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New Device to Address Challenges of Shopping in a Wheelchair
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New Device to Address Challenges of Shopping in a Wheelchair

In spite of great advances in wheelchair technology, people with disabilities still have a hard time shopping in a wheelchair. Most stores do not have any accessibility features to support wheelchair users or people with reduced mobility. Fortunately, things are about to change this year and shopping will no longer be as much of a challenge for people who use wheelchairs.

Two Rochester residents have won the top place in the Open Division of the recent Assistive Tech Challenge. This first-ever event features thirteen competing teams from the Twin Cities, the greater Rochester area, and Naples, Florida. In addition, there are also participating teams from Minnesota State University Mankato, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Minnesota.

Top place teams in the Open and Professional Divisions of the first-ever Assistive Tech Challenge have received $5,000 in prize money, while second place teams received $2,500. All winning teams, which include first and second place teams, are automatically eligible to join the upcoming Walleye Tank Pitch Competition, which will be held this coming December 7th in Rochester, Minnesota.

How the new mobility device will help people with disabilities:

Nicholas Elliott and Cody Schmidt have developed a new device that could address a decade-long shopping issue for people who use wheelchairs. The two Rochester residents have designed a wheelchair-compatible grocery cart. The new Adapt-A-Cart device provides an essential part of shopping, an adaption on grocery carts for the wheelchair user. The new device has been designed to be light, compact, and easily attachable, allowing wheelchair users to easily shop with a standard grocery cart from the comfort of their own chair. This new development is expected to ease shopping and help people with disabilities better navigate the world.

The 2018 Assistive Tech Challenge, whose main goals is to facilitate greater independence for people with reduced mobility, along with the daily challenges they face, was presented by Destination Medical Center Discovery Square in collaboration and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group and The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region.

Image credit: Wheelchair Beauties/Youtube screencap

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  1. Aunt Jude
    Many of the barriers for people in wheelchairs affect people of short stature. One barrier is the ability to reach things on upper shelves. I'm 4'9"and am an upper extremity amputee. Shopping is a real pain! The shopping service at Meijer is good and curbside service. But we should be able to shop like everyone else. I hope that whatever new technology is designed with collaboration from the people who will be using it. It has been my experience that well meaning people have designed some pretty faulty assistive technology.
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