In 1995, movie star Christopher Reeve was left paralyzed from the neck down by a horseback riding accident. He and his wife dedicated their lives afterwards to spinal cord injury awareness by launching the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. After Christopher died in 2004, his son, Will Reeve, has continued the work of his parents by sitting on the board of the foundation.
Part of his work involves developing toys for people with spinal cord injuries. Will claims his inspiration for developing ‘Adaptoys’ comes from childhood memories of wanting to play with his father.
How do Adaptoys Work?
In a recent video designed to fundraise for Adaptoys, former college football player Eric LeGrand is seen using ‘sip-and-puff’ technology and a headset to operate a remote control car. Much like Christopher, LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down, and uses ‘sip-and-puff’ technology to send signals to devices, such as a wheelchair.
LeGrand can blow on a sip-and-puff straw and use a motion sensor headset to direct the remote control car. Adaptoys gave LeGrand the ability to play with his nephews. Other Adaptoys include a pitching machine that responds to words like ‘pitch’, ‘pop up’ and ‘ground ball’.
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation partnered with 360i, a digital marketing agency, to create Adaptoys. If the fundraising goal is met, 100 eligible people in the US can receive these toys.
Similar technologies exist that allow people with paralysis to control keyboards and other computer equipment. Even though medical ingenuity has yet to cure paralysis, several other innovative devices exist that can improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries.