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Kenguru Wheelchair Accessible Mini Car - 3 January 2007
A Hungarian company has developed a small car, from the ground up, specifically designed to meet the needs of people who rely on wheelchairs for mobility. Rather than modify a car designed for able bodied passengers, the Kenguru was designed so a driver who uses a wheelchair can enter the vehicle through a large rear door and lock their chair in place without having to transfer. The Kenguru is an electric car, and driven with a joystick.
It can travel up to 35 miles on a charge. Top speed is a whooping 25 miles per hour. They are available in Hungary, and the price is about $12,920 US.
This nice, brand new device from Enhanced Vision (makers of the Gordy) that I saw at my agency's staff conference. I am glad I had a chance to see it before ATIA.
The camera is mounted on a boom arm that slides on a track along the top of the 19" LCD Screen. The version I saw used the Samsung Syncmaster monitor, which I have found is one of the best monitors for overall clarity at this time. The camera can be flipped for distance viewing, and will automatically go into mirror image mode when flipped toward the user for personal grooming, etc. Two sets of controls are also mounted on the camera so it is easy to use for desktop and distance viewing. A remote is also included.
The device has several different viewing modes, and is reported to have up to 65x magnification.
There is a nice padded rolling transport case available as an optional accessory. This is not a portable device per say (no battery power), but it is transportable.
The feature that I really like is how the camera can slide from the right side of the monitor to the center so you can position your work directly in front of the monitor instead of working off to the side. There is plenty of room under the camera. Autofocus seems to do a good job with objects that are not completely flat.
The two possible drawbacks to this device are: 1. It does not have it's own light source for the camera and 2. It uses a RJ45 type plug to connect the camera to the unit. I have found that RJ45 plugs (technically an 8P8C or 8P6C plug) are fragile and not really suitable for things that are plugged and unplugged on daily basis. The retention clip breaks, and the wires in the plug can break or loose contact easily. I would suggest users not unplug the camera to prolong the life of the plug. Other than the plug, the packaging is really slick, and it looks really nice. I am told that there will be an optional box to allow switching to and from a computer screen, which would allow someone to have a CCTV on their desktop that is almost completely invisible.
One further feature I would like to see in this device is a detachable base so it can be mounted to a swinging monitor arm. I think it can be mounted now, but the base doesn't appear to come off very easily.