LUCI, a company that is reimagining modern mobility, today announced the release of its premier product also named LUCI. It is a first-of-its-kind hardware and software platform that uses sensor-fusion technologies to allow a power wheelchair to “see” its environment, giving riders unprecedented stability, security and cloud connectivity.
LUCI mounts onto a power wheelchair between the power base and the seat, to help users avoid collisions and dangerous drop-offs while maintaining personalized driving control. Through cloud-based capabilities, LUCI can also monitor and alert users and caregivers of low battery, possible tipping scenarios, and other important updates regarding the chair and the user.
Tipping over in a wheelchair is a common, treacherous reality, which often leads to trips to the hospital and expensive healthcare bills. In fact, 87 percent of wheelchair users reported at least one tip or fall in the past three years1. Wheelchair accidents were the cause of more than 175,000 ER visits in 2010 — the last year the data was tracked — and 30,000 of those were significant enough for admission into the hospital.
“Wheelchair users were left behind when it comes to most innovative technology,” said Barry Dean, CEO and Founder of LUCI, also a Grammy-nominated songwriter, whose daughter Katherine, 19, has cerebral palsy and has used a wheelchair her whole life.
“We realized no one else was working on this problem in a meaningful way so my brother Jered (Dean, CTO of LUCI) and I set out to create a solution for Katherine. What started as a labor of love among family members has ultimately created a safer, more stable way for people with disabilities to navigate their world and stay connected to loved ones. Today, we’re excited to launch LUCI and continue collaborating with researchers, universities and other companies using our open platform to move the industry forward together.”
The LUCI team spent the past two and half years collaborating with clinical professionals and logging over 25,000 hours of user testing to develop an invention to help people with physical disabilities drive safely, precisely and independently. LUCI’s R&D efforts have already resulted in a total of 16 patents (eight pending).
“When we started tinkering with my niece Katherine’s chair, we had no idea where this journey would lead,” said Jered Dean, CTO, who has spent two decades in design and systems engineering, most recently serving as director of the Colorado School of Mines’s Capstone Design@Mines program. “From developing advancements in millimeter-wave radar technology to collaborating with engineering leaders from Intel® RealSense™ Technology Group to maximize the application of some of the world’s smartest cameras, I’m incredibly proud of the unprecedented work our team has accomplished to solve the challenges our customers face.”
“Intel® RealSense™ technology is used to develop products that enrich people’s lives by enabling machines and devices to perceive the world in 3D,” said Joel Hagberg, head of product management and marketing, Intel RealSense Group. “LUCI leverages Intel® RealSense™ to map the world in a low-power, cost-effective way to make drop-off protection and collision avoidance possible, and we’re excited to be a part of this inspirational effort to deliver innovation that improves lives.”
LUCI’s technology combines stereovision, infrared, ultrasonic and radar sensors to offer users these critical features:
- Collision avoidance: LUCI is designed to prevent wheelchair users from running into objects (walls, people, pets, furniture, etc.) as they navigate their daily lives. It does this by smoothly helping to navigate the chair in coordination with user steering inputs based on obstacle detection in the driver’s surroundings.
- Drop-off protection: It doesn’t take a large drop-off to tip a wheelchair (less than three inches in some cases). LUCI helps users avoid tipping by recognizing steps or drop-offs and smoothly helping the chair continue on a safer path.
- Anti-tipping alert system: LUCI monitors the steepness of a ramp or the ground users are driving on and provides an audible alert if it becomes a tipping danger. In the event that a chair tips over, LUCI sounds an alarm and can be configured to quickly alert other individuals, such as a caregiver or loved one, of the exact location of the rider and the tipped chair.
- Cloud-based communications and alerts: The MyLUCI portal allows users to view their data and share it with loved ones or clinicians. LUCI can be set up to alert others of specific events, such as the user’s location if their battery gets dangerously low. LUCI also now works with Hey Google and Amazon Alexa so users can interact with MyLUCI using their voice. MyLUCI portal is available as a mobile app for both iOS and Android™ phones, as well as for desktop with the Web Portal.
- Secure health monitoring: LUCI users can choose to share their heart rate data with their team using either Google Fit* or Apple HealthKit from day one.
“I was blown away by not only the product and the innovative features of LUCI, but just the whole culture and the rider-focused passion that was brought to its unique design,” said Kelly Waugh, PT, MAPT, ATP, clinic coordinator for the Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver. “It’s going to be a game changer for a lot of people who use power wheelchairs, but I also think LUCI is going to open up power mobility for people who might not have been candidates before. Most importantly, it will enable power wheelchair riders to go places and do things with greater ease, confidence and safety.”
LUCI is available for purchase in the U.S. for $8,445 MSRP. For more info, visit: www.luci.com.
About LUCI: Based in Nashville, with R&D headquarters in Denver, LUCI was founded by Barry and Jered Dean, brothers who were driven to innovate from personal experience, and committed to creating change for people living with disabilities.
*Google, Android and Google Fit are trademarks of Google LLC.
1n-Yin Chen, Yuh Jang, Jung-Der Wang, Wen-Ni Huang, Chan-Chia Chang, Hui-Fen Mao, Yen-Ho Wang., “Wheelchair-related Accidents: Relationship With Wheelchair-Using Behavior in Active Community Wheelchair Users,” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (June 2011); 92(6): 892-8.