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Transcript of SmartDrive MX2+
When considering what purpose this technology fulfills I looked at what customer jobs where being taken care of. The functional job that the SmartDrive fulfills is the assistance with getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. This device also solves the problem of being able to carry items in your hand while still being able to get to your destination (tap to go feature). The social jobs that the SmartDrive fulfills is not having to rely on peers to help them get around. This device makes users stand out and gain attention from the public. Being able to get around independently makes SmartDrive users feel confident and excited. These emotions are important to maintain to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. The last customer task I will discuss is the basic need in which they are trying to satisfy. Having the main transportation of a wheelchair customers are trying to fulfill their basic need of moving. This device is essentially acting as customers legs, just running instead of walking.
HOW SOCIETY ACCOMPLISHED THE SAME TASK PREVIOUSLY
Prior to the SmartDrive MX2+ society/the wheelchair community was stuck manually pushing their chairs. This means that certain wheelchair users were limited to where they were able to travel, and if they could go places by themselves. Essentially Max Mobilities creation of the SmartDrive was the first opportunity for wheelchair users who had limited function to travel long distances by themselves and truly be independent. For those who were brave enough to go on long trips or even just over plush hotel carpets were faced with the long and tiresome consequences of hurt shoulders and dry hands. Or there is also the other option that wheelchair users had caretakers who would push them and help them maneuver through challenging terrain.
Although the SmartDrive MX2+ is the only product in the market of its kind, it is not the first motor assist product for wheelchairs. From research I conducted I found that the first motorized wheelchair dates back to 1916 and was manufactured in London. The motorized wheelchair was the first power assist device that enabled wheelchair users to become more independent. Motorized wheelchairs are a wonderful invention for people who have very little use of their upper body but they are very big and bulky products. This means that if you want to travel with it you have to either have a roll in accessible vehicle or a wheelchair carrier on the back of the vehicle. These vehicles can be hard to find and expensive to buy. The next power assist device I found is called the ZX-1, this piece of equipment is something that attached to a manual wheelchair and converts it to a power chair.
WHY IT CAME ABOUT
From personal experience I believe power assist devices came into the wheelchair community to allow people to be more independent in life. Before I had my device I would dread going places like the airport or mall because I knew I would have to push so much in order to get to my destination. This would cause me fatigue and in some cases even low blood pressure. For these reasons I would often have family members or friends with me just incase I was too tired to push so they could push me. The SmartDrive was invented to preserve the energy and body of wheelchair users so they would be able to travel places by themselves and feel like they are independent.
WHAT IS THE SMARTDRIVE MX2+?
The SmartDrive MX2+ is a power assist device that enables people in manual wheelchairs to push independently far distances and through rough terrain. This device is created by a company called Max Mobility which came out with their first model of the SmartDrive in 2012. Since then they have had models MX1, MX1+, MX2 and their current model which is the MX2+. Each model has become more compact and high tech, keeping up with the exponential rise in technology. The device is a two part product, the first part is the motorized wheel that can easily be attached and detached from underneath a wheelchair, and the second part is a wristband which controls when the device turns on and off. To start the device all a person needs to do is double tap with the wrist band. The motor starts to pick up speed and when the user finds the speed they want they just tap the wristband once to hold the speed, and to stop the device you double tap it again. This devices main purpose is to maintain users shoulders and arms and put the SmartDrive to work instead. I personally just received this device within the last month and I am obsessed with it. I take it to the grocery store, the mall and when I travel. I would say this device has helped most when traveling through airports. Most airports have carpet and inclines which means by the time I get to the terminal my arms and shoulders have had their work out for the day, but with my SmartDrive I can preserve my energy and have the motor assist do the work.
This would be an ideal piece of equipment for those people who want to go on off roading adventures. The ZX-1 weighs a total amount of 82 lbs making it pretty impossible for users to be able to pick up and put into the car themselves meaning they would still need to travel with a family member or friend if wanting to use it when out and about. This equipment allows manual chairs to be converted to power chairs when needed being to first innovation from full power chair to manual chair with power assist. The next best power assist devices I found on the market are power assist wheels. The power assist wheels are not an attachment to a manual wheelchair, they just take the place of the regular wheels. These wheels have a motor inside of the middle of the rim which detect when the wheels are pushed and then they continue to roll by themselves until braked on to stop. The only downside to these products is that each wheel can weigh from 15-20 pounds, making it difficult to break down your chair when needed. The technology since the first power chair in 1916 has come along way and I believe that there will be many more breakthrough in the world of power assist devices.
FACTORS THAT LED TO THE INVENTION/INNOVATION
The invention of smart drive came about when owner of Max Mobility, Mark Richter, saw an opportunity in the disabled community. Knowing a few employees of Max Mobility I had the opportunity to talk with them on how the product has evolved through the different models. The first model had a battery pack that was made to be carried with the wheel and slid under the seat of users. Since then the battery pack has been replaced by a lithium battery that can hold a much longer charge and is now installed directly inside the power assist wheel. This condensed the amount of time to set up the smart drive and also meant users didn’t have to haul two separate pieces when traveling. Along with the battery came a bluetooth wristband. This wristband was first introduced with the MX2 model, where the band would detect a tapping motion and stop the device. The innovation of the tap to stop wristband made is so people who don’t have enough hand strength to stop themselves could just tap the wristband to slow and stop. The current model, MX2+, has introduced a new wristband that is very similar to the fitbit. It has a screen that displays the time, battery life of wristband and SmartDrive and the settings. This model also came with an app called pushtracker. The app allows you to track how many pushes you have done throughout the day, month, and year. My favorite feature is the map my journey option, when turned on it will map out where you have traveled to. This new app update was catered to keep up with the technological savvy generations. Besides the app the MX2+ also has a new start and stop system. Instead of requiring a push to start it only requires a double tap of the wristband, this allows people to kick on the device at their easiest convenience.
Here is a video I was in where we performed with our SmartDrives. (I did not film or edit this video, just thought it would be cool to share).