LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System is researching new ways to make wheelchairs and mobility chairs safer for Veterans.

The organization is one of seven Veterans Health Administration sites, and the flagship site, in doing so.

In a partnership with Braze Mobility, Inc., 20 Veteran patients are participating in the development of a terrain analysis system to help wheelchair and mobility chair users navigate outdoor environments safely and independently.

According to Braze Mobility, the system uses a set of sensors that attach to any manual or powered wheelchair, turning it into a “smart” wheelchair.

The system also provides alerts to the user about objects and obstacles through light, sound, and vibration feedback.

Eleven CAVHS Veterans are participating in the discovery phase and nine are in the user experience phase.  The collected data will be used to develop the next iteration of the sensors. 

Once a full prototype is developed, CAVHS will conduct user experience testing with the same Veterans.