The market has been flooded in the past few years with all sorts of different activity trackers for fitness buffs. But a company called ‘Chaotic Moon Studios’ has just announced they are testing a prototype for a different kind of activity tracker. It’s called Freewheel, and it is designed for people in wheelchairs.
Tyler Hively, a content strategist at Chaotic Moon Studios, uses a wheelchair. Chaotic Moon was working on a separate activity tracker-related project when it occurred to Hively that there was no equivalent for people who use wheelchairs.
Hively brought the problem to Chaotic Moon Studios’ BASE team, which is the company’s in-house research and development hub.
“A couple weeks later BASE came back to me with a working prototype and an app and I was basically just showing it to everyone that I know,” said Hively.
BASE created a small device that attaches to wheelchairs without interfering with the user’s movements or the wheelchair’s function. That device collects different types of data including incline, decline, acceleration and speed. That information is then transferred via Bluetooth to the user’s smartwatch or mobile app, and can be used for fitness purposes, according to Chaotic Moon Studios.
“At the end of the day, the purpose of technology is not just to solve business problems, but also personal problems,” said Ben Lamm, CEO of Chaotic Moon Studios. “We are excited about Freewheel because it’s an interesting use of convergent technologies, has a data crowdsourcing element, and can scale. But the fact that it has the potential to make a life-changing impact on millions of people’s lives is really important.”
The developers are still working on the prototype and getting feedback from Hively before opening up the product to a larger beta group. But according to the company, there is huge demand for a product like Freewheel and wheelchair users have been reaching out, offering to be guinea pigs for the project.
Freewheel may have even more implications beyond activity tracking for people in wheelchairs. BASE is working on adding capability that would enable users to crowdsource the mapping of terrain, which would be a boon for hikers and bikers, and would enable people to to choose the easiest, or hardest, route around town.
“Beyond the wheelchair community, how can these geniuses effect the rest of the world? That’s really cool for me to see,” said Hively.
The question we are all asking is “when will Freewheel be available?”
“We are working with a couple strategic partners and will release with the right partner when the product is right and ready,” said Lamm.
So, whilst we await this fabulous looking app, what apps do you use on your smartphone? I have found Google Fit useful (again because it has an option for wheelchair users.
Article originally posted here