More than a Gift: A Handybar

Here we feature products that are ideal gifts for family, friends or neighbours especially as they improve quality of daily life, independence and can help preserve lifelong pastimes or socialising opportunities.
In brief these are more than a gift for gift’s sake or products designed for a particular task; these are living assistance that impacts someone’s ability to go about their daily routine.
Their usefulness is explained from a user’s point of view in a catchy rhyme by our friend A People Person Poet.

Buy a HandyBar Now

Legal Rights to get help for your disabled child

Help for Families
The following information has been produced by the Children’s Equipment Section of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) along with Newlife, the Charity for Disabled Children, to help you understand your legal rights to assistance with the cost of getting the equipment or adaptations your disabled child needs.
As a member of the BHTA, Mysokoni.co.uk would like to ensure this vital information for Families is accessible and available to anyone that requires it. Republished by kind permission and a downloadable pdf file of this information is included at the end.

Download this leaflet as a pdf here:

BHTA Help For_Families; Your Legal Rights in getting help for your Disabled Child – 2018

Urgent Crisis of Disabled Children denied equipment

The needs of disabled children are being proactively ignored and abandoned by local authorities. Specialist equipment essential to assist children in their everyday lives is not being provided even though it is mandatory in law.
This dereliction of duty of care by local authorities has reached such a scale that Newlife, the charity for disabled children, has just launched a damning report at the House of Commons highlighting this unlawful treatment of our most vulnerable children.
Please read this week’s Press Release from Newlife which we are publishing with permission to highlight and support their battle for justice.

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO END EQUIPMENT CRISIS

Thousands of disabled children’s lives at risk
A disabled children’s charity will publish a damning report today exposing major and unlawful failings surrounding the provision of specialist equipment to some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.
Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children is urgently calling on the government to help those children whose lives are at risk because they don’t have the specialist equipment they need.
In its report, Equipment Crisis for Disabled Children, launched today at the House of Commons, the charity highlights why children are being deprived of specialist equipment like walking frames, specialist car seats and beds, and has published a practical four-point-plan to fix it.
“All children have the right to be safe and free from pain. They have a right to learn and a right to reach their potential regardless of diagnosis or disability,” explains Mrs Sheila Brown, OBE, Newlife CEO, and mum to two disabled children herself.
“But every single day severely disabled and terminally ill children are denied their fundamental rights because existing policies preclude them, or decisions are made based on frugality rather than health and necessity. The result is children are left to suffer in pain, their safety compromised, isolated from the world.”
83% of local authorities apply unlawful ‘blanket bans’ that restrict equipment
The use of blanket bans by local statutory services is widespread and challengeable in law. This is one of the points Newlife is calling for action on. Often used as a way to ration shrinking budgets, a blanket ban means local authorities refuse to provide a particular piece of equipment ‘under any circumstances’. Each authority has its own criteria for applying these bans for example; no wheelchair assessments for under threes and no walking frames for a child who will never walk independently. However, by far the most common is the blanket refusal to fund specialist, protective car seats for disabled children, irrespective of whether there is a medical need for one with 83% of local authorities applying such a ban.
89% of children MISSING from disability registers
Eight percent of children in the UK have a disability – just over 1.1 million children in all. The Children’s Act 1989 requires all local authorities in England ‘establish and maintain’ a register of children with a disability in their area. However, data exclusively obtained by Newlife shows less than 11% of children are included on local disability registers.
Sheila continues: “Knowing the true number of disabled children in need is crucial. If only 11% are visible to public authorities, it’s impossible to budget and plan resources and services effectively in order to meet the need. This also explains why local health and social care services are drastically failing to provide the care, support and equipment they need.”
Medical improvements mean children born with conditions or who develop disabilities because of illness or accidents are surviving but with very complex needs requiring intensive support and in most cases multiple pieces of specialist equipment.
Despite demand for equipment reaching critical levels, a quarter of local statutory services cut spending during 2016/17
Sheila continues: “There’s lots of complex reasons why children are being failed. The law protects their rights to live safely, to have the opportunity to learn and to reach their potential, whatever that may be.
“This matters to every family, cancers, accidents, birth defects and infections. These risks are with us every day. No-one thinks it will happen to them. I didn’t, but that’s the reality.
“We believe that if the government ‘fixes’ the four big issues highlighted here, then hundreds of thousands of our children will benefit.”

CASE STUDY ONE

Removing Barriers: ‘Not under any circumstances’

One of the biggest barriers preventing children from getting the specialist equipment they need is the widespread use of blanket bans by local statutory services – often used as a way to ration shrinking budgets.  Refusing to provide a particular piece of equipment ‘under any circumstances’ is unlawful and one of the points Newlife is calling for action on.

Each authority has its own criteria for applying blanket bans; the most common of which is a widespread refusal to fund specialist, protective car seats for disabled children, irrespective of whether there is a clear medical need for one.

83% of local authorities ‘don’t do’ specialist car seats for disabled children

Three-year-old Malachi almost choked to death on his Mum’s lap in the back of a London cab while his brother and sisters watched on because his local authority wouldn’t provide him with a protective car seat – despite his life depending on it.

Malachi has extensive brain damage and can’t support his own head.  If he’s not fully supported, mucus builds up in his throat which causes him to choke and vomit and sometimes stop breathing altogether.  Every car journey was a nightmare and some days his mum, Sylvia, had no choice but to take Malachi on up to eight journeys a day, taking his two sisters and brother to school.

She said: “During one journey, he stopped breathing.  He’d been sick and the thick secretions completely blocked his airway.  I thought he was going to die.”

Too frightened to travel - the whole family became housebound

Sheila Brown, said: “A specialist car seat is not a luxury item.  It tilts to stop children like Malachi who have compromised airways, from choking to death.  They have side and head supports so when a child has a seizure they won’t bang their head, causing them even more pain and distress.  But specialist car seats can cost up to £3500 which is far beyond many family budgets.

“The government needs to put an end to blanket bans and the ‘we don’t do’ mindset - Malachi is just one child who almost died because of it.   Every local authority and health service must have an identified, transparent process for reviewing equipment requests.”

If a child can’t walk, the NHS provide a wheelchair.  If a child can’t feed properly they provide a feeding system.  But if a child can’t use a standard car seat because their health and life is put at risk when they do – they need to provide an alternative.”

Sylvia Nyamaah- Malachi’s Mum
83% local authorities apply blanket bans to refuse providing specialist, protective car seats to disabled children despite, as in three-year-old Malachi’s case, there is a clear medical need for it.

 

CASE STUDY TWO

Removing Barriers: Children in crisis can’t get specialist equipment quickly enough

Some situations require specialist equipment in an emergency – when a child’s condition and associated behaviours put their lives at risk of serious injury or death.  Despite most local health and social care services having jointly commissioned integrated equipment stores to cater for the emergency needs of adults, no such public service exists to respond to the urgent, often life-threatening, needs of disabled or terminally ill children.  As a country we’re failing some of the most vulnerable in our society.

For the past five years Newlife has been running the UK’s first and only Emergency Loan service, delivering specialist equipment to disabled children in crisis within 72 hours of request.

If it hadn’t been for this emergency service a family in Sheffield would still be at breaking point – no-one in the house has slept properly for years.  Just getting to the end of each day is an achievement for Nikki and Simon Giles, who care for their three children, eight year old Isobel and seven-year-old twins Max and Freddie.

Max and Freddie both have ‘core’ autism and severe learning disabilities, while Isobel has ADHD and autism.

Over the last year Max’s condition has caused his behaviour to become more aggressive and agitated; breaking windows, injuring himself and those around him.  His erratic behaviour grows worse at night; banging and trying to break the windows, crawling around trying to escape.   If he does get out, he risks his life without realising.  He has no concept of danger, once climbing onto the roof of their terraced house ready to jump.

The sheer noise and upset has a knock-on effect triggering both Freddie and Isobel’s anxieties.

Having a safe and secure place for Max to retreat to at night – and during the day – would have a huge impact on everyone’s life, but specialist beds of this type are not readily available to help children like Max and never in an emergency.

Three-fold increase in emergency requests for equipment from local health care professionals in the last five years.

Sheila Brown, said: “We’ve proven an emergency equipment service works, but more worryingly, that there’s a desperate need for this type of rapid response for specialist equipment for children.   We must ensure that no child is in danger because they don’t have the right piece of equipment and are calling on government and local services to introduce local based emergency equipment services – it really is a matter of life and death for some children.”

Every day is a battle to keep Max safe from himself and the other children safe from Max.  My biggest fear is he’ll escape and drown in the lake over the road.  We do everything we can to keep him safe but it’s just not enough – we live in constant fear.”

Nikki Giles, Max and Freddie’s Mum

Just getting to the end of each day is an achievement for the Giles’ family from Sheffield. They are at breaking point.

About Newlife

Newlife is the UK’s leading charity provider of specialist disability equipment, spending £2.5 million a year providing equipment such as wheelchairs, specialist beds and car seats, walking and standing frames, and communication aids.Without Newlife thousands of disabled children, many of whom have reached crisis point would be living in pain, unsafe, unable to do the things that we all take for granted, and denied the opportunity to reach their potential.

Newlife Founder and Chief Executive Officer Sheila Brown, OBE, FRSM is a parent of disabled children and leading activist and speaker for the welfare and health of disabled children.  Sheila was awarded an OBE by the Queen in 2002 for services to child health.

More information about Newlife can be found at www.newlifecharity.co.uk or follow us Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with the latest Newlife news.

Poss-Ability TV Interview with Esi Hardy – Things People Say

The second video of an interview with Esi Hardy, Managing Director of Celebrating Disability, explores the reality of things people say to her as a wheelchair user that they would not otherwise say.

Her business is a disability equality consultancy helping businesses and educational establishments.

In this video Esi enlightens us on the effects of language choice, societal attitudes and stereotypes that are still prevalent in the 21st century. She discusses the frequently used terminology, commonplace attitudes, misplaced assumptions and misconceptions that are her everyday reality.

Esi helps us understand the meaning and nuances with examples of her own personal experience which give context and illustrate her point clearly.
She articulates so well the fundamental principle that people are people, whatever perceived differences we may have of each other.

She evokes that simple mutual respect, person to person, is a sound basis for positive interaction between folk. A highly recommended watch full of learning points, positivity and inspiration.

How to buy an ergonomic chair to manage posture and mobility

 

What does ergonomic mean?
it means an item is designed and engineered to maximise comfort, efficiency, safety and is enhanced to produce a positive interaction with the human user.
An ergonomic chair is an excellent solution for managing posture and mobility because they are engineered to align a healthy posture and provide comfort for anybody that sits for long periods of time.

General use of ergonomic chairs is for office workers who need to maintain a healthy posture all day to avoid unnecessary back problems but as we will illustrate its use goes well beyond the workplace and into the home.

In this article, we aim to explain the “need to know” of Ergonomic Chairs and provide some useful tips and helpful information if you are looking to buy one for yourself, a family member, a friend or person in your care.

Changing Lives

An ergonomic chair can be customised to suit the requirements and needs of any user making their use particularly important. Ergonomic chairs (in the case of Mercado Medic these are also medical devices for people living with disabilities) have changed the quality of life for people with mobility challenges by improving their independence, work and social opportunities.

Why use an ergonomic chair?

  • Allows a user to sit correctly and comfortably for long periods.
  • It protects the spine with positive posture management.
  • It optimises lumbar support preventing back stress.
  • It is adjustable to individual needs and can be customised no matter the physical challenges.
  • It is a stress-reducing workplace solution that increases productivity and is better for your overall health.
  • Its height adjustment means the user may not need to change their environments such as countertops and cupboards.
Ergonomic Chair vs. Ergonomic Mobility Chair

Ergonomic chairs as mentioned above are generally for people who sit for long periods of time (e.g. office desk) and get back strain. The ergonomic design of the chair reduces the strain and thus the pain when sitting for a long time. 

An ergonomic mobility chair is a medical device that provides the same as an ergonomic chair but has added benefits for people who would be unable to do daily activities or tasks, at home or in the workplace due to limited mobility. The ergonomic mobility chair provides additional functionalities such as rising, tilting and moving about through narrow hallways and doorways easily. Therefore, an ergonomic mobility chair is a highly functional medically certified device used indoors by people with mobility challenges who may sit for long periods of time.

Do you sit down a lot? Are you sitting properly?

A common use is for back stress-related concerns and work-related occupational health issues. A well designed ergonomic chair is engineered to support the lumbar region during sitting and protecting the natural curve of your spine. Achieving this prevents exacerbating injuries or creating back stress.

Let’s look first at the general application and some useful points to bear in mind if you decide an ergonomic chair is for you or someone you know.

silhouette of a person sitting at a computer desk in the right position

Important features to consider

The most important feature when sitting for prolonged periods is that your chair allows you to maintain the correct posture, as indicated in the diagram. To achieve this, you should consider the following elements of an ergonomic chair.

    • The Seat Height – For the office, the user should be able to rest their feet flat woman in an ergonomic chair reaching in high cupboardon the ground with their thighs in a horizontal position, and their forearms should be aligned comfortably with the height of the desk. A lever usually allows pneumatic seat height adjustment. A standard height range would be around 16” to 20” (41cm to 51cm) off the floor. Specialised mobility requirements can include redistribution of weight balance for amputees and paraplegics as well as additional, controllable seat heights for greater accessibility.
    • Depth and Width of Seat – this should accommodate any user so that their back is against the backrest while leaving 2” to 4” gap between the back of the knee and the seat edge. The tilt of the seat either backwards or forwards should also be adjustable. Standard widths would be between 17” and 20” (43cm-51cm). Tailor-made seats to manage any mobility challenges are available.
    • The Backrest – supports the natural curve of the spine, the lower back and encourages a good seated posture. Ideally, the backrest should be separate from the seat allowing for adjustment of the angle and height. However, if it is not separate, then the angle of inclination backwards or forwards should be adjustable with a position lock to avoid movement once adjusted to the user. A typical backrest should be 12” to 19” (31cm-42cm) wide. Tailor-made backrests to manage any mobility challenges are available.
    • The Lumbar support – this is an essential element of the ergonomic chair as it provides support to the natural inward curve of the lumbar region (lower back). Mobility models may incorporate this into the backrest design and can be referred to as managing “Trunk Stability”. Without correct lumbar support, a user will slouch and therefore “flatten” the natural curve of the spine, resulting in unnecessary pressure and stress on the lower spine structures which provoke avoidable health issues. Good lumbar support is adjusted in depth and height to ensure that it fits properly to the user’s inward curve of the lumbar region.
  • Seating materials – both the cushion and exterior material finish are important. Ideally a well-padded cushion, memory foam or ergonomically designed seat will prevent pressure points arising from prolonged use. Similarly, the external finish should be a breathable fabric that prevents “stickiness” or “overheating” from prolonged contact. Washable or waterproof options are useful options to consider.
  • Base and wheels/castors – the base is not only important for stability and support but provides suitable mobility for the environment of the user. An example is that many ergonomic chairs are used at home and manoeuvrability around the house in confined spaces require a robust design and narrow base versus the regular five wheeled larger wheelbase chairs. The type of flooring is also important in your choice of wheels. Similarly, a narrower wheelbase will not require office or home spaces to be adapted as would be necessary for larger base models or a standard wheelchair for example. These criteria apply to motorised mobility chairs and options are available.

Enhanced & adapted ergonomic chairs for specialised needs

There is an increasing demand for mobility chairs that meet the individual personalised requirements of disabled or ageing users.

young boy using ergonomic chair at dining table using crayons and smiling

A mobility chair is often a better solution than a wheelchair for home or office use as it provides greater freedom of mobility around spaces and allows for more work or leisure activities while still meeting the needs of users. The many functionalities available today mean people can continue working or enjoying pastimes that are difficult to achieve in a wheelchair.

Importantly a mobility chair offers a solution that can avoid costly building works, e.g. widen doorways or adjust kitchen counters, cookers and cupboards.

woman on ergonomic chair at narrow doorway

However, the important factor here is that individuals with special mobility needs get assessed by a professional who can then tailor-make a customised chair that matches exactly to their requirements.

Importantly a mobility chair offers a solution that can avoid costly building works to adapt doorways, kitchens etc.

Mini-Case Study

Mike (not his real name) is an elderly retired gent who lived adjacent to his local pub. Before his mobility challenges, he would pop next door for a pint and a game of darts to socialise. With a standard wheelchair, it wasn’t the same as he couldn’t get through the doorway unassisted, was always low down getting a crick in his neck during conversations, couldn’t reach the bar and couldn’t play darts. It was a game changer once he received his ergonomic seating chair. The narrow gauge allowed him to leave his house unaided, the power assistance allowed him to take the short path to the pub effortlessly and with the variable height adjustment, he could sit at bar height, join in conversations and of course play darts again.                                      Mercado Medic Customer

What is an assessment?

A personal visit by a professional who will take time to discuss and to understand the needs of the user including what they can and can’t do as well as taking weight, sizes and details of their condition so that each module of their chair corresponds to their needs. The result is a bespoke set of specifications for each person who can confident knowing that the product they receive is for them and their needs.

These needs vary extensively as Connor from Mercado Medic told us “the spectrum of disabilities such as amputees, people with paraplegia, age-related incapacities, progressive disorders and other health concerns are all considered when a full assessment is complete.”

senior man going from ergonomic chair to bed

Where can you buy an ergonomic chair

The better quality models are truly engineered by specialists who have invested in the design, materials and construction of their products. Therefore as with all specialist products, this means they are not the budget end of the market but the benefits far outway the investment. There are many such models available online through specialist marketplaces such as mysokoni.co.uk as well as other specialised retailers.

For general use as posture management for someone working most of the time sitting down, a fully self-adjustable standard model can be bought off-the-shelf from office furniture suppliers. However, for long-term use and personalised options, we recommend you look at products from Mercado Medic

Conclusion

Investing in an ergonomic chair to protect your posture and spinal health is a good idea. A specialist disability seating chair provides someone with mobility, autonomy, work opportunities, more independence,  and social interactions. It promotes self-worth, empowerment, equality and changes daily life in so many positive ways.

An Ergonomic Chair summarised in Poetry

Click here for Mobility Chairs

NAIDEX 2018 – Bigger & Better than ever

Naidex 44 was the biggest and best yet, full of excited exhibitors keen to show off their wares and innovations as well as lots of    curious consumers eager to see what’s new and available.

Some of the star              attractions included a one-handed shoelace and an easy-to-install at home motion detection system for monitoring someone restricted to bed. Innovations abound and these were justifiably rewarded through the nominations and winners of the various awards organised by NAIDEX. We hope to bring you more details regarding these in the near future so watch this space.

The Mysokoni team had a busy couple of days meeting many people and the feedback on our project was extremely encouraging from        fellow exhibitors and consumers alike.
The Mysokoni free-to-enter competition proved very popular on each day as did our lollipops! Two lucky winners selected their choice of product and here we can see Mr Mysokoni, Ray Vernon hosting one of the draws on day one. This was picked out by a Naidex Representative to ensure                    independence and transparency.

The lucky winners were:
Lorraine Hopkins on day one who chose the Top Selling Memory Foam Backrest and Roger Sefton on day two who chose the     Massage Back Support.  Well done to both our winners and many thanks to all those who took part.

Team Mysokoni had a fabulous 2 days at NAIDEX 44, 2018 and we would like to take this opportunity to offer a massive “Thank You” to the wonderful organisers, friendly fellow exhibitors and of course the convivial, delightful consumers who attended and together they contributed to a hugely successful and rewarding NAIDEX 44 that was a privilege to share with them all.

NAIDEX 2018 update

A warm Welcome awaits at the NEC for NAIDEX 44.

The stage is set and everyone is in place to greet the 12,000 +         visitors expected over the next 2 days.

As promised previously here is our own Mr Mysokoni aka Ray Vernon on Stand 8135 ready for action and available for a chat.

He’s looking forward to meeting as many visitors as possible and to explain the unique, innovative marketplace that is Mysokoni.co.uk.

Don’t hesitate to look him up at the show and pop onto the stand for a chat.

Enjoy NAIDEX 44

NAIDEX 2018 – Meet Mysokoni.co.uk

Mysokoni is Live at NAIDEX 44

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to get up close and meet the mysokoni.co.uk team for a chat then look no further as they will be at Naidex 44 in the NEC, Birmingham on the 25th & 26th April 2018.

Mysokoni.co.uk will be on stand 8153

As you can see here’s our stand ready and waiting for the doors to open.

Don’t hesitate to come as it’s completely free to enter the show and the mysokoni team will be delighted to meet you there.

What is Naidex?

Best described by themselves
“Naidex is Europe’s most established trade, professional and public event dedicated to the care, rehabilitation and lifestyle of people with a disability or impairment.”

This highly regarded and valued event returns in 2018 for an amazing 44th year and it is set to “propel the industry into the future of inclusion, accessibility, empowerment and efficiency”.

This 2 day event is free to attend and everybody is welcome.

It creates a unique opportunity that brings the entire Assisted Living and Disability sector together under one roof and               includes “300 cutting-edge exhibitors, live demos, 1-2-1 advice, world-class CPD accredited seminars and unparalleled                networking opportunities”.

Please visit the NAIDEX website for all the information you will need and for a comprehensive insight into this truly outstanding event.
Click this link or the logo above to go to NAIDEX website.

Access & Mobility Professional feature for Mysokoni

Many thanks to the folks at Access & Mobility Professional (AMP) for their wonderful feature about Mysokoni and its founder and Chief Executive Ray Vernon.


If you’d like to find out more about Ray and his motivation for creating this unique marketplace click through to their article here:
‘Internet marketplace for mobility retailers’ readies for launch

AMP is a journal for professionals of the Accessibility & Mobility sector and their website provides a comprehensive insight to all aspects of this important growing industry including sections on;

Solutions for Wheelchairs, Ramps, Lifts, Transportation,             Furniture, Technology, Mobility, Access, Outdoor, Kitchen & catering, Bedroom, Bathrooms & Flooring.

Projects regarding Innovation, Design, Care homes, Healthcare, Local authority, Public facilities, Education, Office, Travel & transport and Home.
They also have sections on compliance, market intelligence,      regulations and many others.
Click their logo above to access their website and see for       yourself.

Similarly their publication is available by subscription and if you are interested in a preview click this latest cover for a browse through online as it is an excellent read.

written by P. McGowan

Discovering Hearing Loops

Have you ever stood by a ticket counter at a railway station, maybe queued up at a bank or in a shop and spotted those blue signs by the till with the ear symbol and the letter T?

That’s the sign for a hearing loop, a piece of 80-year-old           technology which is helping to transform the lives of the hard of hearing.

The Letsloop Hearing aid

In a nutshell, a hearing loop    connects to your hearing aid     cutting out the background noise such as train announcements, machinery and chatter. They are simple gadgets which can       transform people’s lives.

Hearing loops can be found in plenty of public places, as well as in the home. They provide a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to the Telecoil setting.

There are roughly 10 million people in the UK who are living with hearing loss. About two million of those you hearing aids, and most could benefit from using a hearing loop which would reduce the strain of listening over a distance.

Hearing loops can change the quality of people’s lives.                Interestingly, there has been recent research in America which has linked hearing loss to dementia because as people discover their hearing is deteriorating, unless they make an effort to do something about it, then you can lead a reclusive existence.

There is a growing movement through charities such as Hearing Link – which recently merged with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People – which has been actively campaigning for greater awareness and use of hearing loops across the UK.

Checking the Loop in a Halifax Bank

They have set up groups in towns such as      Swindon in Wiltshire with a twin attack on both hearing aid        wearers and businesses. For businesses, it’s about encouraging them to have working hearing loops installed.

The Equality Act 2010 doesn’t make it compulsory for businesses to have hearing loops installed, but talks about making                  “a reasonable adjustment” to cater for the needs of a disabled user – not just hearing loss, but across a range of disabilities.

Because hearing loss is a hidden disability, and those who           struggle with it tend not to make a fuss, but will walk away, many companies don’t realise how important it is to have a loop  installed. In places such as banks, doctors surgeries and           pharmacies, where there can no ambiguity over the message, loops are vital.

So for the Let’s Hear group in Swindon, they have been working actively with businesses to encourage them to have loops             installed and working, and that the staff are aware of their use.

The other plan of attack is encouraging hearing aid users to make use of the loops, and where they are advertised by the those blue signs and not working, to make a fuss.

The Swindon group have a team of loop checkers who have made more than 500 checks across the town on the quality of hearing loops. The group has been running for a couple of years and they are beginning to notice a change in culture.

Other groups in the UK have carried out similar audits on public buildings and facilities, such as shops, banks, GP surgeries,     hospitals, churches, courts and theatres

These days, there is no reason why everyone who uses a hearing loop shouldn’t have a great experience.

The ability to hear is an essential part of our lives which many people take for granted. The importance of good hearing and hearing loops cannot be underestimated.

written by David King

www.hearingloop.org

My Sokoni is Now Live!

BREAKING NEWS: 21st APRIL 2018

We are proud to announce mysokoni.co.uk is now fully up and running and ready to take your orders.

Having invested passionately in years of hard work following our own needs, experiences and difficulties in this sector we gladly declare that the “One stop shop” for all your Assisted     Living and Disability Care needs is OPEN for business and at your service!

There are multiple vendors ready to dispatch your products       today.

We created the site to suit your needs, with everything quickly accessible, easy to choose and in stock ready to go.

We are always adding more items so please come back regularly to see what’s new.

Have a great day,

The mysokoni team

« Jedi » Technology could revolutionise the Disability and Assisted Living sector

Imagine being able to control a computer, a phone, a TV, a wheelchair or other physical objects by the power of thought alone. Imagine no longer as Jedi-like thought operated interfaces are changing the possibilities and opportunities for all.

The application of this science for people with disability              challenges or assisted living needs could greatly enhance their quality of daily life.

Around the world there are numerous research     facilities perfecting          interfaces that  allows us to control technology or physical objects using only our minds. This may seem too Sci-fi to believe but it is possible and indeed some products are already available.

So how is this possible?

The science is based on the use of EEG technology and is also    referred to as BCI or Brain-computer interfaces.

What is EEG?

Electroencephalography or EEG is used to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells communicate with each other through electrical impulses.

EEG tracks and records brain wave patterns.

This technology is already used as a medical diagnostic tool to analyse activity in the brain and helps neuroscientists study the brain and neurologists to detect areas of concern.

Small flat metal discs called electrodes are attached to the scalp with wires. The electrodes analyse the electrical impulses in the brain and send signals to a computer that records the results.

If you like to learn more about the science behind EEG please click this link for “An intro to EEG”

Medical research has already looked at developing this             technology but often this has been done with invasive means    using implants.

However, technological advances and years of research are now using this understanding to allow a wide range of non-invasive applications to be developed. Many will clearly have a positive impact on the accessibility and availability of products and        services for anyone with reduced mobility or motor functions.

How does it work?

Most of the developments so far are working on the use of an      intelligent lightweight headset that is fitted with a series of     electrodes. As with medical EEG they detect the electrical            impulses of the brain.

The clever part is that these can now be interpreted as thought patterns. The headset then transmits these via Bluetooth to        control an enabled interface.

This opens up a huge variety of possibilities that would             previously have been unavailable.

For instance a tetraplegic may now be able to operate a            computer, phone or TV without assistance and therefore gain further independence.

Let’s look at some examples of this application currently         available or in development.

Mindwave EEG Headset
  • The Mindwave mobile headset was developed by Neurosky and is           already commercially available. It safely measures brain activity,           interprets the signals and transmits this via Bluetooth to a wide variety of Apps. The device consists of a headset, an ear-clip, and a sensor arm. There are over 100 Apps that include education tools, games and wellness. This includes a meditation App as well as a specific pain         management App called PainPal.
  • Neuromoov is a prototype wheelchair developed by engineers at the French establishment Esme Sudria. This uses the Mindwave headset to control and pilot a wheelchair. It also uses a feature of the headset that captures eye-blinks to choose the direction of travel. Although not yet commercially developed it is an            encouraging step towards the potential application of this        technology.
  • Neurable is a Virtual Reality (VR) company that has developed and commercialised a VR headset for an arcade style gaming      experience and it is rated as the fastest BCI headset currently available.
  • An Australian-based company Emotiv have also developed an EEG headset that lets you control on-screen and physical objects using just your mind. Initially aimed at the gaming market when showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona it is            another example of how EEG technology can improve                accessibility for unable to manipulate controllers and joysticks. Their demonstration includes moving real model-sized racing cars along a track.
  • Facebook currently has over 60 engineers working on EEG        applications that will allow the user to type messages by thought alone. Sometimes referred to as “silent speech” it could open up the use of social media to users unable to manipulate a mouse, keyboard or smartphone.
  • Similarly Microsoft has registered a patent for a brain-computer interface (BCI) that will allow users to control a computer or launch Apps.
  • The BBC has also collaborated with tech firm This Place to         develop a cheap headset that can interface with an iPlayer app such that users can control their TV viewing. Initial internal       trials have proved positive and further developments are awaited.

These early uses of EEG headsets and BCI technology are only the      initial phase of their application to daily life.

This mind-controlled technology has been developed to push the    envelope of what is possible but the positive implications and potential for those with health concerns, disability challenges, assisted     living needs or feeling the effects of ageing are huge.

The power of thought is no longer intangible as it can be harnessed to make a real impact in our everyday physical life.

As Yoda would say “News being good that is”.

 

written by P.W.McGowan