Tuesday, February 10, 2009

David Lega: Motivation, Invention, Inspiration

My posts have been a little off this week, as I've been in Europe (Munich / Basel) at a series of management meetings for my job with Nemetschek North America, makers of the CAD product Vectorworks. (This product placement is done for the benefit of the GoogleSearch gurus in our marketing department. You know who you are :)

I attended, late last week, a remarkable motivation-type keynote talk by a world champion Paralympic athlete from Sweden named David Lega. David was born with massive physical disabilities as a result of a virus his mother contracted while pregnant. I won't go into detail on either his disabilities nor his many notable accomplishments, but rather direct you to his website so you can learn more. I will say that if you represent a company in need of a motivational speaker, David will provide an unforgettable talk. David is an athlete, an inventor, a writer, an entrepreneur, a force of nature.

What I want to focus on here is the vehicle that you see David using in the picture. It's a tricycle of unusual design. It is of David's invention (he said it was either the fourth or fifth generation, I don't remember exactly) and it's unique in the world. It's unique because of the unusual nature of David's disabilities. He has virtually no arm or hand function, so a conventional wheelchair (even an electric one with a hand control) is not useful. He's an active and accomplished athlete, so an electric chair with say a mouth control is not interesting nor attractive, because he wants to use the muscles he has (his legs have a limited range of motion).

Take a close look at it and you'll see it's a tricycle of (somewhat) standard layout, but lacking any sort of handlebar. This means that steering and propulsion are both accomplished with foot action. You push a little more with the right foot at just the right moment in the cycle to turn left, and vice versa to turn right. David has developed spectacular and perhaps unique capabilities with his feet, and watching him smoothly navigate this wheelchair around a room is quite remarkable. I wonder if all the people in the room appreciated the skills involved.

1 comment:

David Lega said...

Thank you for the kind words and hope to see you again!