What an amazing Saturday we had on 23 June! That day the Community made its first public appearance at the 19th Rollivision at Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil.
Rollivision is a specialized fair dedicated to the mobility, activity and independence of wheelchair users. The fair takes place biennially and around 70 exhibitors from Switzerland and overseas joined Rollivision this year to showcase their latest products and services for the wheelchair community.Over a thousand people visited Rollivision this year finding out the latest trends in the wheelchair community.
Kit Wan, “Official Blog Author”, and Johannes, “Community Manager”, at the Community’s booth at Rollivision.
As “Official Blog Author”, I’m glad to have joined Johannes, “Community Manager”, at this year’s Rollivision. It was my first up-close experience with this many people in wheelchairs. At our booth, we demonstrated the Community to visitors from all over Switzerland. I’m happy that many were eager to talk to me and shared their personal experiences, despite my limited German skills. I’m even more delighted to find that many know about the Community and are already members. A huge thanks to our supporters for showing up!
Audience listening attentively to the presentation about the Community.What made the event more special was that the Community celebrated its 1st birthday with a presentation at Rollivision. In addition, we were honoured that our Community members @Hans and @Francescolife joined us for a lunch celebration and, of course, to experience Rollivision together!
Not only did we see and share our views on a wide variety of wheelchairs, we even got to try a brain-controlled video game together!
Developed by the branch Game Design of the Zurich University of the Arts, the game is actually called “Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Race”. It is a racing game developed to allow players to control an avatar in a virtual race with just their thoughts. This game was featured two years ago in Cybathlon, a championship for people with disabilities who use advanced assistive devices, such as robotic technologies. The following video shows the game at Cybathlon 2016:
The Community trying the brain-controlled virtual race – everyone gets to run in the virtual world!
I remembered watching Cybathlon on TV two years ago. But how could I have imagined I’d be playing one of their games at my workplace with just a small device similar to a call center headset?
The key to the game is to stay relaxed and focused at the right moment. Just these two ways of control for the whole game. Sounds easy, right? Not really! During the game, I was actually rather confused and had a feeling that the avatar I controlled always did not seem to be well controlled. However, I still finished the race first, with my competitors finishing just seconds later. I’m sure victory will never be with me if I have to run in reality.
I really enjoyed my time at Rollivision this year. Honestly, if I didn’t work at Swiss Paraplegic Research, I wouldn’t have noticed fairs like Rollivision – which would be a pity because it’s such a great opportunity for us, the non-wheelchair users, to learn more about the wheelchair community through exhibitions, as well as talks about research on spinal cord injury (SCI), assistive technologies and so on.
In addition, I am delighted about cases such as Hans and Francesco. When I first met Hans, I was a bit puzzled. I thought, “he doesn’t look like he has SCI… maybe he is one of those people with SCI who doesn’t need an assistive device to move around? Why is he here?” It turns out that Hans has no SCI and none of his family members and close friends has SCI or need to use a wheelchair. However, he is interested in the topic of disability and sometimes he does accompany a young man with severe disabilities on the train because he knows the young man likes to travel by train.
Hans (left) and Francesco (right): the Community brings people with and without SCI together.How about Francesco? Hans found the Community’s article about him on Facebook. In order to write a comment to Francesco, Hans registered on the Community website – and only a few days later he joined us at Rollivision coming all the way from Winterthur! In fact, it was also the first time for Francesco and Hans to meet each other in person. How wonderful that is!
The integration between Hans and Francesco is like a dream come true for the Community. It is encouraging that our Community does not only offer a platform for the SCI community to exchange views and information but is also able to bring people, with and without SCI, together. We look forward to witnessing a lot more of this within and outside of the Community.
Have you missed us at Rollivision this year? Here are more glimpses of what happened:“Esteemed Contributor” Francesco and “Community Manager” Johannes at the Community’s booth at Rollivision.
Do you dare skydiving with this wheelchair?Q&A session after Prof. Dr. Armin Gemperli presented some of the latest research conducted by his team at Swiss Paraplegic Research.Meeting handbike legend Heinz Frei (front, left) after Prof. Gemperli’s (back, left) presentation.
What’s better to do after lunch celebration? Checking out the Community together. The Cybathlon team HSR Enhanced demonstrates their robotic wheelchair on the runway of obstacles resembling the runway used in Cybathlon 2016.“Wow! My dream wheelchair!”, which costs 16’000 CHF but can only operate for 30 km with full battery.
Left to right: Francesco, Hans, Johannes (not sleeping but relaxing with eyes closed as a race strategy ) and Kit Wan joining the brain-controlled virtual race.You may also read another first-hand experience of Rollivision and first-visit at Swiss Paraplegic Centre shared by Hans on our forum post “Ein Jahr Community – feiert mit uns!” (EN: One year Community – celebrate with us!; in German only).
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