A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… A disabled entrepreneur and product designer is set to develop a revolutionary prototype of the world’s first “intelligent” manual wheelchair, after winning half a million dollars in funding through a global competition.Andrew Slorance, whose start-up company Phoenix Instinct is based in Forres, Moray, in the north of Scotland, was this week announced as one of five finalists in the worldwide Mobility Unlimited Challenge (MUC).Slorance hopes to produce something that has “never been done before”: an ultra-lightweight wheelchair that uses artificial intelligence to create an “intelligent” centre of gravity, providing a chair that is both stable and easy to self-propel.The wheelchair will also have intelligent, electronic braking so the user will not need to grab the tyres to slow down on steep slopes.Slorance told Disability News Service (DNS) this week: “I genuinely think it would be a revolution of the wheelchair.“It’s a huge responsibility to wheelchair-users because the wheelchair has stayed as it has been for the last five years with very little innovation. “The wheelchair companies themselves, it doesn’t look like they are going to do anything like this. They’re going to carry on dishing out the same stuff.  “And here we have the chance to move the posts and show them and wheelchair-users the wheelchair can be a lot better.”The problem with lightweight wheelchairs, he says, is that even if they are easy to lift, the amount of weight on the small front wheels can make them difficult to push because the centre of gravity is too far forward.But if you move the centre of gravity – the axle position – further back it becomes “very tippy and prone to falling backwards”.What he will do with his new wheelchair – known currently as the Phoenix AI (pictured) – is to use artificial intelligence and sensors that allow the wheelchair to adjust its own centre of gravity according to what the wheelchair-user is doing.“So it will always be very light to push because all of the weight will be going through the back wheels,” he says, “but it will be smart enough to keep the wheelchair stable, so any time the wheelchair looks like it may be prone to falling backwards, the system will kick in and correct it so that can’t happen.”This, says Slorance, has never been done before.The centre of gravity is the number one cause of accidents for wheelchair-users, he says, while the problems linked to the need to make the chair stable make it harder to push, create a lot of vibrations through the front wheels, and cause muscle spasms and other discomfort.The new chair will also have intelligent, electronic braking, so it will automatically slow down to a pre-programmed speed when on a slope.“Wheelchairs don’t have brakes,” he says. “They have parking brakes, so when you get in and out of a wheelchair you can keep it in one place, but when you’re going down a steep slope in rain you’ve just got your hands.“Imagine saying to a cyclist, ‘Here’s your new bike, it doesn’t have any brakes, just grab hold of the tyre if you want to slow down.’”All five of the MUC finalists will receive $500,000 to develop prototypes of their designs, with one of them set to receive another $1,000,000 when the winner of the challenge is announced in Tokyo in September 2020.The Toyota Mobility Foundation launched the $4 million global competition in 2017 in partnership with the UK charity Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, with the aim of improving the mobility and independence of millions of people with lower-limb paralysis.‏Four of the finalists, including Slorance and Phoenix Instinct, have already benefited from $50,000 MUC grants to help them develop their ideas.Now he and the other four finalists have 18 months to produce a prototype to show to the judges.He says he and his team have a “massive task” ahead of them.They have proved that they can electronically adjust the centre of gravity through censors, so when the user moves their body position around on the wheelchair the centre of gravity will adjust itself – in a similar way that the Segway device keeps itself upright – but they still need to create an ultra-light wheelchair that remains “super-duper light” even after the electronics have been added.He believes that such a product would be a revolutionary development of the wheelchair.Slorance believes that his team should be able to get their wheelchair to market within three years.If they do, he believes that smart wheelchairs will be commonplace within five years, just as mobile phones, fridges, and cars are increasingly becoming smart through their use of artificial intelligence.Soon, he says, “people will be driving in driverless cars, they will be taking them home, the car will be telling the oven to turn itself on, while the fridge is ordering some shopping, but the wheelchair, the thing the person most needs more than anything else in life, will be this standard product that existed 35 years ago.He says: “I don’t think it will stay like that. I think that making smart chairs is the natural progression and I think we are the people to get the ball rolling on that.”Innovation in the wheelchair market has been slow so far, he says, partly because it is a niche market, but also because the companies that design wheelchairs are mechanical engineers, they are not electronic or software engineers and so do not have the expensive expertise they need at hand.He believes this could change, if smart wheelchairs become the norm, and the big electronics and automotive companies join the market, ratcheting up the speed of innovation.It could be, he says, “a very exciting time for people like myself as an innovator but also as a wheelchair-user”.Slorance himself already has a strong track record of innovation in wheelchair design, after conceiving and designing the Carbon Black wheelchair, which is made almost entirely from carbon fibre.He has wanted to design wheelchairs almost from the moment be broke his back when he was 14 and was presented by an occupational therapist with an “horrific” NHS wheelchair, and thought to himself: “Wheelchairs have to be better than this.”He built a career in television, editing video for Channel 4 News and Sky News, but gave it up to design the wheelchair that would become the Carbon Black, driven by this belief that “wheelchairs could be better” and the feeling that he was “creatively starved” in journalism where the news is “here today and gone tomorrow”.It was not quite as big a leap as it sounds, he says, because wheelchair-users have to problem-solve every day, but there was still a “long learning journey” ahead of him, on carbon fibre manufacturing, entrepreneurship, and finding the right people in computer-aided design “who would actually create the design that was in my head”.The Carbon Black wheelchair that resulted from this journey was critically-acclaimed and was even exhibited at the Design Museum in 2012 after coming runner-up to the Olympic torch in the Designs of the Year competition.But after he was forced out of his own company by investors he had brought on board – a “very tough thing to go through”, he says – he had to start all over again, which he did by starting up a new firm.The name of his new company – Phoenix Instinct, which sells ultra-manoeuvrable luggage that can be towed by wheelchairs, which he designed himself after launching a Kickstarter fundraising campaign – has a double-meaning.He says: “Every wheelchair-user customer that we have at the moment has Phoenix Instinct – they have the ability to get up every day and overcome the adversity that’s tried so hard to beat them.“But also for me, I have Phoenix Instinct as an entrepreneur, regardless of what happened to me at Carbon Black. Carbon Black is just part of my story.”The other four MUC finalists – two from the US, one from Japan and one from Italy, whittled down from 80 entries spanning 28 countries – will also each benefit from $500,000 development funding over the next 18 months.The Evowalk is ‏a smart, wearable leg sleeve that would help people with partial lower limb paralysis regain their mobility; the Moby is an integrated network of wheel-on electric devices that would allow users of manual wheelchairs the benefits of a powered chair through the equivalent of a cycle share scheme; the Qolo is a lightweight, mobile exoskeleton on wheels, which would allow users to sit or stand; and the Quix is a robotic, powered exoskeleton with motors at the hips, knees and ankles, which aims to offer someone with lower-limb paralysis “fast, stable, and agile upright mobility”. ‏Ryan Klem‏, director of programs for Toyota Mobility Foundation, said: “These five finalists have shown real innovation driven by human-centered design.“We think that the technology incorporated in these devices could change the lives of a huge number of people around the world, not just for people with lower-limb paralysis, but also those with a wider range of mobility needs.”Charlotte Macken‏, of Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, said: “Current personal mobility devices are often unable to fully meet the needs of users due to limitations affecting functionality and usability.“Historically, the pace of innovation is slow, due to small and fragmented markets and difficulties in getting new technology funded by health-care systems and insurers.“This can make the field unattractive to the very people who could help change the world.“We hope that challenges like this can inspire innovation and are excited to see how the five finalists use this opportunity to develop their ideas further.”‏Meanwhile, Slorance says he can see a time when smart wheelchairs are all part of a connected network and are able to communicate with each other.This could mean, if he wanted to travel from Covent Garden to Hyde Park in London, that his wheelchair would be able to ask other wheelchairs in the network how it could do this in an accessible way, whether there were any slopes on the route, and what the road surface was like.“My chair will be able to network with other wheelchairs that have done that journey,” he says, “and tell me exactly where I need to go, and what accessible places there are en route.“I think there’s a whole new world that can open up with the smart technology in wheelchairs.”He says this could eventually see wheelchair-users with an advantage over non-wheelchair-users, something that has already happened in athletics with competitors with running blades, where, he says, “someone with carbon fibre legs can actually have an advantage over someone running on natural legs”.A couple of years ago, he was in his wheelchair on an Edinburgh street and his front wheel caught a paving slab that was sticking up.“I fell flat on my face,” says Slorance. “I scarred my nose quite badly, I broke it. There was nothing I could do.“I think as we move forward, we will see intelligent systems implemented in wheelchairs that would have detected that paving slab sticking up and would automatically turn the chair a different way or sounded some sort of alarm long before I would have known it was there.“In that sense, unless you’re going to wear shoes that have sensors that tell you there’s a paving slab sticking up, then, yes, maybe the wheelchair-user might be at an advantage.”last_img read more

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LabourList readers believe that MPs who voted for

first_imgLabourList readers believe that MPs who voted for Theresa May’s deal do not deserve to be Labour, our latest survey has found.On Friday, Theresa May put her UK-EU withdrawal agreement to a third vote in the House of Commons. It was defeated again, still by a significant margin, but five Labour MPs voted in favour of the deal.Caroline Flint, John Mann, Jim Fitzpatrick, Rosie Cooper and Kevin Barron all joined Conservatives in supporting the Prime Minister. (Dennis Skinner and Ronnie Campbell abstained on the vote.)65% of 3,954 respondents to our survey agreed with Momentum chair Jon Lansman’s comments, tweeted on the morning of the vote, that any MPs voting for the deal did not deserve to be representatives of the party. 35% disagreed with that view.Labour Brexit rebels are likely to face deselection attempts by their local parties, with Jim Fitzpatrick having already been threatened with a vote of no confidence.LabourList readers also say party discipline within Labour should be consistently enforced – with shadow cabinet members facing consequences for their rebellions too.In the first part of the ‘indicative votes’ process on Wednesday, Labour whipped in favour of proposals for its alternative Brexit plan, May’s deal plus customs union membership and a motion tabled by Margaret Beckett calling for a “confirmatory public vote” on “any” deal.Although former shadow housing minister Melanie Onn resigned to vote against the confirmatory referendum, three frontbench MPs – Andrew Gwynne, Jon Trickett and Ian Lavery – abstained on the motion.They have faced no disciplinary action over their defiance of the Labour whip, but a majority of our readers – almost 54% – said that those members of Jeremy Corbyn’s team should have been disciplined.Asked which potential Tory leadership contenders would be easiest for the Labour leader to beat in a general election, LabourList readers picked Esther McVey as the weakest Conservative candidate.With May still failing to get her deal through parliament after multiple attempts, Tory MPs have been manoeuvring to oust their leader and a contest could be imminent. The chances of an early general election are also higher than ever.Choosing from a selection of Conservatives thought to be keen to throw their hats into the ring, 15% of respondents selected McVey as the easiest opponent for Corbyn to win against, while outwardly ambitious Boris Johnson came next with 13.6%.Matt Hancock and Amber Rudd, who both supported the Remain campaign in 2016, came bottom of the list, suggesting that LabourList readers see them as more of a threat to Labour’s chances of winning the next election.An overwhelming majority of LabourList readers – 84% – voted to remain in the 2016 EU referendum, and almost 20% attended the ‘Put it to the People’ march on 23rd March.Giving a good idea of the position of our readership on the EU, only 13% said they voted to leave. Of the 3,954 respondents, 769 joined the most recent march in favour of another referendum.1. How did you vote in the 2016 EU referendum?Click to enlarge.Remain – 84.2% (3,329)Leave – 12.8% (505)Didn’t vote/spoilt ballot – 3.0% (120)2. Did you attend the ‘Put it to the People’ march last weekend?Click to enlarge.No – 80.6% (3,185)Yes – 19.4% (769)3. Three frontbench Labour MPs – Andrew Gwynne, Jon Trickett and party chair Ian Lavery – defied the whip to abstain on a motion for another referendum this week. Should they have been disciplined?Click to enlarge.Yes – 53.6% (2,119)No – 46.4% (1,835)4. Momentum chair Jon Lansman has said that anyone who voted for Theresa May’s deal on Friday does not deserve to be a Labour MP. Do you agree?Click to enlarge.Yes – 64.8% (2,564)No – 35.2% (1,390)5. Which of these potential Tory leadership contenders do you think would be easiest for Jeremy Corbyn to win against in a general election?Click to enlarge.Esther McVey – 15.1% (596)Boris Johnson – 13.6% (538)Andrea Leadsom – 11.7% (463)Gavin Williamson – 11.2% (444)Liz Truss – 9.7% (382)Michael Gove – 8.4% (331)David Davis – 6.4% (254)Jeremy Hunt – 6.0% (239)Dominic Raab – 5.5% (217)Sajid Javid – 3.3% (129)Penny Mordaunt – 3.2% (126)Matt Hancock – 3.1% (123)Amber Rudd – 2.8% (112)The survey was open from 8.15pm on Friday 29th March until 8pm on Sunday 31st March. Thank you to all 3,954 readers who took part.Tags:Labour /Weekly Survey /deselection /Brexit /Jon Lansman /party discipline /last_img read more

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FRANCIS Meli Sia Soliola and Lance Hohaia have be

first_imgFRANCIS Meli, Sia Soliola and Lance Hohaia have been named in the Exiles squad for next week’s second game against England in the International Origin Series 2012.“It is conceivable that with the short turnaround from the games this weekend some players won’t be available,” Coach Daniel Anderson said. “We’ve attempted to satisfy some of the requests from clubs in a difficult period. There are no more than three players from any club, which accounts for many of the changes from game one.“Also, many of the more mature members of the squad have found it challenging on their bodies to get ready when faced with three games in seven days.”Talking about the specific challenge of the second game, Anderson added “I hope we get better weather, I hope the crowd can get to watch a style of footie that better reflects Super League.“We’ll pick a strong team but we only have three days to prepare so the game has its challenges. England have rested players, they’ll have four or five changes and we’ll have at least that, so it’s a different game this time.“But I think the game will be exciting. England are one up so they may have more freedom to attack. Equally we have to win, so we’ll be going for it.”The Exiles play England at the Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield on Wednesday July 4.Exiles 25-man squad:Anthony Gelling, Antonio Kaufusi, Ben Galea, Brett Hodgson, Daniel Holdsworth, Daryl Millard, David Fa’alogo, David Faiumu, Epalahame Lauaki, Francis Meli, Heath L’Estrange, Jake Webster, Jason Chan, Joel Monaghan, Joel Moon, Kylie Leuluai, Lance Hohaia, Michael Dobson, Michael Robertson, Scott Dureau, Sia Soliola, Steve Menzies, Trent Waterhouse, Vince Mellars, Willie Manu.last_img read more

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SAINTS under 19s are working hard for the new seas

first_imgSAINTS under 19s are working hard for the new season – and have been for the last five weeks.With the changes in age group moving from under 18s to under 19s and effectively losing a tier to the system – the under 20s are now defunct – the performance department have developed a new training schedule to cope with the extreme difference of 16-year-old school leavers to 19-year-old experienced under 20s players.“Pre-season has already been the hardest we have ever put together for a youth squad and as ever the lads have equipped themselves with professionalism, determination and desire,” explained Derek Traynor, Under 19s Head Coach. “Alongside the traditional gym, interval running and skills training we have added some altitude chamber work and team and individual psychology sessions. Not to mention the sand dunes!“The season kicks off in early February alongside Super League and it’ll be exciting to see how the new and experienced lads have progressed over the winter months as we look towards a high league finish and a long play-off run.”last_img read more

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REVIEWS are all the rage at this time of year So

first_imgREVIEWS are all the rage at this time of year! So sit back, grab a brew and some leftovers and enjoy our review of an action packed season.Today we begin with what happened on the field in January through to March.Please note that some of the Youtube links below may contain advertising that is no longer relevant. JanuaryAfter a long pre-season that featured trips to the Cassius Camp in the Lake District, four days with Plymouth-based Royal Marines of 42 Commando and a Christmas run up Rivington Pike, Saints began their campaign with a solid 38-18 victory over Championship side Dewsbury Rams. Theo Fages scored in the match that would have been in doubt if it wasn’t for the fans that helped clear snow off the pitch.A week later Widnes Vikings took home the Karalius Cup with a 30-16 win at Langtree Park, with Coach Keiron Cunningham saying Saints looked a little “soft” at times during the defeat.Cunningham signed an extension two days later; remaining a Saint until the end of 2018.FebruarySaints got their Super League campaign off to a superb start beating Huddersfield Giants 30-16 at Langtree Park. Luke Walsh had a hand in all five tries with Mark Percival bagging a brace. The delight was short-lived though as Salford handed KC’s men a 44-10 reverse – not ideal preparation for the World Club Series game with Sydney Roosters which followed. Saints played well in parts but the Roosters were too strong, winning 38-12.Many expected Saints to go the same way over at Hull KR at the end of the month, but James Roby inspired a 31-22 victory – their first league win at the Robins since 2007.MarchCastleford Tigers were next up at Langtree Park – the first of three games between the sides this season. Missing the suspended Travis Burns Saints emerged 28-22 winners in a damp game before hammering Wakefield Wildcats 44-4 at home a week later. Joe Greenwood and James Roby grabbing a brace each in the win.Next up was a trip to Headingley and Leeds Rhinos. The Champions’ form had been sketchy but they won 30-18 – Saints coming back from 16-0 at one point to lead 18-16.Saints aimed to bounce back against Wigan Warriors on Good Friday – but another poor start led to a 24-12 loss in front of a sell-out Langtree park crowd.Battered and bruised Saints then travelled to Widnes Vikings on Easter Monday and won 20-12 – defence key in the second half – but sad news was to follow as Tommy Makinson was ruled out for the season with an ACL tear.Our review continues tomorrow…last_img read more

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SAINTS have announced their 19man squad for Frida

first_imgSAINTS have announced their 19-man squad for Friday’s trip to Widnes Vikings.Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook returns in place of Luke Douglas whilst Kyle Amor is named pending his RFL Disciplinary hearing tonight.Saints will choose their 17 from:2. Tommy Makinson, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Alex Walmsley, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Adam Walker, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Tommy Lee, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 19. Greg Richards, 20. Morgan Knowles, 22. Matty Fleming, 25. Ricky Bailey, 28. Regan Grace, 36. Zeb Taia.Denis Betts will choose his 17 from:1. Rhys Hanbury, 2. Corey Thompson, 3. Chris Bridge, 4. Charly Runciman, 5. Patrick Ah Van, 6. Joe Mellor, 7. Tom Gilmore, 10. Jack Buchanan, 12. Matt Whitley, 14. Chris Dean, 15. Gil Dudson, 16. Alex Gerrard, 17. Stefan Marsh, 18. Greg Burke, 23. Jay Chapelhow, 24. Sam Brooks, 25. Tom Olbison, 31. Jordan Johnstone, 35. Danny Walker.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee will be C Kendall.Ticket details can be found here.last_img read more

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Churches rally in London to draw attention to knife violence

first_img <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Uffiċjali tal-pulizija tal-forensika fuq il-post tad-delitt fejn tfajla ta’ 17-il sena sfat attakkat b’sikkina fil-Lvant ta’ Londra fit-2 ta’ Marzu li għadda. (Credit: Victoria Jones/PA via AP.)Uffiċjali tal-pulizija tal-forensika fuq il-post tad-delitt fejn tfajla ta’ 17-il sena sfat attakkat b’sikkina fil-Lvant ta’ Londra fit-2 ta’ Marzu li għadda. (Credit: Victoria Jones/PA via AP.) Thousands of Christians are scheduled to hold a London rally against knife crime, and “speaking up for young people today, for their generosity and sense of justice,” according to the Archbishop of Westminster.Knife crime has shown a two-thirds increase in the UK since 2014, and 20 percent since 2017, with around 40,000 knife crime offences in the country in 2018.“We will be speaking out against knife crime. We will be lamenting with all who have lost loved ones or suffering injuries on our streets at this time,” said Cardinal Vincent Nichols.Weapons binsThe Standing Together public rally was scheduled to take place in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, and is sponsored by Ascension Trust, an inter-denominational organization that has provided “weapons bins” across London and other areas of England that have helped removed thousands of guns and knives from the streets.The organization said the rally is standing together with families and communities impacted by violent crime, working against violent crime, finding effective solutions to combat violent crime, and supporting all who have been affected by violent crime.“Like most of the country, Britain’s Christian community have been greatly concerned and impacted by the knife crime and youth violence that is becoming a common occurrence in London and urban areas. Just last month five people got stabbed in the course of 24 hours,” said Rev. Les Isaac, the CEO of Ascension Trust. “The Church wants to send a strong message which demonstrates that we are concerned about this issue, that we are here to support victims, and that we want to continue playing a role of being part of the solution.”After the spate of knife violence in the capital in early March, the Metropolitan Police conducted thousands of stops and searches.More police on the streets“We had arranged for more officers from our Violent Crime Taskforce to be on duty and we have extended their shifts to raise our visibility across London. These officers are operating across London in both uniform and plain clothes. Officers from the homicide teams are working around the clock to bring justice to families and protect communities,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty.“Whilst enforcement of the law is an important part of our activity in London, we are undertaking an enormous amount of work within schools and across the communities to try and prevent young people from getting involved in violence,” he continued. “We know that there is still a significant amount of work to do in order to rid the Capital of violence and we absolutely cannot solve this problem alone. The police, our partners and the public must continue to work together to prevent young lives being lost.”Cecilia Taylor-Camara, a policy advisor for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said knife crime is ”symptomatic of something that is happening in society. Our societies are breaking apart: How do we bring them back together?” she said.She said “young people are looking for a sense of belonging,” but are joining groups that are not “the most forward-looking.”Saturday’s rally is also a meeting point for Church groups to offer something better.WhatsApp SharePrintlast_img read more

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