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AT&T, Permobil expand IoT concepts with connected wheelchair

Telecommunications giant AT&T and health IT company Permobil have developed a proof of concept solution that wirelessly connects wheelchairs to incr...

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|Sep 22|magazine11 min read

Telecommunications giant AT&T and health IT company Permobil have developed a proof of concept solution that wirelessly connects wheelchairs to increase the independence and freedom of a user with disabilities.

As recently reported by our sister brand Business Review America Latina, “the chair has wireless IoT (Internet of Things) by AT&T for monitoring comfort, performance, maintenance requirements and location.”

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The solution, which is being developed and tested at the AT&T Foundry for IoT innovation, allows users to access data that impacts their everyday lives and can be remotely accessed in the secure cloud. Information can then be shared with caregivers, fleet technicians and clinicians.

“The connected wheelchair is a great example of how the AT&T Foundry can quickly collaborate with a customer on a proof of concept to bring connectivity and intelligence to a new range of devices,” said Mike Troiano, Vice President AT&T Industrial IoT Solutions in an issued release. “We’re using innovative technology to solve real-world problems and, in this case, potentially improve quality of life.”

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Three aspects of the wheelchair the solution monitors include:

Seating position and cushion pressure: Users will know if their seat cushion pressure is out of range which can lead to life-threatening pressure ulcers.  The solution complements Permobil’s Virtual Seating Coach, an app and cloud service that presents seating system information and tracks if users are following recommended seat function regimens.

Battery level and predictive maintenance requirements: Manufacturers/dealers will know when a chair needs to be serviced by remotely accessing error codes. This enables single-trip service visits.

GPS location and fleet management: Manufacturers/dealers can quickly and efficiently schedule demos and appointments. Caregivers gain greater peace of mind.

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The connected wheelchair uses AT&T IoT technology that includes a Global SIM, AT&T Control Center and developer solutions like M2X and AT&T Flow Designer.

For over 45 years, Permobil has led the complex rehabilitation power wheelchairs industry. The connected wheelchair shows how Permobil strives to develop products that strengthen their users' ability to control and interact with their surroundings.

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 “Our ‘Guiding Star,’ when developing any product, comes directly from company founder, Dr. Per Udden, who has stated that every person with a disability has the right to have his or her handicap compensated as far as possible by aids with the same technical standard as those we all use in our everyday lives,” said Olof Hedin, Permobil Chief Information Officer. “Permobil’s collaboration with the AT&T Foundry is the epitome of how to bring today’s technology into the complex rehabilitation arena to benefit users, clinicians and stakeholders.”

The two companies said they plan to continue to enhance the connected wheelchair concept and add services like access to home controls and remote monitoring to increase user independence and freedom.

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