Looking for remote control interface design help

I am looking for a way to allow a cousin of mine to operate a toy remote controlled car. She is 14 years old, just about a straight ‘A’ student in a regular classroom, has cerebral palsy, is confined to a wheelchair, and has quite limited movement in her arms and fingers. Her name is Samantha.

Mostly what I’m looking for is a good interface for her to control a vehicle. So far, she has had only moderate success with the joystick for her electric wheelchair.

I’m hoping that using a remote controlled car will be enjoyable, let her be more mobile vicariously, help her master using her electric chair, and promote independence.

This doesn’t have to be an out-of-the-box solution. We’re willing to work on it and spend some money on it.

Many input devices could work. Possibilities I’ve thought of include:
– large, fairly hard to move joystick. (current RC joysticks require very fine motor control that she has trouble with)
– paddles on the upper arm
– something to squeeze as a potentiometer.

I don’t have the expertise to do this on my own. Do you know of anyone or any company that might be of assistance? I’ve been looking for help through RC car and airplane groups and haven’t come up with anything yet.

I just got back from the East Coast Hobby Show looking for controllers and remote systems. It was a total bust. Hurumph

Thanks

One Comment

  1. from my friend phil says:

    Sounds pretty trivial. The RC car controllers come in flavors from cheezy to brutally expensive, but are generally pretty easy to modify.Big, heavy industrial joysticks are available…

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