Japanese Company turns manual wheelchairs in to Electrical Wheelchairs!

Dear colleagues,

Japanese company WHILL’s eponymous product is one of those things that’s so smart that it’s almost annoying that no one has done this before. WHILL, which debuted recently at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, is a prototype aftermarket drive train that attaches externally to an ordinary wheelchair, augmenting it with electrically powered drive.

The design is simple: two circular hubs–connected by a central bar that goes up and over the seat of the wheelchair–attach to the outside of a wheelchair’s wheels. Powered by a lithium-ion battery, those hubs impart drive to the wheels, making the manual a wheelchair an electrically powered machine. To drive, the user simply leans or pushes on the crossbar, nudging it in the direction he or she wants to go.

A two hour charge can get about 19 miles of distance, and WHILL is no slouch when it comes to speed either, topping out at just more than 12 miles per hour. The device is still in prototype so cost info isn’t yet available, and that will likely be the determining factor dictating whether or not something like this takes off. Regardless, an electric-powered augmentation that amps up an ordinary wheelchair?

Here it is how it looks like:

WHILL via PhysOrg

A novel attachment that is designed for an ordinary wheelchair can turn the chair into a “power-coaster” with electric drive. The transformed manual wheelchair into an electric wheelchair is the result of technology from a Japanese company called WHILL, which is also the name of the technology.


IAFT announces workshop on “Just Therapy Approach” on 13-14 Jan 2012 at Delhi, India

Dear Colleagues,

Here is an important announcement from Indian Association for Family Therapy for your information:

Post-Conference Workshop

The ‘Just Therapy’ Approach: Utilising cultural, gender, spiritual and socio-economic contexts in Family Therapy

Hosted by School of Mental Health, VIMHANS

13 & 14 January 2012

Trainer: Charles Waldegrave

‘Just Therapy’ is a reflective approach to systemic therapy developed by workers at the Family Centre in Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.  It has taken the understanding of systems’ dynamics to a canvas beyond just the family system and developed ways to use the larger systems for healing and change in the consulting room. A fundamental feature of ‘Just Therapy’ is that it addresses directly the broad cultural, gender, social, spiritual, economic and psychological contexts underlying the problems experienced by those with whom therapists work. It embodies the Family Centre philosophy and commitment to cultural, gender and socio-economic equity regarding who receives the resources of therapy and the processes of delivering therapy.  There is a deep belief that these contextual issues provide important insights into authentic notions of wellbeing and healing.

This workshop will present the conceptual framework of this approach alongwith demonstrations and activities to engage the participants with how to use and incorporate the key values and professional stances of this approach. In order to help the transfer of the learnings after the workshop, a substantial amount of conceptual material will be shared.


The participating professionals will:

  • become oriented in the usage of the Just therapy Approach in clinical and community work and conceptually competent in the approach.
  • develop deeper awareness of the context and the meaning attributed to experiences, viz. larger issues interplaying with presenting issues in the family/couple system and become more equipped to incorporate these issues in their work.
  • develop their ability of reflectiveness about the work with a family/couple system
  •  build clarity and personal articulation about the values, ethics and contexts of therapy and the role of therapy and therapists more broadly in society.

For Whom

Psychologists, psychotherapists, family and child therapists, couples therapists, social workers, counselors, faculty of psychology departments of colleges and Universities, researchers in the disciplines of Psychology, Cross-cultural studies and Social Policy, post-graduate students from the mental health disciplines.

About Charles Waldegrave

Charles Waldegrave is a pioneering New Zealand family therapist and one of the founders of the ‘Just Therapy’ approach of the Family Centre in Wellington. He holds 2 MAs and his professional orientation is post-structural family therapy.  Just Therapy is practiced throughout the world and the key professionals of the Family Centre regularly run international workshops on the Just Therapy approach.  In 2007 the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA) presented the Just Therapy team with an award for a ‘Distinguished Contribution to Social Justice’.

Charles is also a psychologist and social policy researcher.  Alongside his therapeutic work, he leads the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit (FCSPRU) and is a joint leader of the New Zealand Poverty Measurement Project (NZPMP) and the New Zealand Longitudinal Study on Ageing (NZLSA) research programmes.

More information about the approach and Charles Waldegrave can be found at their website : http://www.familycentre.org.nz

Fee:       IAFT Members: Rs. 3500/-                                           Non-Members: Rs. 4,000/-

The fee includes all handouts, lunches, tea/coffee and the Certificate of participation.

Please send fee  (by cheque or DD payable in Delhi) to:  Dr. Indu Kaura, Secretary, IAFT

D – 6, Vikas Puri, New Delhi – 110018.


About  IAFT:

The Indian Association for Family Therapy was founded at the initiative of visionary psychologists and child development professionals in May 1991 in New Delhi. Formally registered in 1994, the IAFT has created a collective space and forum for professionals from the fields of Psychology, Social Work, Education, Human Development and Allied Health Services.

The membership of IAFT has grown over the past 2 decades to span a number of cities in India and abroad. It is committed to furthering the knowledge, practice and cultural adaptation of family therapy, couples therapy and a systems approach in India.


1. Study group meetings / Clinical case forums for theory and practice learning.

2. Seminars, workshops and trainings by active family therapists.

3. National and International level Conferences.

4. Maintenance of a library of books, journals, papers and videotapes.


A reader for the visually impaired

A reader for the visually impaired

(Click here to read from source: Indian Express)

The Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, has designed a reading machine for the visually impaired that will help them read books, letters, magazines and other documents that are not in Braille without the help of a third person. CSIO is a premier national instrumentation research laboratory under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India.

“Translating text into Braille is not only time consuming but also very expensive,” said Pawan Kapur, director, CSIO. Two different designs have been developed by a team of CSIO scientists headed by Dr H K Sardana, who conceptualised the instrument around four years ago. In the first design, a pair of high resolution cameras captures an image of the document using step-by-step scanning. A minimum of four such steps are required to scan an A4 page, while a book page may be covered in only two or three steps. The instrument takes 15 to 30 seconds to convert an A4 size printed document into speech. In the second design, a portable scanner (horizontal scan length of 210 mm) is used to scan the printed document as a whole. One can scan the document after connecting the handy scanner to USB1/USB2 and listen to the recognised text using headphones.

The instrument uses a controlling unit which converts the scanned image to text document using optical character recognition techniques and this text document is read aloud with the help of text-to-speech conversion. The controlling unit also comes with a keypad user interface with various options. With the help of nine keys one can modulate speech coming out of the instrument and can also navigate to various features. The user can also use a set of voice commands to operate the instrument. This portable system can also be battery operated.

“The instrument was demonstrated at Institute of Blind, Chandigarh. We are planning to approach government agencies and NGOs for partnerships,” said Kapur.