Apple Watch For Wheelchair Users: How It Was Made Possible - Assistive Technology Blog
Around 650 million people around the world have some disabilities, and 10% of that population uses wheelchairs. Recently, Apple announced that Apple Watch’s next update will enable wheelchair users to use it for keeping track of calories burned as well as their fitness goals. What’s remarkable is that in order to come up with this feature – tracking pushes instead of steps (for able bodied people), Apple did its own study with wheelchair users and collected a lot of data. For tracking steps, the Apple Watch looks at someone’s arm movement as well as their feet hitting the ground. Wheelchair users have a different arm movement when they push and also don’t hit their feet to the ground, so the algorithm used for tracking steps doesn’t work for them. With the help of Lakeshore Foundation and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, two organizations dedicated towards promoting fitness among people with disabilities, Apple did some tests with wheelchair users. Each person used their own wheelchair (as compared to wheelchairs provided by the study team which the subjects were not used to), which was fitted with various sensors that collected very precise data on their movement. Calories burned while pushing a [...]