Run, Forrest, run!

Over the last month or so I’ve been working with various electric motors, testing them for possible use in mobility aids for the disabled.

These tests culminated in a real world workout for the best motor, installed in a wheelchair and fully instrumented.  The test track is a path around my local park.  I chose to do the tests early in the morning before many folks were about, but the park is heavily used by joggers, cyclists, power walkers and strollers.

Unfortunately, the control system was a lashup rather than a nice sophisticated joystick with digital compensation, taking a bit of practice and skill to keep the chair running straight or to turn.

Anyhoo, I managed to get set up and onto the path without being observed, but of course, encountered plenty of pedestrians on the path.  It was embarrassing knowing the smiles and “Hi!”‘s I got were probably motivated by some measure of sympathy and/or pity, but the real embarrassment was when I occasionally screwed up the controls and had to leap out of the chair while simultaneously hitting my emergency “kill” switch – while the same folks who’d nodded and smiled were watching.

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