Have caterpillar tracks, will climb

By Lorenzo

Venezia is not a wheelchair friendly city.  Almost all the bridges are stepped.

But we were taken with this solution to the problem of wheelchairs and stairs.

Dr Who fans will no doubt go to a famous joke about the Daleks.

This is also the Saturday chit-chat post.

26 Comments

  1. Posted July 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    http://healthycuriousity.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/the-ontological-assumptions-of.html

    The Ontological Assumptions of Psychiatry


    This is an interesting paper, especially their treatment of essentialism and the impressive way in which they associate epistemological demands with clinical realities(see the Conclusion). They also present a very good systems theory approach to understanding why psychiatric diagnosis will never have the precision we would like. Below I will address some of their statements but be warned, the paper should be read in full; and carefully. There are some difficult issues here, beware of what seems plausible. As the authors note:
    In other words, naturalistic intuitions are not evidence of their content.

  2. Posted July 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    There is a buzz around the net, concerning Julia Gillards involvement in the Wilson affair.
    We can be forgiven for assume this is old news but according to a couple of posts at another site there has been new evidence come to light.
    I would love it if our lawerly types could review said new evidence and determine, in their opinion, whether our PM should be answering further questions.

  3. kvd
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    This is maybe the American version of the Australian Mens’ Shed movement?

    I aged several years just contemplating the possibility that I might ever feel compelled to join.

  4. Posted July 22, 2012 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    I see your “chair with tank treads” and raise you another chair with tank treads. Mine is definitely cooler.

  5. kvd
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Actually, having thought about it a little more (always useful) I wish to withdraw my [email protected] My reaction should have been something like “whatever gets you through the day, and keeps your interest up”. My sincere apologies.

  6. kvd
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Actually, having thought about it a little more (always useful) I wish to withdraw my [email protected] My reaction should have been something like “whatever gets you through the day, and keeps your interest up”. My sincere apologies.

    ps this may post twice – given the weird way the blog is acting this a.m. – and in which case I am simply doubly apologetic.

  7. Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    [email protected] Yes, definitely cooler 😉

  8. Posted July 22, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    [email protected] Yes, nice paper indeed, thanks.

  9. kvd
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Actually, having thought about it a little more (always useful) I wish to withdraw my [email protected] My reaction should have been something like “whatever gets you through the day, and keeps your interest up”. My sincere apologies.

    ps this may post twice – given the weird way the blog was acting this a.m. – and in which case I am simply doubly apologetic.

  10. Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I like Warwick McKibbin. He provides the goods on the Carbon Tax.

  11. Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, in Spain, doctors and nuns apparently stole and sold babies.

  12. Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    And if you want a talk on why TARP was wrong, try this.

  13. Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, a case of religious privilege

    This is the opinion of most Israelis, many of whom are outraged that the state pours money into a community that does not work, typically has large numbers of children, does not pay taxes and does not serve in the military.

    Now, why would people think that? Especially when they do not realise the full benefits

    said the problem was that secular Israelis like Yosam had no understanding of the sacrifices religious Jews make for them. “You think it’s so easy to sit and study all day, bring up seven children on $700 a month? No, it’s very hard,” he said.

    These men, in his opinion, are as critical for the defence of Israel as the army. They provide spiritual protection. “The Torah is saving and guarding the Jews,” Uri said. “Take the Iraq war. Saddam Hussein sent 39 Scud missiles into Israel. They didn’t touch anyone. What is this? It wasn’t the army – they sat with their arms folded. It was the Torah,” he said. “There many kinds of soldiers, on planes, on ships, but also in the yeshiva.”

    Ah, the apparently limitless sense of entitlement monotheism so often imparts.

  14. Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    On the maladies of monotheism, Pakistan is effectively disowning its only Nobel laureate, whose work contributed to the discovery of the Higgs-Boson, because he was not the right sort of Muslim. More signs that Pakistan is a pathology, not a polity.

  15. Posted July 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, Australian gaol wages are attracting Indonesians to get imprisoned. I think that is called perverse incentives.

  16. kvd
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Just for the chitchat record, this is a very ‘good Weekend’ article on that copyright battle nobody wished to have.

  17. Posted July 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] Welcome back.

    Apropos nothing at all, the US’s carbon emissions are falling.

  18. Movius
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Back in 2002 when I was taking a course in Artificial Intelligence at uni. The professor demoed a prototype motorised wheelchair that filtered out parkinson’s tremors from actual conscious input. It worked suprisingly well, but the project was ultimately canned because no manufacturer thought there was any money in it. Kind of sad really.

    Never really looked into it since, but I hope that modern chairs have that capability, because it should be trivial to implement now.

  19. Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    It looks like the terrorists have won and the DPP has surrendered to the rule of law.

  20. Posted July 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Never really looked into it since, but I hope that modern chairs have that capability, because it should be trivial to implement now.

    Sorry, Movius – they don’t. Disabled people are flat out getting wheelchairs that are stable and reliable enough in all weathers to get you from A to B in the average city with consistently dipped kerbs. The most advanced one was the iBot that went up stairs and was the original source of the balancing technology used in Segways, but that wasn’t profitable enough and is now out of production. An italian chap has come up with a new Segway-based wheelchair that looks lovely, but I’d want to see what the reliability is like in the rain (believe it or not, they don’t always make them shower-proof and it fries the wiring) and how it handles steep hills. The reduced complexity should help keep the costs down but that’s a relative concept – first I’d have to come up with the equivalent of a new car (electric wheelchairs that actually work tend to start around the £10,000 mark).

  21. Movius
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Well that sucks. I know that the reason they couldn’t find any funding was that the manufacturers suspected that it would only sell ~1 extra chair per annum in Australia.

    The system I saw seemed to have no trouble zipping around complex mazes drawn on the floor. But it may have only been tuned to that individual or a small group in a way that couldn’t be generalised…

    Sounds like an area that would benefit from the coming of the Raspberry Pi & Arduino

  22. Posted July 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    This chap ended up building his own – there’s extensive critique of the current programming weaknesses of commercial chairs if you’re interested – but then we aren’t all electrical engineers with the skills to do this. Maybe if I can talk TGA-Electric (makers of my SuperSport, the best mobility scooter in the known universe) into taking me on as an apprentice…

  23. kvd
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    That SuperSport link talks about a ‘free upgrage’ providing a 30 mile range? I had no idea the battery technology was up to that sort of extended performance. The Segway one looks pretty cool, but (and maybe why Segway never ‘made it’?) I keep coming back to basic geometry – that any three points define a plane – hence stability.

  24. Posted July 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    The gyroscopic self-stabilising is the really clever bit. Unfortunately it’s a bit like giving a Robot body language – totally revolutionary but not very applicable to much more than Keepon.

    Mind you, just getting rid of the stupid joystick controller from a powerchair would be a significant improvement, and the potential for wheelchair dancing (sans handle) is intriguing…

  25. kvd
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    This is still the latest chitchat post, so let me just say that I read this:

    “What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking,” Mr Weill said in a television interview on Wednesday. “Have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not going to be too big too fail.”

    – and was left feeling deeply insulted, that such an individual would be given such a ‘stage’ to state such an obvious fact, as if it were in any way ‘news’.

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