15 July 2008

Naidex 2008

My friend and I both decided to visit Naidex 2008, exhibition for disability, at Birmingham NEC. Once registered with Naidex, they send you a name badge pass. We are both wheelchair users and live in London. So our first task was to plan our journey from London to Birmingham, using accessible busses and trains. From using the National rail website we discovered our route would be from London Euston to Birmingham International Station on a Virgin train, both wheelchair accessible stations. And Birmingham International Station is connected to NEC via lifts and link tunnels. A few days before going to Naidex, we telephoned Virgin Journey Care to book our tickets and train assistance. Train assistance enables wheelchair users to board trains using a portable ramp. Train staff position a ramp against train and assist you.

On entering Naidex we planned to follow a well thought out route to see each stand. But, as is usually the case, there was so much to view, our strategy was forgotten. I was particularly eager to see a feature showing a Future Lifestyle Home, using assistive technology. Entering the house through a garden, assistance garden tools were on display from Peta uk. Peta uk, not only sell garden tools, but kitchen tools and other small gadgets.

The street door was an automated door system. Automated door systems, uses the very latest in access control technology. Only one click on a remote control button, opens the door, and can be worn as wrist strap, neck strap or operated using a key fob. A Phone entry system, can be a wall phone, video phone or remote phone deck.

The first room is the Kitchen installed by Design Matters. One innovative appliance is the Bosch Oven with a side hung door and telescopic shelves that lock and don’t tip. Incorporated underneath the oven is a heat resistant pull-out shelf, which I thought was very useful if you need to check or turn food during cooking. There was several appliances including, a compact dishwasher which fitted under a low work top. The sink was fitted with a steaming hot water filtered kitchen tap, eliminating the need to use a kettle.

To reach into cupboards, there was a magic corner system. Essentially for corner based cupboards, non slip shelves attached to a door come out when cupboard is opened. No more bending and stretching! Homecraft and Really useful things, are both suppliers of helpful gadgets for around the home.

In the living room you can control a lot of electrical products. Pre-programmed, by Possum uk Possum uk, touch screens can operate various things in the home, increasing independence with advanced technology. The Possum Primo, is affordable, lightweight and robust in design. The Primo can hold up to 140 infrared codes with multiple menus for controlling a domestic environment. If you require a workspace in your home for a computer etc, QED retails an adjustable table. It has a split level surface, good for supporting books, magazines and lightweight devices.

In the bathroom, on show was a new design shower cubicle from Impey. Also in the shower cubicle, was a Triton body dryer keeping whole area nice and warm. The hand basin was height adjustable, cleverly designed to provide arm support. The Balena 8000 toilet was a state-of-the-art remote controlled bidet, with individual adjustable washing and drying functions. In the Luna Bath is an Archimedes Bath lift, giving maximum support and comfort while bathing. Alternatively, a traversing overhead tracking
hoist system from Liko is shown for transferring safely into a bath and on/off the toilet.

There was a huge amount of stands with latest models of all types of wheelchairs. Cyclone Mobility showcased an affordable lightweight wheelchair, called Alpha. PDG Mobility are a 2008 winner of the Medical Design Excellence Award. PDG Mobility specialise in tilt-in space wheelchairs. They were exhibiting as well as introducing the new Fuze T50 wheelchair. PDG Mobility are a Canadian company.

The New Product Showcase stand, presented and demonstrated the latest new products. From pressure chairs, bathing chairs, and children’s trikes. There was something for everyone to see and try.

The highlight of my day, was watching a demonstration by Canine Partners. Canine Partners, launched in 1991, is an assistance dog charity. Dogs are trained to enrich the lives of physically disabled people, by helping with every day tasks. At Naidex, three Labrador Retrievers demonstrated what they are trained to do. During the demonstration, each dog opened a washing machine and remove washed clothes, opened and closed a cupboard, tugged a sleeve to remove a coat from a person sitting in wheelchair, place a purse on a counter for a cashier to take money in a shop and pick up dropped items. All the dogs were very happy, as they regard their work as fun and games. This charity receives no government funding for their much needed work, so relies on donations and fundraising events.

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