Brentwood, Tenn. (April 11, 2019) – Numotion, the nation’s largest provider of complex rehab technology, has announced it will soon offer an innovative new system, Independence Drive, that enables powered wheelchair users to control their chair using only their eyes. Independence Drive is an alternative drive control system for wheelchairs that empowers more people to remain independently mobile.
The concept originated when Steve Gleason, a former NFL player who played for the New Orleans Saints from 2000-2008 and living with ALS, issued a challenge during a Microsoft hackathon in 2014. His challenge was to help improve technology for people with ALS and other disabilities that would enable them to move their wheelchairs through eye tracking. Microsoft created a research prototype that demonstrates the feasibility of eye-controlled wheelchair navigation. That work inspired Gleason’s foundation, Team Gleason, to independently pursue developing a system to enable control of wheelchairs via eye tracking.
“There are still no treatments for ALS, but because of technology, people like me are able to remain productive and purposeful for years, even decades,” said Gleason. “Unfortunately, when I was diagnosed, the available technology was severely lacking and incredibly expensive. Because of this, Team Gleason decided that we would work with innovative partners to develop and provide cutting edge, cost-effective solutions to stay independent.”
Evergreen Circuits, in partnership with Team Gleason and Jay Smith, who is also living with ALS and is the former CEO and Founder of Livid Instruments, an Austin, Texas-based music technology company, took the concept and created what is now Independence Drive. Gleason and Smith have personally been using the technology on their own wheelchairs since 2015.
Numotion has signed on to market and distribute Independence Drive through its 150 branch locations and its team of more than 400 Assistive Technology Professionals across the country. The system will be available nationally in late May of this year.
“Independence Drive is one of the most exciting innovations we’ve seen in our industry,” said Mike Swinford, CEO of Numotion. “The technology has the ability to significantly improve the independence and mobility of people living with ALS and others who have limited physical abilities. People fighting neuromuscular diseases have needed a breakthrough like this for quite some time. They deserve better solutions and we are incredibly honored to help bring this technology to market.”
Although Independence Drive was originally developed to help patients fighting ALS, there is potential for it to help people with other diseases and medical conditions ranging from spinal cord injuries to Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and a host of others.
To learn more about Independence Drive, click here.
Numotion is the nation’s leading provider of Complex Rehab Technology (CRT), improving the lives of people with disabilities by enabling them to actively participate in everyday life. CRT is medically necessary, individually configured mobility products and services, including manual and power wheelchairs, designed to meet the unique medical and functional needs of individuals with significant disabilities and medical conditions to provide them with greater independence. Based in Brentwood, Tenn., Numotion has more than 150 locations across the country and serves more than 250,000 people. For more information, please visit www.numotion.com.
About Team Gleason
The Gleason Initiative Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit based in New Orleans, LA. Team Gleason was founded by former New Orleans Saints player, Steve Gleason, after his diagnosis with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2011. Team Gleason provides and supports people living with ALS through leading edge technology, equipment and services, works to create a global conversation about ALS, and raises public awareness of the disease by providing and documenting extraordinary life adventures for people with ALS, neurodegenerative diseases, or injuries. www.teamgleason.org.
About Evergreen Circuits
Evergreen Circuits is an assistive technology company in Seattle, WA that helps empower those living with disabilities through circuitry. Initially focused on ALS and wheelchair technology, Evergreen Circuits is expanding into new customer populations and other problems unsolved by the durable medical equipment market.