Reporting Dave Crawley
EAST LIBERTY (KDKA) — A technology research center in East Liberty has taken the lead in producing adaptive devices for disabled veterans and others.
The Human Engineering Research Laboratories, or HERL, unveiled some if its new innovations during VA Research Week.
Occupational therapist Annmarie Kelleher showed off one of the lab’s newest innovations.
The Strong Arm device can easily lift a subject from wheelchair to shower chair.
The therapist says it could open the world for a wheelchair user “by opening the doors to go different places or new places that they may be limited by not being able to transfer on their own.”
Strong Arm was programmed by Pitt grad student Hervens Jeannis.
The university’s partnership with the Veterans Administration has made it possible for the laboratories to produce hundreds of adaptive devices in a spacious workshop in the Bakery Square Building.
“Most of the device was built in house, in our shop,” the researcher says. “And here, we have our material, here we have our device. Strong Arm.”
HERL researcher Harshall Mahajan says the new Cueing Kitchen would be beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s or head injuries.
“We try to identify what the person is doing in the house,” he says. “And then we have some prompting techniques. Using that, we guide them through to complete a recipe or any other task in the kitchen.”