Man’s Best Friend Can Do His Own Laundry And Yours Too

Man’s best friend has moved another notch up the list, and if you don’t have a dog, you just might after reading this. This just in! Company in the UK has designed a washing machine that can be operated by dog. That’s right; Fido can now do his own laundry and yours too!

The “Woof to Wash” is the new creation from UK laundry specialist, JTM Service and Miele Professional, but before you get to excited, it wasn’t designed for lazy people to exploit their pooch into doing the choirs. Yet, a good thought… HMMMMM

This innovative design and concept was actually designed to help those with physical challenges; more particularly, those who currently benefit from use of a service dog in their daily lives. The team came up with the design after seeing how mainstream design keeps developing complex digital controls that are never friendly toward the disabled user. They thought there must be something they can do, and that they did; introducing “Woof to Wash”, the revolutionary washing machine that can be operated by Fido.
Here is how it works. Just as these dogs endure rigorous training in learning assistance behaviors, they too learn the steps of operating the machine. Seems simple enough; after all, these dogs are very smart, trained professionals with a PhD. (enter your own acronym here).

Dog operates washing machine

Amazing Animals for Amazing People

First, the dog unlocks the door by pushing a paw against a specially designed footpad which unlocks the door. Then the dog opens the door by pulling on the specially designed handle; opening the front-load washer.
Second, the dog loads the clothes into the washer, by mouth. Being gentle of course…
Third, the dog closes the door and barks as he trots away, so proud of his accomplishment. By the way, the bark signals the washer to begin its wash cycle; no buttons to push, or dials to turn.
Now I know what you’re thinking, how does the dog pour in the detergent? Well, in short they don’t. There is a bottle of detergent above the machine and it automatically prefills the machine prior to use, and again after each use. After all, they don’t have opposable thumbs; yet…, but give them time.
Note to self: Train Fido to fold the laundry.
Seriously, this invention has great potential. Making yet another task that many take for granted, easier and more manageable for those with a physical challenge to accomplish. For that, we salute all those special companions and their trainers for their hard work and dedication; and of course those inventors and designers for thinking outside the box.
If you would like to learn more about this new invention, click here.

GETTING OUT OF TOWN ON AN ACCESSIBLE ADVENTURE

If you could travel ANYWHERE in the world, where would you go? The Grand canyon? Paris France? New York? Disney World? Basically the sky is the limit, because many of these locations are accessible for people who use power chairs and scooters. And take it from me, I know first hand how challenging it can be to travel if you have special needs. I helped my mom who had Parkinson’s Disease for 30 years, and we had many family adventures. We learned to not let a wheelchair, walker, or portable oxygen get in our way. Needless to say, I picked up numerous tricks along the way, and here are a few to share.

Before you go, figure out how you are going to travel to your destination. Sometimes it is easier for people using power chairs or scooters to do a “road trip”. In fact, this option has become quite popular, as most major cities have companies like, Superior Van and Mobility, that rent wheelchair accessible vans by the day or week. However, if your dream destination happens to be to far to drive, there are always air travel and train options.

Some other tips…

1. Plan and pack ahead of time for any trip. Packing should start with a trip to the drug store to get all medications filled, and be sure to pickup duplicate bottles, plastic bags and anything else you may need on your trip. Take pictures of all the medications you take, and make a copy of your insurance card to keep elsewhere off your person. Also, be sure to include EVERYONE in the planning and packing stages of the trip. This will help in making sure nothing of necessity is left behind.

2. If taking a “road trip”, do a test run. This will help everyone involved feel good about the trip and less stressed. I suggest you pack up the vehicle, power chair, and a picnic basket and head to the park. All the while, pay particular attention to how much space and time it takes to get going, and how long everyone holds up in travel. Remember, power chairs and scooters have limited battery power, so work within those limits.

3. Bring food with you. It’s okay to snack on cereal, or even yogurt during a car ride. You should focus on bringing HEALTHY FOOD that EVERYONE CAN EAT and ENJOY! Try to stay away from foods high in sugar as they will aid in increasing drowsiness.

4. If you are driving, remember that it may be important to take breaks. Be creative with the breaks, and have some fun. We once stopped at a gas station because my brother saw a LIVE BEAR sign. We’ve also stopped just to visit the largest McDonalds in the world, many farmers markets, and more mom & pop stores than I can name. Taking breaks during the trip will help keep everyone from getting board, and in a much better mood.

5. Dress for comfort, and take things with you that make you feel comfortable. This may include your favorite slippers, music, videos, pillow, or stuffed animal.

6. Have a back up plan. You never know when someone might fall ill, or if the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. By having some flexibility in the trip you will not feel hard pressed to GO-GO-GO all day and night. Remember, this is a vacation…

7. Finally, remember to take your sense of humor, kindness, and an extra dose of patience with you. Many times people with special needs may need a bit more
time and understanding to enjoy things with you. We always seemed to find many activities that were both accessible, and fun for EVERYONE!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this. Don’t let the planning of your trip ruin the experience. If overwhelmed, or fearful of leaving your comfort zone, ask for help. The world has so much to see, get out and enjoy every bit you can, but if you find yourself needing help, contact a professional vacation planner. You’ll be glad you did. Once such company is Vacation by V. They specialize in planning vacations for families with members who are physically challenged. They can handle all the details right up to actually planning the outings while at your destination. If you would like more information on Vacation by V, or would like a complimentary 20 minute vacation consultation, you can contact them by visiting www.vacationbyv.com.

Which Cushion is the Best fit for Your Wheelchair?

When it comes to choosing comfort for your wheelchair, one of the most important factors is the cushion. Sure, when you’ve just been using a wheelchair, the cushions may not be a priority on the list of concerns. However, the type of cushion you choose can be the deciding factor in a comfortable chair versus a chair that will wreak havoc on your back, so choose your cushions wisely.

Here are the three most common types of cushions used today. Which one is best for you!

Foam Cushions
Just like mattresses, there are now wheelchair cushions that are equipped with memory foam. These types of foams can adapt to any shape and provides an even level of support. Another benefit of using foam cushions is that they are, for the most part, relatively inexpensive. You should note, however, that foam cushions tend to wear down faster than some other materials.
Gel Cushions
These cushions are typically comprised of pouches that are filled with gel and attached to a foam base. The purpose of gel cushions is to help with the support of any muscles that have atrophied or are on the verge of atrophy. Gel cushions are widely known for their amazing ability to redistribute pressure along varying areas of the body.

One of the downsides to gel cushions is that they tend to be rather heavy. From time to time, the gel can also separate, leaving you with nothing more than a flat cushion that doesn’t serve its purpose at all. They are also not known for softening any sort of impact.

Air Cushions
These cushions support the body on a literal bed of air. This helps to spread pressure evenly by air as it is shifted out to surrounding balloons. These cushions provide support similar to a gel cushion, but without the risk of thinning out or separating.
There aren’t many downsides to air cushions, although they can be a little less stable for individuals who are constantly on the go.

Need a Prosthesis or a Spare Part? Print One at Home…

The future is here… I have heard about it, but have yet seen an actual application or use. I’m talking about 3D printers, and the ability to make useable items & spare/replacement parts at will in your home. That’s right… I said “print one” at home!

Here’s the buzz… One day soon, every household will have a 3D printer. Instead of going to the store to purchase an item or spare part to fix a broken appliance, etc., you will instead purchase a download online. Once you open this download on your computer, you will then simply hit “Print”, and before you know it, your item will appear.

Seems crazy right? Well… Not as crazy as it sounds. There are individuals who are already using these printers in their daily lives, and with great success. In fact, I ran across this news story recently that I felt I had to share. It was about a boy with a birth defect who didn’t have any fingers on his left hand. Frustrated with the cost of a prosthesis, his father happened to stumble across a design for a 3D printable prosthetic. The rest is history… His son now has a basic prosthetic that has actually changed his life for the better, and the best news for the father is that it only cost a few dollars to make. See the video here.
While this innovation seems very promising in making our lives easier, I can’t seem to get past how it could also further change our lives as we know it for the worst. One of the most fearful aspects that crossed my mind almost immediately, is how will this technology affect jobs in the future. If 3D printers become so mainstream that anyone can basically afford to own or rent one, and if nearly anything can be printed on one, will there be any need to keep factories open? Plus, if there are no factories, won’t the logistic industries be the next to take a huge hit?
To me, there are still a lot of unanswered implications of such a device, which I’m sure will soon come to light, as mainstream has already begun the process of adopting this new technology. Printers are already on the market for consumer use at around $2000. For now, only time will tell how this technology will truly impact life as we know it, but you have to admit… it is pretty neat!