Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Save the iBot Website

This picture shows Bill Clinton and Dean Kamen...
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I’m still putting the finishing touches on my last two CCSVI treatment posts. I need Dr. Siskin’s feedback on my draft, but he’s busy attending the SIR annual meeting in Chicago this week.

Today, I have something equally important to discuss with you. I'm battling my disability in a couple of ways. CCSVI treatment is an attempt to slow or stop the progression of the disease. But I also need to compensate for some of the permanent losses I've already suffered. My iBot wheelchair is the most potent weapon I have in my arsenal for overcoming mobility issues. As you may know, the iBot is no longer being manufactured. This is due to a complex set of circumstances generally having to do with too much government red tape and a pervasive attitude that disabled people do not deserve to live highly engaged lives – getting them from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen should be sufficient.

I've previously mentioned a Facebook group called Save the iBot. The group’s founder, Max Burt, with very little help from the rest of us in the organization, launched a top-notch website, located at Please visit, learn about the iBot, and sign the petition.

Game-changing technological advances which significantly improve the lives of disabled people should not simply fade away because of correctable bureaucratic flaws. For those of us benefiting from this wonderful device, allowing the iBot to become extinct would be like over-regulating and under-supporting insulin pumps or prosthetic hips until they were simply no longer available. Would America let that happen? I don’t think so.
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  1. Mitch, I'm on the FB friends of Save the IBot, and I went through the entire website. I'm sorry that they stopped manufacturing these wonderful machines, despite the fact that I could never afford one in my current situation.
    Questions: does it also go DOWN stairs -- I didn't see that demonstrated?
    Is that man 'pulling' himself up on the handrail? Must one hold the rail, or does the chair go up steps on its own?
    Can the hand controls be on either side, or just the right?

    Keep fighting to get the government to consider funding this fantastic machine.

  2. Good questions Muff.

    Yes, it goes downstairs much in the same way that it goes upstairs. There are two types of stair climbing modes. In "solo" climbing, the user is required to hold onto a hand rail only to maintain balance and to initiate each stair climbing sequence. It doesn't require a lot of strength, but it does require some. In "assisted" stair climbing, a trained assistant, in my case Kim, holds onto a grip on the back of the chair and initiates each stair climbing sequence. In assisted stairclimbing, the iBot user sits passively in the chair is not required to participate in any way, other than pushing a couple of buttons at the first step and again at the last step.

    The controls can be installed on either side. In fact, after 2 1/2 years of having my controls on the left side, just last week I had them moved to the right hand side, because my left side is becoming too weak.

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