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New wheelchair may help spinal cord injury victims

Spinal cord injuries can dramatically impact a person's quality of life in a negative way in West Virginia. For instance, a person may suffer from incontinence. He or she may also be unable to move his or her limbs, experience spasms or lose the ability to feel touch, heat and cold. A new type of wheelchair, however, was recently created with the goal of making the lives of spinal cord injury victims easier.

In another state, a veteran received a state-of-the-art wheelchair designed by students at a university. This wheelchair responds to a person's facial movements. As a result, the veteran can now move around independently simply by moving his face.

The wheelchair harnesses electronic signals that are sent from the brain of an individual to his or her muscles when the person makes a facial expression. Sensors are connected to the person's face to interpret these signals; then, the sensors send the signals to the wheelchair in order to cause it to move. A person may move the right side of his or her jaw to go right and then the left side of his or her jaw to go left. The students who created the technology have been collaborating with a nonprofit called Limbitless Solutions to produce bionic arms for injured children. The organization is hoping to develop the wheelchair technology more for use by other individuals throughout the nation with spinal cord injuries.

Sometimes a spinal cord injury happens as a result of vehicle accidents or slip-and-fall accidents for which another person was responsible. In this situation, the injured party may choose to file a personal injury claim against the reportedly at-fault party or parties. If liability is appropriately established in a West Virginia civil court, a judge will adjudicate claims for damages.

Source:, "Paralyzed vet on the move with UCF student-designed wheelchair", Jeff Allen, Nov. 24, 2015

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