Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wheelchair Kamikaze

This doesn't have much to do with the iBOT, (although he does talk about being face to ass level quite a bit in his videos), but this guy is so funny.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

6 days after the iBOT test flight

I think I've finally recovered emotionally from last weeks incident. My arm is still hurting. I ended up going to the doctor today. X-rays were taken. No breaks. It still hurts to push myself and do transfers though.

Day 5

Day 6

An IT tech came over to retrieve the data from the bot. I'll probably give them a call tomorrow to find out if they were able to determine what happened. Someone had left a comment here saying that there would be no info to retrieve since it didn't throw a wrench, but the IT tech said it would all be there. No offense to the anonymous person who left that comment, and even though it seems you are quite familiar with the iBOT, I don't know who you are. Therefore, I'm more trusting of the IT tech.

One of the ladies who saw me go down the stairs stopped by to see how I was doing. She said I was going so fast and she thinks my wheels never even touched the steps. Oh how I wish I had that on video! I could put it up on youtube and say, "Look how brave I am!" LOL. But seriously, I still feel extremely lucky that I didn't get seriously hurt or killed.

p.s. IT tech looked over the bot and said he didn't see any damage.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Update on my injuries

My arm/wrist doesn't hurt quite as much today. Doing transfers is very painful though, so I'm doing that as little as possible. I've had lots of people tell me I should go to the doctor, but that would involve numerous transfers, and I don't want to do that.

So pretty...

It itches like crazy today

As for other injuries, my shoulder is pretty raw today. Also, I originally did not think I bumped my head. Turns out I did. I've got a bump on the back of my head, but it only hurts when I touch it. Also, my neck hurts today.

I was talking to a friend this morning who also has an iBOT and he said that he has noticed that when the casters get stuck on something, it makes the iBOT "whip". I'm pretty sure this is what happened yesterday. It whipped and was out of control for a few seconds. I don't know, but maybe this happens with all powerchairs?

As for why it didn't tip over on me.... that is still a mystery. I think maybe I was going so fast that when I launched off that top step, I kinda flew down the steps. I looked at the landing this morning, and I can see where my footrest hit the landing and skidded for a few feet. I took video of it, but haven't uploaded it yet. I'll hopefully do that tonight.

I'm wanting to know exactly what happened so that a) I'll be able to possibly prevent it from happening again, b) I will know what to do if it does happen again, and c) iBOT engineers can better understand what happened and can maybe fix the problem in their future designs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I had an iBOT accident today

I was leaving my house this morning to take my dogs for a walk. I was in my iBOT, in Standard Function, and in Speed 2. There is about a 1 inch threshold to get over to get out my front door. If I hit it straight on, the iBOT casters get stuck on it. If i hit it at a bit of an angle, one caster will pop up onto it and then the other one will go up and over it as well. Today I hit it straight on. My dog was really, really excited to be going for a walk and so instead of wasting time by backing up my iBOT and hitting it at an angle, I decided to give it a little more power and I pushed the joystick forward. I held the joystick completely forward for just a second or two and right before I decided it wasn't going to work and I had to backup and hit it at an angle (or sometimes I transition to 4 Wheel Drive), it popped up over it. It didn't stop though after popping over it. At this point, I knew I was in trouble and so both my hands were trying to grab onto something so that I could pull myself out of the chair. Now normally after I get over the threshold, I turn to the left and go down my ramp. This time, completely out of my control, the iBOT went to the right, which is where the steps are. I saw I was headed for the steps and I couldn't stop the iBOT and also coudn't get myself out of the chair and I screamed, "No, no, no!" as in "No, I'm not ready to die!" because I knew I was about to go down those steps. Down the steps I went (there are five of them). I stayed in the iBOT down all 5 stairs. It was super fast and I think it was at full speed when it launched. I'm thinking it kinda flew down the stairs because it didn't tip over at all. It came to a complete stop about 2 feet from the bottom step. At this point, I fell out of the chair and I landed on my right side in my driveway. The iBot did not tip over and it did not run over me or land on me. Some ladies were walking by at the time and they picked me up and put me back in. The iBOT did not throw a wrench, and I drove it back into the house with no problems. I have a small scrape on my right knee, my right shoulder is scraped up, and my left wrist is swollen and bruised. I don't know what happened to my wrist but I think maybe I injured it when I was trying to grab onto something before I went down the steps. Amazingly I didn't break any bones (despite my osteoporsis) and I didn't even bonk my head. I'm finding it quite strange that I got away with such minor injuries. The iBOT does not seem to be damaged in any way.

I called IT. They are going to send a tech out to read the black box.

I suspect one of the following happened:

1) I don't know if this is possible, because I don't understand how this sort of thing works, but I'm wondering if when I was stuck on the threshold and holding the joystick forward, if it had that forward command "stored up", and so when it finally did get over the threshold it kept going. As for why it turned to the right instead of going straight forward, maybe I had been pushing it a bit to the right.

2) Maybe the joystick got stuck. It doesn't appear to be sticky. I know for sure I did not have my hand on the joystick after clearing the threshold. One time my grandma was backing out of her driveway and she swears she had her foot on the break, but she must have had it on the gas. She ended up crashed into the neighbor's house accross the street. I know I didn't have my hand on the joystick though because I was trying to grab things.

3) It's possible the the dog leash caught the joystick and was pulling it forward. I don't think this is what happened because I'm sure I dropped the leash as soon as I knew I was in trouble. Perhaps it snagged it though after I let go. But also, the dog wouldn't go to the right. Whenever we leave the house, we go to the left, so it makes no sense.

4) A person who uses an iGlide wrote this after she read about what happened to me: "I'm very interested in hearing what the iBot folks have to say. I had some malfunctions with my first iGlide (far more comical than serious -- the chair started going in circles backward at top speed), which all ended up being caused by people nearby using the pager function on their cell phones. Is the iBot also sensitive to cell phone towers, signals and such?"

Out of those 4, I'm thinking #1 caused it. #2 would be my second choice.

It was extremely scary. I was very calm right after it happened and the ladies who picked me up commented on that. But then I got inside and started crying and shaking. I cried for about 2 hours. I think that was partly due to the fact that it was terrifying, and partly due to the fact that I knew I could have been hurt badly but I somehow got away with minor injuries. I don't understand why the iBOT did not land on me, but if it had, it could have been disasterous. The thing weighs nearly 300 pounds. I'm fairly small and I weigh about 90 pounds. It seems to me that when the casters went down that first step, it should have tipped over forward and tumbled on top of me. As much as I hate the footrest system because it sticks out so far, I think it prevented it from tipping over.

Will I stop using the iBOT? Absolutely not! I still love it. I don't know if it malfunctioned or if the dog leash caught it. Even if it did malfunction, continuing to use the iBOT is worth the risk. Driving a car is quite risky, but I won't be giving that up either. I will just try to be extra careful when around stairs. I will also start thinking about how to get out of the chair if I'm ever in that situation again. I should have flipped my armrest up and then thrown myself out of the chair. That is what I will do next time, if there is a next time.

One more thought... the iBOT is really powerful. I'm sure it has to be powerful for the 4-Wheel Drive Funtion, but I'm wondering if it could be made so that it is not so powerful when in Standard Funtion? I know it has Speed 1 and Speed 2, and I suppose I should have been in Speed 1 until I got to the sidewalk. It seems to me that Speed 1 is very powerful, but at the same time, it is too slow. This is the only powerchair I've ever had, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I've always thought that the power was a bit too much.

I'd just like to say that I do not believe the iBOT malfunctioned when it when down my porch steps. I believe it was 100% user error. On top of that, I was very impressed that the iBOT did not tip over, and was in no way damaged.

I'd also like to say that although my wrist still hurts at times, I would take my iBOT and a wrist that hurts for the rest of my life over a painfree wrist and no iBOT.

Friday, April 17, 2009

YES! There is good news for the iBOT!

A must read article published this month:


I'm so very excited! I don't know what exactly is going on, but I've heard from more than once source that a big announcement regarding the iBOT will be released soon. It's going to happen on Tuesday, April 21st (my birthday!) at 10:00am EST.

Go here for more info:

iBOT users feeling guilty?

I was just chatting with another iBOT user and we were talking about how we feel guilty when we see other people in chairs who don't have an iBOT. As I've said here before, I really want EVERYONE who could benefit from an iBOT to have an iBOT. It truly is life-changing and it's unfair that only the rich or lucky have them.