Submitted by Ted Takacs on Sun, 12/26/2004 - 20:06.

Images ©madgraphics, www.disabilityart.com


What is WheelchairNet?

WheelchairNet is a community
for people who have a common interest in (or in some cases a passion
for) wheelchair technology and its improvement and successful
application. WheelchairNet is a virtual community... a community that
exists only in "cyber space." Cyberspace is just a way of referring to
the Internet. It's a community organized along the lines of a real
town. We even have a site map!
This virtual town is inhabited, visited and managed by people who have
an interest in wheelchairs and how wheelchairs can best serve the needs
of people who use them.

Over the two years that
WheelchairNet has existed, it has added resources such as a
bibliographic databases, a series of slide lectures, article reprints
and an active discussion area. WheelchairNet's purpose is to serve the
information needs of anyone interested in wheeled mobility. However,
its primary audience is the end user-the person who uses a wheelchair.
Our site uses a community metaphor and WWW media to create a forum for
the free exchange of information regarding wheelchair technology and
its successful use. We believe that when the end user is truly the
focus of a transaction-evaluation, product development, sale or funding
decision-other aspects of this complex development and delivery system
fall into line.

One nice feature of WheelchairNet is that
the services and information provided are free--no property taxes, no
sewer and water bills, etc. Another big plus is WheelchairNet does not
collect any payroll taxes from its volunteer leaders--therefore no
income taxes! Over time, though, it is possible that the Town Council
will decide to establish some "Bylaws" for governing the community. In
the long run, WheelchairNet, like all communities, will grow or
languish based on the enthusiasm and contributions of its inhabitants.

WheelchairNet was officially incorporated on January 1st, 1999, as the result of a five year grant from NIDRR to the University of Pittsburgh, in support of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Wheeled Mobility. It is currently in active Phase II development.

In WheelchairNet people can...

  • ask questions about wheelchair selection and use
  • get and give answers
  • meet each other
  • teach each other
  • link to information about wheelchair products and services
  • link to other resources
  • learn about and participate in wheelchair research projects
  • contribute community leadership
  • vote on important community issues
  • attend Wheelchair University

Who should think about joining this community?

  • Consumers--people who use wheelchairs.
  • Family members and other advocates--people personally involved in the daily lives of wheelchair users.
  • Clinicians--people who prescribe or provide wheelchairs.
  • Researchers--people who are involved in improving wheelchair technology.
  • Manufacturers--people who produce wheelchairs and wheelchair-related products.
  • Health Insurers or Payer--people who provide payment for wheelchair products.
  • Legislators--people who make laws that directly or indirectly affect the lives of persons who use wheelchairs.
  • Transporters--people who are responsible for the safe transport of people using wheelchairs.

We invite you to get involved!

WheelchairNet, like any community, will constantly change and grow.

  • If you find something that needs to be fixed...
  • If you think of something you would like to see...
  • If you see a way that you'd like to get involved, or want to know more--just send us a mbuning [at] pitt [dot] edu.
  • We'll get back in touch with you right away!

Who are your town planners?

  • Director of Community Resources - mbuning [at] pitt [dot] edu
  • Director of Web Development - ruffing [at] pitt [dot] edu
  • Chief Town Planner - dhobson [at] pitt [dot] edu

Who are our sponsors?

As opposed to cyberspace, this is where you can find us in "real space:"

The RERC (Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center) on Wheeled Mobility
5051 Forbes Tower
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
How to find us on the map of the University of Pittsburgh

Go to the WheelchairNet Discussion Area to ask questions or share your thoughts on this topic with others.

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