"You realize that they're exactly right," Sita said. She smiled, stopped. "You know, when the first walkaway prostheses project started, most of the people contributing had lost an arm or a leg in Belarus or Oman, and were tired of paying loan sharks for something that hurt and barely worked and could be remotely repossessed by an over-the-air kill-switch if they missed a payment. But once they got here and started living, realized how much had been left on the table by conservative companies that didn't want to get into a patent fight and didn't see any reason to add advanced functionality to something that you didn't have any choice about, they got radicalized.
"They stopped saying 'I just want to make an arm that'll get through the day,' and started saying 'I want an arm that does everything my old arm did.' From there, it was a short step to 'I want an arm that's better than my old arm.' And from there, it was an even shorter step to 'I want an arm that's so outrageously awesome that you'll cut off your own to get one.'
"I'm suspicious of any plan to fix unfairness that starts with 'step one, dismantle the entire system and replace it with a better one,' especially if you can't do anything else until step one is done. Of all the ways that people kid themselves into doing nothing, that one is the most self-serving."
I think why so many people want to "dismantle the system" is exactly the same reason that less-experienced engineers push for rewrites: it seems easier to build a good system from scratch, than it does to build the skills required to refactor what you already have into what you need.
(Not to mention, the skills to understand what you actually need!)
Because, more often than not, it turns out that the old system had evolved to deal with a crazy number of edge-cases that were, in fact, really, really important.
Also, and connected: there seems to be this odd zeitgeist of "make other people solve things".
Like, most of us think homelessness is bad, and most of us want to help the homeless, but how few people actually directly invest their own money -- which I would argue is more important than donating time -- towards actually solving that problem?
If I lived in the US, I'd be half-tempted to do a YouTube series where all I do is run around, ask people what they think the biggest problem is in society, and then ask them how much money they've spent to help fix it. Might be interesting, especially if I could do so with a curated list of charities (e.g., ones that don't just pocket the money for nefarious purposes)...
The problem is that a lot of crufty old systems evolved to deal with a crazy number of edge cases that no longer exist.
Or they started out with a bad assumption, and then had some hacks applied to deal with the problems that caused, and then had some other hacks applied to deal with the problems those hacks caused, until nobody can see from one end to the other.
It's important to be able to tell the difference between something which is complicated because it's dealing with a complicated problem and something which is complicated because it's hot garbage.
> Like, most of us think homelessness is bad, and most of us want to help the homeless, but how few people actually directly invest their own money -- which I would argue is more important than donating time -- towards actually solving that problem?
The trouble with many of these issues is that they're results rather than causes.
Why is someone homeless? For one person it's mental illness, for another it's unemployment, for another it's drugs, for another it's housing costs.
So if you want to solve homelessness, all you have to do is solve mental health, unemployment, drug policy and zoning. And then six other problems that caused six other people to be homeless.
Which, it turns out, somebody needed to solve anyway, but now you've got to pick something to focus on. And I think that's where people have trouble.
Totally true! But it's usually a lot easier to factor those cases out than to rebuild the entire thing from zero.
> It's important to be able to tell the difference between something which is complicated because it's dealing with a complicated problem and something which is complicated because it's hot garbage.
My rule-of-thumb here is "If you have to force people to use it over alternatives, you can safely throw it out. And possibly not even bother replacing it."
> So if you want to solve homelessness, all you have to do is solve mental health, unemployment, drug policy and zoning. And then six other problems that caused six other people to be homeless.
If you want to solve all homelessness, sure.
But there is something to be said for helping fix real problems, for real people, now. To make the world that tiny bit better. And in doing so, you gain a more nuanced view of the problem you are solving, which makes you better at proposing and evaluating proposed solutions.
I think too many people end up in this weird place where you have to solve either all of the problem, or none of the problem -- evolutionary change just doesn't seem to be on the table.
Probably not the first and definitely not the last time that idea will be tried in sci-fi (and out of).
I can't recall what story but there's one where operations people have twice the usual complement of fingers.
There's also a guy who hacked the interface for his prosthetic arm to directly control a sound board. Why go analog-digital-analog-digital-analog when you can skip two steps in the middle?
Without knowing much about the couple's relationship, I would say they are trying to create a design that allows for other outdoor terrains, such as a dirt road. If you imagine a traditional wheelchair design, the subtle bumps and dips on a dirt road would make it taxing for the rider or anyone assisting them. Jerry's Rig tries to mitigate those issues to offer a quality of life improvement so that wheelchair bound outdoorsy people can still be outdoorsy people.
Like codekansas said, people can very quickly scope creep into making an all together badass arm when all the person wants is something to get them through the day.
By the way, I read @codekansas' comment  not as a warning about feature creep, but as a comment on the inertia in the medical industry (emphasis on "industry") versus just a few enthusiasts who don't feel bound by patents, conventions and markets, and simply want to build something to improve their lives.
I've thought about what a cool wheelchair would be like since the 'regular' stuff that exists seems disappointing. I wonder if e-bikes and more accessible battery packs are what make this possible now.
I think there's a lot of opportunity in this space for making something that you'd actually want to use if you were disabled.
A lot of the stuff that exists in the current market seems overpriced (though I'd guess there are regulatory reasons for this and it's not a simple fix).
I'm glad they made this, hopefully more people will hack on things like this too.
His name is Zach...
Not to mention electrical power (Vs. gas in the competition) definitely could result in the user being stranded, even if it has a power-usage monitor (given how environmental factors can impact non-air conditioned batteries).
But then again I don’t want to exclude the population who are capable of doing this independently.
This really looks like something that can be improved relatively easily. Instead of disconnecting, the pole could slide along the bar when released and click back when raised again. In other words, it's either an early implementation issue, or a cost saving trick, not a spec problem.
Edit: Actually I checked again and Outrider has a semi-off-road vehicle for $5k now which is pretty cool.
Holy mother, I had no ideas they could be so expensive!
Out of curiosity (and unfortunately because I might need one myself before too long :(, I just had a quick Google here in the UK, and I can't find any more expensive than $3k. I'm not sure if you meant "normal" electric-powered wheelchair, or something else?
There's a lot of people that use wheelchairs for part-time use. When I was considering getting one, I could walk a couple minutes but couldn't go farther without injuring myself further. Having something cheap that could get me some freedom back would have been worth it, even if it's not perfect.
What kind is it? Here in the UK the typical price I'm finding is ~£1000, with high end models ~£3000
This video shows bikers of many different abilities using many different kinds of bikes and it shows how versatile bikes can be for different people.
I'm kinda curious why it's a quad-wheel system rather than a tricycle. At 2:28 in the video I linked, there's someone paralyzed that uses a tricycle to go off-roading (two wheels in the front, one in back with a hub motor). I'm not saying there isn't a reason for the 4-wheeled system, I'm just wondering what if offers.
Cue Mr Bean and a Reliant Robin: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=mr+bean+reliant+robin&iax=videos&i...
Those were single-wheel in front, two wheels in back. I guy from my high-school rolled one and broke his wrist, back in the day.
From growing up on a farm, tractors with tricycle gear in the front don't work as well in the snow, and I'm not certain why this is. I think it's because you have to break three paths through the snow rather than two. In addition, a four wheel setup in snow tends to go in a straight line. If you get tricycle gear stuck in a rut, you're going sideways and it can be difficult to maintain a straight line.
Also, lets be real, this assumes side walks and bike lanes are even available.
I like the product, though. Seems like good people trying to do a good thing.
Good medical equipment is always going to be expensive.
Mist disabled folks won't be able to afford this, and, of the ones that can, they may not want or need them.
That doesn't mean they shouldn't make them, but they probably won't get rich on them.
If anyone watched the Apple keynote, one of the sessions was introduced by Meg Frost, who rides the most badass wheelchair I've seen: https://youtu.be/GEZhD3J89ZE?t=1299
and it has some nice off-road capabilities.
I can't find his website but he appears to be active on instagram
Even if the "Not a wheelchair" has a lower speed, and less off-road capabilities than the Swincar, it still seems like roll protection could be a useful safety system.
I guess they're relying on the light[er] weight?
I had unsubscribed to every other smartphone review channel as I'm not going to change my smartphone every other day and at the same time I want to keep myself apprised of the developments in smartphone hardware; JRE serves me perfectly for that.
The only political video I've seen of him is the recent video he did with other youtubers asking people to vote, that's all, there was no mention of any party and in-fact someone in the video explicitly said 'vote for anyone, but please vote'.
Unfortunately, asking people to vote is seen as a threat by one side of the political spectrum; however foolish that is in a democratic country.
This is without taking a stand in the matter - which is good.
While a device with bunch of features would be better, most people with disability don't need features, they need something reliable to move around that doesn't require huge fortune to keep running.
From what I see this thing is so simple nobody will have trouble repairing it with regular tools and off the shelf parts so most people will be able ask family member to get it repaired.
I think you also would need to guarantee that both engines are aiming for (about) the same speed, even in corners or when tire pressure changes. That might require something technically similar to ABS.
Also, does this have a differential on the back axis? I couldn’t spot it, but that may be because I don’t know what they can look like on these relatively low-powered devices.
Equal torque is good enough. They'll settle to speeds consistent with turning, etc.
Since they're independent motors, you don't need to worry about the case where a wheel is spinning stealing all of the torque.
> Also, does this have a differential on the back axis? I couldn’t spot it, but that may be because I don’t know what they can look like on these relatively low-powered devices.
I don't see it. Often ATV, etc don't have them: you get enough wheel slip on low traction surfaces that turning works fine, and the prospect of one wheel with impaired traction stealing all the torque is bad.
There's those Russian sidecar bikes.. they have just a clutch for the second rear wheel. If you're on a paved surface, you use one driven wheel, but if you're offroad and could use 2WD, you can engage the clutch (and slippage does the job of a differential).
Eh, you'll still want to redistribute torque if you're planning to accelerate hard. After all, accelerating shifts weight onto the rear wheels, giving them more traction and the front less.
Front wheel skids aren't acceptable as you use them to steer. And limiting your rear wheels to the amount of torque that would make the front wheels slip means you're leaving a fair bit of performance on the table. And presumably getting more performance is the whole point of going 4wd!
Or you can just size your motor(s) a little smaller in the front. Or just cope with this.
> And presumably getting more performance is the whole point of going 4wd!
Being less likely to get stuck and not be able to put down torque at all vs. a differential and RWD is the big performance win. Being able to run each wheel precisely at the limit of traction is great if you want to be quick off the line, but that's not why most off-road vehicles are 4WD.
Not sure what a good way to run power to the front of it would be esp given the steering system and two front axels
One way to solve it would be to have only single wheel powered. If you get that one powered wheel lifted you could shift your weight to tip entire vehicle (assuming you took care to load it evenly).
Its clearly being marketed to disabled people as a mobility device, which makes it a wheelchair, and makes it a class II medical device that must have design controls.
He's in for a rude awakening by a visit from the FDA.
I'd look into those user groups for info.
The turning radius isn't that great, and the lack of a differential helps explain why. Definitely an interesting design choice.
Having built two recumbent vehicles (a bike and a trike) I can say that the options for a rear wheel drive are either:
- Single wheel drive
- Dual wheel drive with freewheeling action
- The inside wheel is driven in turns
- The outside wheel is driven in turns
- Both wheels are driven equally all the time
For reference, this is my current trike build. It's not done yet. Needs finishing, and paint:
You can drive all 4 wheels then which will do even better off-road, and the suspension actually gets a lot simpler since you can totally do away with streering and all the assocaited geometry.
But even on a hard surface it might work just fine, because the turning radius looks pretty shallow.
The advantage is that a solid axle is simple, cheap, reliable, and performs well in low-traction situations.
With direct drive motors, you have to make a pretty big compromise somewhere:
* Two smaller motors (same total power): drastically less torque per wheel
* Two larger motors (>2x total power): somewhat less torque per wheel (still don't have gearing!), cost, weight
If you're adamant on avoiding the solid axle, I think a good-ish solution might be hub motors on all four corners. That way you're far less likely to depend on a single wheel to get you moving.
Or alternatively, a locking diff in the rear (forget about LSDs). They usually provide some gear reduction, so you can skip the chain and drive it directly with the electric motor.
In short, the solid axle is a really good choice that you would be hard pressed to replace, without making a sizeable compromise somewhere.
That being said, I'm kinda more partial to the adaptive mountain bikes like the Sport-ONs. Two wheels in front, one powered wheel in back, and a more "aggressive", sporty posture for the rider. Clearly a different market and twice the price as the Rig. It seems to me that the Rig could be a lot more comfortable and competent with some changes.
Jeremy P. McGhee seems to be a reseller and booster of them.
Here's a video of him and another guy riding them along with a friend of mine (the guy on 2 wheels).
The Rig with it's capability for cargo, reminds me of an industrial bike like a Worksman.
But I have to admit, I saw "not a wheelchair" and was a little disappointed that it wasn't a strandbeest chair.
Shut up, I'm not crying. You're crying!
I fail to see benefit compared to ATV - I just checked some shops and you can buy brand new gasoline ATV for like 3000USD, electric ATV around 5000USD. ATV will be faster, cheaper and have better range than this
This is basically a recumbent four-wheel electric light-duty fatbike. It's a niche and I think it's cool.
One could just as easily compare an electric bike to a honda ruckus.
Probably not the best terminology to use on a post about people with disabilities.
You've obviously never hung around with people with disabilities. "Political correctness" is not exactly their/our long suit.
One of my favorite experiences was watching a group of people with learning disabilities call each other "retard" and crack up every time.
Don't even get me started about Deaf people and the jokes they make about people that can hear when they think you're not watching.