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Modified Corvette Allows Quadriplegic to Drive Again

Sam Schmidt is a former Indy Racing League driver. On January 6, 2000, he crashed during a practice lap at the Walt Disney World Speedway, severely injuring his spinal cord. More than 13 years later, engineers and medical researchers joined forces to modify a car to be safely driven at speed by head movements for a quadriplegic race driver.

On May 18, 2014, Schmidt got behind the wheel of the semi-autonomous motorcar (SAM) and drove for the first time in 14 years at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He completed a lap, reaching a top speed of 97 mph.

In the video below, Schmidt talks to EDN about what it means to be able to drive again via a specially modified Corvette that responds to his head movements using infrared sensors.

This story originally appeared on EBN's sister site EDN.

7 comments on “Modified Corvette Allows Quadriplegic to Drive Again

  1. _hm
    November 14, 2014

    That is very joyous news. He must be feeling very elated. However, on normal, he does needs to drive at 97mph, it may be not be safe with new technology.

     

  2. SunitaT
    November 15, 2014

    “That is very joyous news. He must be feeling very elated. However, on normal, he does needs to drive at 97mph, it may be not be safe with new technology.”

    @_hm: His handicap has been lifted away with the use of cutting edge imaging and logic technology that helps him drive a car. Maybe in future this technology would be readily available and will help handicapped people and older people to drive safely.

  3. SunitaT
    November 15, 2014

    Maybe such technology is the starting point of brain of muscle revolution and coupled with self driving cars, we're looking at an accident free future. May this technology be used thoroughly and it should be decently priced too.

  4. Adeniji Kayode
    November 15, 2014

    This is really a good invension, with this there is hope for the handicapped people to also be able to transport themselves from one place to anothe.

  5. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    November 16, 2014

    I thought this story was terrific. Technology can, when used right, really extend automy and well being. I hope we see more examples like this.

  6. Ariella
    November 17, 2014

    @Hailey yes, right up there with the advances that let people walk or use a robot to reach things when they can't on their own. They help return some level autonomy to them, and that is priceless. 

  7. Anand
    November 17, 2014

    “This is really a good invension, with this there is hope for the handicapped people to also be able to transport themselves from one place to anothe.”

    Or maybe if they self driving car arrives sooner then they would be much more benefitted because they wouldn't have to control the car and put themselves at risk.

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