Bonnie Shakes Hands With a Stingray!

Bonnie ON, CA

Bonnie Stingray

Ergo Joy Stick product Evaluation

As a person living with a progressive neuromuscular disorder I spend the majority of my time in a specialized power wheelchair.  I am the owner/operator of a small consulting business that assists clients with modifying their environments and appliances to best suit their changing needs.
I myself was in search of a joystick control unit that would accomodate my own changing needs as my condition advances.  I happened to be engaged in an internet search for a modified joystick handle for my own powerchair when I happened upon the ergo joystick handle one evening.  I had previously been using first the small knob type controller (standard powerchair issue), and had moved onto the ball type of handle as my dexterity in my dominant hand deteriorated.  I was becoming extremely fatigued using the previously stated two modifications to my joystick, and was considering upgrading to the traditional "goalpost" style of handle.
When I had discovered the Ergo Joystick option I was most keen to have one, as the mobility of the small muscles of my hand were becoming less effective at controlling my powerchair. I require precision to move about my home and function at my own business.
I was primarily impressed with the design of the Ergo Joystick, being, the control mechanism would
allow me to utilize the larger muscles of my arm that were not yet affected by my progressive lack of dexterity.  I had noticed that the control mechanism appeared to conform to the basic shape of my hand, utilizing the gusset between my thumb and index finger, while allowing the heel of my hand to be in a resting position.  The idea of using this device itrigued me. Kinetically, this idea made absolute sense.
I contacted Joseph Olson in regard to his idea, and wanted to know how I would be able to purchase this item, and was informed by him that it was in the trial and development phase.
After contacting Mr. Olson, he then offered to allow me to be a part of his product development and
assessment team. 
I have had several individuals approach me out of interest in regard to this product, powerchair users and those who do not use a device, due to it's unique appearance and apparent ease of use.
I have had the Ergo Joystick ( Stingray model) attached to my joystick controller for a few weeks at this juncture, and have had a chance to present my evaluation of this product:
1. The handle attaches easily to the joystick stem, and I was able to attach it without assistance.
2. When in use, the device is quite responsive. I have suffered no fatigue whatsoever when operating my powerchair, making me infinitely more productive in my workplace.
3. The shape of the Ergo Joystick basically conforms to the contours of my hand in a resting position, thus I have more effective control of the movement of my appliance.
4. I have been able to remain in a state of motion in my powerchair for hours for the very first time since the very early days of the onset of my neuromuscular condition.
5. I have had the opportunity to interface with different types of terrain and angles of approach to obstacles within my environment, as well as reversing and turning radius with my chair onto platforms without incident, being in full control of my chairs positioning whether it be from street to sidewalk, indoors, or onto the public transit system (for the first time in many years).
My personal conclusion, This design warrants much merit and has been very well engineered to suit the requirements of  individuals with limited movement/dexterity. 
My recommendations for moving forward with this design are that there would be a built up knob device as per the original model between the thumb and forefinger gusset. and perhaps a more defined resting heel cup (see original concept). I would also recommend using a rubber tube/nipple collar where the handle and stem conjoin in the interest of securing the unit to the joystick stem, as it would be easy to pull away from the stem in its present form.
Additionally, I would recommend if the prototype handle could possibly be individually molded to
an indivudual hand for greater comfort-  i.e foam/clay impression box.
I thank you for allowing me to evaluate this product I am absolutely thrilled that this type of innovation for those of us struggling with limited mobility is being developed.
Bonnie S. Manning-Jones
Active8 Ability Consulting
Peterborough Ontario Canada