maybe even a nicer and more affordable one. 😉

More action at Swiss Handicap

Meanwhile, more actions and music filled the exhibition hall.

rollstuhlhockey

Wheelchair hockey.

musikaufführung von menschen mit unterschiedlichen behinderungen

A music performance by people with different disabilities.

Later, Johannes accepted the invitation of our Community member René (@Armdrücken) to a peaceful yet exciting arm-wrestling challenge.

armdrücken mit rené 1

Challenging the arm-wrestling champion in wheelchair?

armdrücken mit rené 2

No chance at all! 😉

Last but not least, we wish you, your families and friends a wonderful Christmas and new year filled with health and happiness!

kit wan johannes francesco und der samichlaus

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