Kevin Manning and Steven Sanchez talk with PN reporter Devon O'Brien about their tire pressure maintaining product Pump Hub during the 2015 LA Abilities Expo. Photo Christopher DiVirgilio
Take a look at four standout products from the 2015 Los Angeles Abilities Expo
A lot can change in a year, especially at the Abilities Expo, which just wrapped up its event at the Los Angeles Convention Center, March 6–8. The show features rows and rows of companies and organizations offering programs, products and/or talent to improve life for people with disabilities, like Pump Hub (pump-hub.com). This self-pumping wheel hub first showed up at the expo last year with nothing but a small prototype in the hand of its creator, Kevin Manning.
Boothless, Manning toted his product around finding people who might be interested. This year, Manning had the hub on wheels set up in a booth for demonstrations. The hub contains a small pump. The user simply sets the desired pressure of the tires, flips a switch and rolls. As you roll, the pump begins filling the tire with air. Once the tire reaches that desired pressure the pump automatically clicks off.
On day one of the Expo, Fri. March 6, Manning and his team launched their crowd-funding campaign (indiegogo.com/projects/pump-hub-the-future-of-self-inflating-wheel-tech) to raise enough money to get the product into production and out to the consumer.
ADA Boats creator Mike Mayes talks with PN reporter Devon O'Brien about the accessible pontoon boat during the 2015 LA Abilities Expo. Photo Christopher DiVirgilio
This year also showed growth and new products from other companies, including a few from overseas. UK company Mountain Trike (mountaintrike.com) came over the pond to show off its collection of off-road wheelchairs, one of which has seen the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The large, mountain bike-style front wheels, joined by a smaller, stabilizing back wheel and front casters, help navigate over wooded paths, sandy beaches, snow and ice, gravel, rocks, mud and cobble stone and brick streets.
The chair is operated by two levers, which control the drive, steering and hydraulic disc brakes. You can even drive, steer and brake the chair with just one of the levers when you need a free hand. The company also recently released a push version of the Mountain Trike for those who might need some help.
Out at Sea
If getting out and exploring on land isn’t your thing, ADA Boats, Inc. (adaboats.com) will get you out on the water. The veteran-owned business was thought up by Mike Mayes when he tired of finding a way to take his father, who was an amputee, and brother-in-law, who uses a wheelchair, fishing. So, he took matters into his own hands and designed a wheelchair accessible pontoon boat.
With the highest rated weight capacity in their class, the boats are made to order and can hold two people using power wheelchairs along with friends and family. The maximum capacity is 2000 pounds or 12 people.
Pull to Health
Among many companies offering products to improve the health of people using wheelchairs, one stood out. Pushing, or rather pulling, with Rowheels (www.rowheels.com) will save shoulders the pain and wear and tear caused by traditional wheels. The trick to get these wheels rolling? Rather than pushing forward, you actually pull backward on the wheel to roll forward, similar to rowing.
This method of movement prevents the hunched-over nature of pushing and improves posture by keeping your back and shoulders upright. The pull method also uses eight upper-body muscles opposed to two when pushing and gives you more distance per stroke when compared to pushing, decreasing the amount of strain put on the arms and shoulders.
For more information on the Abilities Expo and to find an event in your area, visit www.abilities.com.