I recall my first conversation with Glenda being about how she is always bumping into everything with her chair, and how her son has to come over and fix the things she accidentally runs into. After knowing Glenda for a bit I have seen it happen, but I wouldn’t put the blame on her. Navigating a wheelchair like the ones I have seen at liberty seems tough, like parallel parking a hummer in a forest.
When I heard that Glenda wanted to make a turn signal for her chair I was very excited. Not only was this a great project for its simple effective design and modest scope, but it also involves Glenda’s expertise in sewing. I think it will improve her mobility outside as well. Moving through streets like Walnut and Market is hard enough for me, the throngs of people move at a snails pace and are never courteously spaced. If the turn signal can let the fast moving pedestrians know not to cut her off, and let the cars know that she intends to turn then all can move a bit more safely.
Glenda came in one day with several designs already planned, and we settled on the one that could be hung over the headrest of the chair. This was a great design because it could be easily moved, would require no tampering with her chair, and could potentially be used on other chairs.
We started with orange nylon to serve as a bright structure, and vinyl to moderately cover electronic pieces so that rain would get them wet. Glenda sewed the entire back structure which the turn signal lights would be mounted to.
I was working on soldering the lights to a board so that gave the LED’s some structure and made their pins easily accessible. When they came together they are a structure which could be mounted easily to the final board.
Working with Marsha has been a very effective collaboration and I do hope she is inspired by this project to reapply her electronics knowledge toward another project someday.