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Paralyzed IndyCar Driver Uses Sip, Puff, and Yaw to Drive Again

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harman preet singh
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Re: Mr. Schmidt has other qualities
harman preet singh   7/1/2015 4:23:16 AM
More impressive than the engineering that went into the system design is the determination and courage of the driver.

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Mr. Schmidt has other qualities
TRCSr   6/30/2015 9:37:18 PM
I think that this is wonderful use of technology and I am real glad that Mr. Schmidt had the opportunity to get back in a cart and drive. However, he has other qualities that I feel that should be mentioned in connection with this. He sponsors many events for other disabled persons and gives them opportunities that they would otherwise not have. I shared in one of these events several years ago when he sponsored a group of about 15 or so disabled people at Kentucky Speedway. I was there accompanying my cousin who, at age 19, lost both of his legs in Vietnam. All of the participants got free tickets to the races and special tours and other fine benefits. Also, a note of thanks needs to go out to the Michael Andretti group who provided a very fine lunch for the group.

William K.
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Determination and courage.
William K.   6/30/2015 3:03:40 PM
More impressive than the engineering that went into the system design is the determination and courage of the driver. Determination to not surrender to a serious disability, and courage to persue driving by means of a method that looks a bit shakey to me. I am certain that the engineers did a good job, but I see the grip on vehicle control as being a bit short of 100%. Of course, at speeds over 100MPH anyone, handicapped or not, is not driving, they are aiming the car. That is a quote from an older race-car diver many years ago, still very much true today.

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Great technology working together with human spirit
millerman   6/30/2015 2:47:59 PM
It is very interesting, driving a race car using such a controls must be very challenging.

That reminds me a bit of a story of Alex Zanadri, Indy Car racer who lost both of his legs in a terrific crash in Germany in 2001. He went on to drive specially modified DTM car (for non piston heads DTM is German Nascar). You cannot stop the human spirit!

Kudos to everyone involved, but that technology (manual driving using head movement and sip/puff) might be supersesded by an autonomous 'google' car, that will not require driver input.


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Approximating Driver Reflexes
RW-in-DC   6/30/2015 11:17:47 AM
The article posits the simulator having regular individuals "compete" against Mr. Schmidt using the modified driving controls.  I'm curious whether any current Indy drivers also attempted the simulator or individuals that are used to the sip/puff controls which would "control" for the unfamiliarity of either the speed of the "car" or the control setup and provide better comparisons.  Otherwise, the people competing against Sam have two "strikes": speed/course and controls for the "car" while he has had training on both aspects (and was a professional racer prior to his injury).

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Mean Humor
ChasChas   6/30/2015 10:13:54 AM

Very interesting article!

But, it surely promotes mean humor.

I'm sure your heard of bobble head dolls - What if you see a girl walking down the sidewalk - A plane flying over - don't ask him "no" questions while driving, etc.

(Maybe this needs to be checked before allowing.)

Great science.

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