The Best Inventions of 2020
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November 19, 2020 8:56 AM EST

Power wheelchairs can be a lot more dangerous than they look. The devices, which weigh up to 400 lb., are prone to tips and collisions, sometimes resulting in serious injuries like broken bones. Barry Dean, a songwriter in Nashville, saw this firsthand when his daughter Katherine, who lives with cerebral palsy, suffered leg and arm injuries when her chair tipped over. So Dean and his engineer brother created LUCI ($8,445), a power-chair accessory that uses sensors to monitor the chair’s environment. As riders steer their chair with a joystick, LUCI collects data that determines safe paths and modifies the chair’s response, like slowing down before an unexpected drop-off or halting to prevent a collision. An associated app, the MyLUCI portal, allows users to track and share data such as their chair’s charging status and location. The power-chair accessory will be available at mobility clinics in the U.S. in November. —Paulina Cachero

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