The story of 23 year old Natasha Lambert is truly inspiring. Despite being born with quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy, which severely affects her limbs and speech, Natasha plans to sail across the Atlantic using a system that allows her to control the yacht using her breath and tongue.
This incredible story resonates with us as we have been working with clients for over thirty years developing innovative Assistive Technology (AT) solutions to help people with a range of needs including the severely disabled, elderly and with learning difficulties.
The history of Assistive Technology really begins as far back as 1960 when Reginald Maling met a young man paralysed from the neck down. He had very little voice and could only alert nurses by blowing on a whistle hung near his mouth. Maling designed a suck or blow mouthpiece that enabled the man to activate mechanisms to turn on a light, or the TV, and he eventually developed this so the man was able to use an electric typewriter.
Maling called his invention Patient Operated Selector Mechanism or POSM. We know it as Assistive Technology.
Hillside Director Chris Howsam says “Natasha’s incredible story demonstrates how the most basic of movements such as breathing can be utilised to control complex mechanisms and ultimately bring the most exciting and rewarding experiences into people lives. In the span of a generation we have gone from severely disabled people blowing a whistle to gain attention to now waving them off to sail the Atlantic and achieve what many able bodied people never could”.
If you have an idea in the realm of Assistive Technology, or in any field for that matter, we can help turn it in to a marketable product. Even the most accomplished will sometimes need assistance and that's where our design team's expertise and experience proves invaluable.