Applied Computer Simulation Labs

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Wheelchair Net Software Guide

for Wheelchair Net Software Version 2.1


Welcome to the ORI Applied Computer Simulation Labs' Wheelchair Net software. Wheelchair Net is an advanced virtual environment simulation program designed to help orthopedically challenged individuals learn to more safely and effectively operate a powered wheelchair by practicing wheelchair driving maneuvers in a virtual environment.

The Wheelchair Net software takes advantage of the latest computer gaming technology, including advanced 3-D real-time rendering, 3-D spatial sound, and Internet connectivity for multi-user virtual spaces. The potential for this remarkable technology as it pertains to wheelchair mobility training has just begun to be investigated, and the Wheelchair Net software is one of the first applications for this technology designed specifically to help teach motor skills for wheelchair operation.

This project is funded by a grant from the US Department of Education. This software is free, but if you use it we ask that you contact us so we may track its usage.

Medical and Clinical Use of Wheelchair Net:

In addition to the use of the Wheelchair Net software in an educational setting the software has been designed to work well in a clinical or medical environment. Wheelchair Net is easy to use and automatically collects performance data for each student, once a user "account" has been set up. For more information about setting up user accounts refer to the "Using the Wheelchair Net Configuration Utility" section in this document.

Developer Information:

The Wheelchair Net software is developed by the Oregon Research Institute Applied Computer Simulation Labs. Our address and contact information is shown below.

Oregon Research Institute
Applied Computer Simulation Labs
1715 Franklin Blvd.
Eugene, OR 97403-1983

If you have any questions about the Wheelchair Net software, please contact the ORI Applied Computer Simulation Labs at the following URL: http://simlabs.ori.org/contact.

Please note that WheelchairNet is from an old software base and no new features are likely to be added to it. There is a known bug with the 64-bit version of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems that may cause the avatar’s point of view to spin around repeatedly. Bumping into a collidable surface, or hitting the “backward” key often corrects the spin. The problem has to do with core code in the software engine we’re using, and is not likely to be fixed due to the venerable nature of the original engine, and the fact that the engine is no longer supported by the original publisher.

Installing the Wheelchair Net Software:

The Wheelchair Net software can be installed by downloading it directly from our web site.

Please Note: If you are installing the Wheelchair Net software for the first time you will only need to go through steps 5-8 below. If you already have an existing version of the Wheelchair Net software on your computer you'll see the dialog window that appears in step 2 below. It is necessary to uninstall any existing version(s) of the Wheelchair Net software in order for it to function properly.

To install Wheelchair Net do the following:

1) Locate the installer application for Wheelchair Net and double-click it.

Installer Icon

2) Click "Yes" to install the latest version of the software.

Note: Any preexisting student data files on your computer will be untouched when you reinstall the software.

3) Click "Uninstall" to prepare your computer for the installation of the software.

4) When the uninstall process is completed click the "Close" button.

5) Locate the installer application for Wheelchair Net and double-click it.

Note: You may be performing this step for the second time. Proceed with step 5 anyway.

Installer Icon

6) Choose the options you want, or just leave all of the default options checked, then click "Next."

The "Start Menu Shortcuts" option will install shortcuts to the Wheelchair Net software in your start menu.

The "Desktop Shortcuts" option puts shortcuts to the Wheelchair Net software on your computer's desktop.

The "Quicklaunch Desktop Shortcut" and "Quicklaunch on Windows Startup" options are designed to make it easier for physically challenged persons to start up the Wheelchair Net program. This option will put a special "Quicklaunch" shortcut on the desktop that will immediately take the last logged in user to the virtual driving space they were in during their last training session, so no "user name" or "password" will need to be typed to start the software. This option is only recommended if there will be only one student user on a particular machine, or if the machine is located at home. This option will only work if an existing user account has been set up on the computer (i.e., a user name and password have been filled out for the student driver).

The "Quicklaunch on Windows Startup" option works the same way as the "Quicklaunch Desktop Shortcut" option, but starts the Wheelchair Net software automatically when the computer is booted into the Windows operating system. This option is best if the computer running the Wheelchair Net software is dedicated to that purpose.

7) The installer will indicate the directory the files will be installed within. It's best to use the default file path. Click "Install."

8) The installer will copy the necessary files to your hard drive. When it's finished click "Close," or click the "X" in the upper right corner of the window.

The Wheelchair Net software is now installed and ready to run.

Using the Wheelchair Net Software:

Once the Wheelchair Net software has been installed on your computer you'll find two icons that appear on your computer's desktop screen.

The "WheelchairNet" icon is the one you click to start the Wheelchair Net software. The "WCNet Users" icon is a shortcut to the folder on your computer that stores all driving performance data for students or patients who will be using the software. You'll need to make sure each student or patient you'll be working with has an "account" set up. An account, in this case, is a folder where the Wheelchair Net software stores all data pertaining to a particular student or patient. Setting up an account is a one time process per student or patient. The "User Manager" program facilitates creating the user account. Refer to the "Using the Wheelchair Net Configuration Utility" section of this document for more information.

To start the Wheelchair Net software double-click its icon.

The Login Screen:

The screen you'll see next is called the "Login" screen. The Wheelchair Net software collects driving performance data automatically, once a user account has been set up. If you had a user named "Bill Smith" their user name might be "bill_smith," so that's what would be typed in the "User Name:" text box. The user would also have an assigned password that would have to be typed in the "Password:" text box. The user name and password for a particular student or patient must be typed in for each training session so the software knows in which folder the data should be stored.

The purpose of the user name and password scheme is to provide a means for individual student or patient data to be organized and kept track of by the Wheelchair Net software. By having a separate user name and password for each student or patient, it ensures driving performance data integrity, and it makes each user's data more secure.

If you do not wish to collect data for a particular student or patient, but you, or a guest, would like to drive in one of the virtual environments, you can log in as a "guest" with no password, and you will be able to drive within any of the available virtual environments without needing to have an account set up.

It is extremely important that each student using the Wheelchair Net software is logged in correctly so the computer collects the correct student's driving data. To simplify the login process the software will remember the last student who used or logged in to the program, so the last user name will automatically appear in the "User name" field. In this way only the "Password" will need to be typed.

Wheelchair Net Driving Modes:

The Wheelchair Net software has two driving modes, an "Offline" mode and an "Online" mode. The "Offline" mode should be used when no Internet network connection is available, or you do not want the student or patient to drive in the same virtual environment where other students or patients may be. Offline means the driving session will have only one person driving within the virtual environment.

The "Online" mode of the software is for shared, networked driving, where more than one person may be driving in the virtual environment at once, connected through the Internet. Note: The "Online" mode of the software will only work if your computer has a working connection to the Internet through a Modem, Ethernet, DSL, Cable Modem, or wireless scheme. The "Online" mode is much more social than the "Offline" mode, but may not be appropriate for all mobility training needs.

No matter what mode the software is in, data are automatically collected and stored on the computer's hard drive. In the "Online" mode data are also backed up automatically on a special secure server, located within the ORI Applied Computer Simulation Labs facilities. These data are encrypted, so they protect the confidentiality of the students or patients who have accounts on the system, and are sent after the "Drive Online" button is pressed.

In some situations you may not want the user data to be uploaded to our server. To prevent this from happening use the "Drive Offline" mode of the software only. Data will still be collected, but they will remain only on the local computer where the software is used.

Connecting to the ORI Applied Computer Simulation Labs from the Login Screen:

You can connect to the ORI Applied Computer Simulation Labs web server automatically by clicking the blue "http://simlabs.ori.org" text under the words "Applied Computer Simulation Labs" title, near the top of the screen. Clicking here does not send any data whatsoever to our networking system. It is merely an easy way to connect to our web site for browsing purposes, or to look for software updates, etc.

Click the "Drive" button to load a specific virtual training environment, and click "Logout" if you wish to log another student or patient into the system.

The "Adjust Wheelchair" button allows you to adjust the driving speed of the wheelchair and the location of the virtual wheelchair's turning axis so it more closely matches the turning characteristics and speed of the type of wheelchair a student is using. For both of these settings the Wheelchair Net software will remember any unique "Speed Scale" or "Axis" settings you make for each student. You may also change these settings whenever you like by returning to this window.

Adjust Speed Scale - This slider bar allows you to reduce the maximum driving speed of the chair to as little as half of it's normal speed, or to boost the speed by 20% more than the normal driving speed in 10% increments. For students who are having particular difficulty driving at the normal speed, or who are crashing excessively because they have not yet developed effective driving skills for the normal speed setting, reducing the speed setting may help.

Adjust Axis Location - This slider bar allows you to adjust where the wheelchair's pivot axis is located. The pivot axis is the point around which the wheelchair turns, which is normally directly in the middle of the main driving axle of the wheelchair. On most wheelchairs the pivot axis is toward the rear of the chair, but you can adjust it's position in 3" (.25 feet) increments so it's up to one foot forward or one foot behind the direct center of a "standard" power wheelchair. This setting is especially important if a particular student has a powered wheelchair where the pivot axis is not in the traditional (rear end of the wheelchair) position. By adjusting the virtual wheelchair so it models, as accurately as possible, the student's actual wheelchair construction, the driving skills the student learns will be the most effective and accurate.

A wheelchair having an axis in the exact center would be represented on the slider bar by having the slider box between the "Rear" and "Front" settings (represented by the small dark "ticks"). A center axle (or axis) wheelchair would show up as "0.0" feet. Generally, rear axle wheelchairs should be set to "-0.75 ft." and front axle wheelchairs should be set to "0.75 ft.", as indicated on the "Adjust Axis Location" slider bar.

It should be noted that when you adjust the axis with this controller that you are effectively altering the way the chair turns and performs in the virtual environment. A poorly configured virtual wheelchair will make it harder for the student to avoid collisions when performing turns, and may confuse them when driving a real wheelchair in actual reality.

This is an example of the configuration screen you'll see if you choose the "Online" driving mode of the Wheelchair Net software. In the "Online" mode multiple drivers may be logged in simultaneously, see each other in the virtual space, chat with text or telephone-like speech, and have their driving performance data uploaded automatically to the Applied Computer Simulation Labs secure server for research purposes. The "Online" configuration screen for the software is nearly identical to the "Offline" mode window, but with the addition of an "Online Users" field on the right side of the window. This field shows all currently connected or "logged in" users and the virtual world they are currently driving within. Clicking the "Update" button refreshes the display, and shows the latest listing of currently connected online drivers. This is helpful if the student or trainer is trying to determine the virtual location of other drivers who are using the system.

Using the Wheelchair Net Configuration Utility:

The "Wheelchair Net Configuration Utility" software allows you to easily create a new user account for a student or patient, as well as change several other options for the Wheelchair Net software. To locate the utility go to the START menu and choose WCNET from the PROGRAMS menu. Look for an item named "WCNET Configuration" and double-click it.

The options available in this window help you configure the software and set up user "accounts." It is very important that each student using the system has a unique login and password so the appropriate data for each student are collected and analyzed correctly.

The "Show Password" button will reveal the selected user's password, in case you forget what it is. Though this is not very secure it simplifies many issues that can arise if passwords are forgotten.

Because of the lack of security in this feature it is especially important that computers in a public computer lab be monitored if meaningful user accounts and respective data are to be collected.

Once the "Wheelchair Net Configuration" utility is running you can click the "Add User" button to create a new user. A screen will prompt you to enter a name for the user. This is the user name you'll need to type each time your student or patient uses the Wheelchair Net software. This name should be unique so no two users' data are accidentally mixed up. The password you type must be at least 8 characters long.

If you choose to "Delete: a user you will see this dialog window appear.

Clicking "Global Settings" presents you with the following screen. Usually, you won't need to change most of these settings.

Unless explicitly told to change the default information in the "Server Configuration" fields you should leave them as-is.

If you're having problems getting the "Wheelchair Net" software to work on a specific machine the "Display Configuration" settings can be altered.

If you plan to use the Wheelchair Net software with students who will be using it in the "Online" mode you will need to enter information into the "State," "Organization," and "ORI Assigned ID Number" fields. It is only necessary to enter this information once. It helps the server software determine which machine specific data files for students originated from when collecting data online. For "Offline" mode use you do not need to enter information into the "Site Configuration" text fields.

NOTE: If you are participating in our research and you will be using the "Online" mode of the Wheelchair Net software with students or patients we ask that you contact us so we can register your computer with our master server. Our master server keeps track of wheelchair driving performance data for each participating user so we can determine how well the system works, and track the progress of specific wheelchair drivers within each virtual training space. All data on our master server are encrypted, and transmit only driving performance data from the Wheelchair Net program.

The "Enable VOIP" box will be unchecked by default. If you wish to use this feature make sure this box is checked.

Since the Wheelchair Net software was designed for research purposes we ask that you fill out the information to the left as accurately and thoroughly as possible. This information only needs to be entered once for each user account, and it will greatly help in the assessment of driving performance data derived from each student account.

If you plan to use the software, and you are not orthopedically challenged, please enter "None" for the diagnosis. This will allow us to separate student data from teacher, parent, and trainer data.

Each computer running the Wheelchair net software at your location needs to have an "ORI Assigned ID Number" so we can collect meaningful data. This information only need to be entered once per machine.

Keyboard Shortcuts for the Wheelchair Net Software:

Wheelchair Net can be controlled with a joystick, a custom-built wheelchair roller platform, or with the arrow keys on the main keyboard of the computer. Once a virtual environment is running it's fairly obvious how the joystick or arrow keys operate. Moving the joystick forward moves the virtual wheelchair forward, left, right, and backward, respectively. Pushing a button of the joystick tilts the point of view down so the student or patient can see their virtual feet, and the edges of the vehicle they are driving. This "tilt down" mode is especially useful when the student or patient needs to learn now to navigate through doorways, for example. Pushing a joystick button again tilts the point of view to the normal "chin up" view.

To stop the Wheelchair Net software at any time hit the "Esc" (escape) key.

Wheelchair Net Keyboard Definitions
Esc Quits the program.
F1 Help - view a list of all keyboard commands.
F5 Activates text display in the upper left corner of the screen.
F6 Deactivates text display in the upper left corner of the screen.
1 or Number Pad 1 Say "Hi!" (Online mode only).
2 or Number Pad 2 Say "Come Here." (Online mode only).
3 or Number Pad 3 Say "Follow Me." (Online mode only).
4 or Number Pad 4 Say "Watch this." (Online mode only).
5 or Number Pad 5 Say "Thank you." (Online mode only).
6 or Number Pad 6 Say "Sorry." (Online mode only).
7 or Number Pad 7 Say "Good-bye." (Online mode only).
8 or Number Pad 8 Say "Wait a minute." (Online mode only).
9 or Number Pad 9 Beep your horn. (Online mode only).
0 or Number Pad 0 Rev up your motor (Online mode only).
A Look "Up" in virtual space.
M Mute/Unmute sound.
R "Resets" the camera view.
T Send a text message to another driver. (Online mode only).
Z Look "Down" in virtual space.
Up Arrow Key Move "Forward" in virtual space.
Down Arrow Key Move "Backward" in virtual space.
Left Arrow Key Move "Left" in virtual space.
Right Arrow Key Move "Right" in virtual space.

Using the Keyboard Keys:

Wheelchair Net makes extensive use of the computer's keyboard to adjust and control specific functions of the software. Aside from the more obvious use of the "arrow keys" for navigation within the virtual training space, there are other keys that you may find useful to demonstrate specific driving maneuvers to your students or patients.

Looking Up and Down to Navigate through a Doorway:

If your student needs to drive through a doorway it is useful for them to see the front of their vehicle with a "look down" point of view so they can monitor how close the front and side edges of their vehicle are to the frame of the doorway.

To change the point of view to a "look down" mode, hit the "Z" key.

To change the point of view to a "look up" mode, hit the "A" key.

If your student or patient wants to look up or down they can tap one of the buttons on their joystick (if a standard PC gaming joystick is used for driving) to toggle between a "look down" and "look up" point of view.

Text Chat:

Text chat allows text communication between multiple participants within a virtual training environment. The text chat function only operates when users are driving in the "Online" mode. When "text Chat" is activated it overrides the normal "Wheelchair Net Keyboard Key Definitions" listed above, so all alphanumeric keys print text, just like a simple word processor. Once the "Text Chat" mode is deactivated (by hitting the "ENTER" key) the above keyboard shortcuts operate as listed.

To activate text chat, hit the "T" key on the keyboard. A translucent box will appear in the middle of the screen. You can type whatever you like when this is box is active, but as soon as you hit the "ENTER" key on the main keyboard, the text you typed will be sent to all wheelchair (avatar) drivers in the world, and the text will appear in the upper left corner of the screen in the text chat list box. After approximately 10 seconds, the text chat message list will disappear, until a new message is sent by someone. Even if your students or patients do not have the motor control to type on a keyboard you can transcribe messages for them, so they can communicate with their peers. As a therapist or trainer you can also send specific instructions to a participant in the environment, to instruct, motivate, or challenge them, even if you aren't in the same real-world space. With text chat you could, for example, direct "student 1" to 'go to the cave,' "student 2" to 'try driving through the doorway at the inn,' and "student 3" to 'find the windmill' in the Village Square training space.

Quick Messages:

You can send a quick message by hitting a number key, either on the main keyboard, or on the number pad. Numbers 1-8 speak specific short phrases, in addition to printing what is "spoken" in the text chat list box. Keys 9 and 0 play a sound effect, and print a description of the sound effect in the chat list box. (See the "Wheelchair Net Keyboard Key Definitions" section above for more detail about each quick message).

Virtual Environment Features:


An avatar is a virtual representation of someone within a virtual environment. Avatars in the Wheelchair Net software appear as vehicles that your students or patients drive. Allowing your student or patient to choose which avatar they want may help them feel more empowered and comfortable using the Wheelchair Net training system. Additionally, custom avatars make it easier to differentiate multiple drivers who may be in the same training space, and may increase time on task, motivation and effort.

Though each avatar looks very different, each vehicle has the same sized "footprint," so the skills needed to drive each vehicle are the same, regardless of which avatar your students or patients choose to use. The wheelchair driver will need to exercise the same discretion when driving though doorways, or across narrow paths when using, for example, the "wheelchair" avatar, or the "rocket." Each avatar has been carefully designed to occupy the same base "ground" area where a collision might occur with nearby objects. When looking "down" the visibility of the ground may vary slightly from one avatar to another, but the same driving skills are needed in order for the student or patient to avoid a collision.

Driver Information :

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP):

The Wheelchair Net software supports full-duplex voice chatting in "Online" mode. This allows two or more logged in persons to converse with each other while driving within the virtual space. The VOIP feature requires a standard PC voice headset, available at most electronics and computer stores. The quality of the voice exchange depends on the connection speed of the user (i.e., a DSL or Cable Modem has more bandwidth available than a dial up phone modem), and the quality of the headset.

A USB (digital) headset/microphone unit is recommended, as these devices tend to perform better than the standard 1/8" mini plug (analog) headsets, though they tend to be more expensive.

VOIP Range of Sensitivity :

The image above shows what a user might see when they are within "range" to conduct a VOIP chat with another driver inside a virtual world. The cartoon-like voice balloon above the driver appears when one or more other drivers are within a 25 foot (virtual) radius of sensitivity. Beyond the 25' radius the voice balloon will disappear, indicating that the other party will not be able to hear what is being spoken over your headset. When a person is speaking an asterisk * will appear in the balloon, to indicate that the other party is broadcasting voice data. Since the voice chat is full-duplex (i.e., you can hear yourself talk while others are talking) the asterisk voice balloon indicator helps make conversations easier to understand.

Having a Private or Group VOIP Conversation:

The VOIP balloon appears when one avatar is within a 25' virtual radius from one or more other avatars. This proximity method of activating VOIP requires no switches or keyboard activation, so it's essentially "hands free." If you don't want a particular avatar to hear what you say with VOIP, drive far enough away from them that their voice balloon disappears from above their avatar vehicle. (To them, your voice balloon will disappear as well, when you are out of 'conversation' range). If you would like multiple avatar drivers to hear what you say make sure they are within a 25' virtual radius from you, and that you can see their VOIP balloons. In this case, whatever you speak over the headset will be potentially heard by all parties within range.

When the VOIP mode is active, a display similar to the one shown to the right will appear. The "V" indicates the status of voice chatting. The "S" changes color when voice data are being transmitted, and the "R" changes color when voice data from other persons are being received.

Note: The audio that is sent and received with VOIP is converted into packets of numbers that are sent over your Internet connection. Depending on the speed of each connected user, there may be a delay of several seconds (or more), before the other person(s) hear your voice message. In this way VOIP chatting is not like a standard telephone call. It may take some time to get used to, but VOIP can be a great boon to distance driving instruction, training, etc.

Adaptive Physics:

An important feature of the Wheelchair Net software is its adaptive physics. Adaptive physics are rules the software uses to determine how realistically the virtual training space should respond when a driver collides with an object. There are five physics levels in the Wheelchair Net software, each designed to allow the wheelchair driver progressively more realism in the way the environment and the virtual wheelchair interact when a collision occurs, as well as the allowable speed the wheelchair may move within the virtual space.

The image to the left graphically shows the underpinnings of the adaptive physics system. The small squares surrounding the virtual driver (avatar) are like "feelers" that measure the distance the driver is from surrounding objects, and the area around the avatar where a collision has occurred. These feelers are normally invisible, but are operative for all students driving within the virtual space. The Wheelchair Net software is constantly monitoring the space around the virtual wheelchair to determine the types of collisions the driver tends to make, the severity of each collisions, and the area(s) around the chair where the actual collisions occur.

Students who consistently demonstrate the ability to drive more safely are allowed to drive faster by the software. The more severe the collision, the more "expensive" the consequences for the student. As the student's driving skills improve, the physics of each environment become more realistic.

At first, when the wheelchair driver is less experienced, the software is more forgiving when a collision occurs and will nudge the wheelchair slightly if the wheelchair driver runs into a wall, doorway, curb, etc., so the driver will have an easier time moving away from the collided object. At the same time the maximum velocity the wheelchair can be driven is slower, but increases slightly through each of the five levels of realism. As the wheelchair driver's skills improve, the collision physics become less and less tolerant, until they behave very much like the "real" thing. The end effect is that the wheelchair driver may feel more of a sense of accomplishment during the early stages when learning to drive, and consequently may feel more motivated. When the student is more advanced they will need to put forth a lot more effort, and make use of considerably more motor skill to reposition themselves when their virtual wheelchair collides with a wall, for example. This prepares them for more challenging real world driving.

The computer keeps track of the cumulative time each of your students or patients spend driving within the virtual training space. As this time accumulates the physics become more and more realistic until the "realistic" mode of the software is all the students ever experience when driving. The change from one physics level to another happens automatically, and is based on the notion that with practice, skills improve, and the students or patients should have fewer and fewer collisions as they spend more time using the Wheelchair Net software, and be able to more safely handle increased driving speed.

Backing Up Data:

The Wheelchair Net software automatically backs up all "Online" user driving performance data to a secure server located at the ORI Applied Computer Simulation Labs facility. Offline driving performance data must be backed up to floppy disk, or other media, and mailed to our facility for us to analyze for our research. "Offline" means that the user(s) of the Wheelchair Net software are driving without an active Internet connection. All driving data for each user are automatically stored on the computer's hard drive regardless of the presence of an active Internet connection. If the software is used without an Internet connection for a time and then used with an Internet connection all data files will be uploaded to the server when the Internet connection is initiated and the Wheelchair Net software is running.

In the case where you want to back up student data files for research you can do so with the aid of a simple "Data Manager" program we have developed, or manually.

All user accounts for the Wheelchair Net software are stored in the following location on your hard drive:


Each student's data are stored in a unique directory in one plain text files. It is extremely important that each student is logged in correctly when they use the Wheelchair Net software so the appropriate data are stored in the correct file.

The Data Manager Utility:

To simplify the backing up of Wheelchair Net user data files a "Data Manager" program has been developed, and was installed on your computer with the Wheelchair Net software. The "Data Manager" is a simple program that makes it easy to back up all user data files to one or more floppy disks. The "Data Manager" automatically tracks the files that have already been backed up, and tells you how many floppy disks will be needed. The "Data Manager" program can be found in the Start menu in the "WCNET" subdirectory.

NOTE: The Data Manager program only makes a copy of the data files stored on your computer and does not erase any files on your hard drive.

The "Data Backup Manager" screen will appear when you first click the "Data Manager" screen. The "Name" field is for you to enter your name, and the "Location" field is for the location, or city where you are located. This makes it much easier to determine the origin of specific floppy disks we may receive through the mail when data are sent to us.

All recognized Wheelchair Net users appear in a list on the right side of the screen to show which user files will be backed up when selected. To back up the data files for all users click the "Select/Deselect" button on the bottom right area of the window so all of the user names are highlighted. Otherwise, SHIFT-CLICK, or CONTROL-CLICK the names of specific user files you would like to back up.

Once you have told the software which users' data you would like to back up you may click the "Backup to Floppy" button. The "Backup Manager" software will tell you how many floppy disks will be required. In the case below only one floppy disk will be needed.

When you click the "OK" button in the above dialog window you will be asked to insert a floppy disk into your drive. Make sure the floppy disk has been formatted, and that it has no other files on it, then click the "OK" button.

It may take up to several minutes to back up the data files to the floppy disk(s). When the process is finished you will see the following dialog window informing you of the mailing address to send the floppy disk to the Applied Computer Simulation Labs.

If you have already backed up files to one or more floppy disks you might see a dialog window similar to the one below.

Backing Up User Data Files Without the Data Manager Program:

All data files for the Wheelchair Net software are stored in the following location on your hard drive:


You may copy the entire "users" directory from the above location to a flash drive, CD-ROM, or other storage medium if you like, and this will effectively make a copy of all of the data for all users of the Wheelchair Net software. The Data Manager program was designed only as a simple and alternative means to backup user data.

Input Devices for Driving:

The Wheelchair Net software is designed to help improve a person's ability to operate a powered wheelchair in actual reality. In order for the transference of motor skills from virtual wheelchair driving to occur with real wheelchair driving it is important that your students or patients have an appropriate input device through which to drive in virtual space. Commonly, this will be a joystick. Joysticks are perhaps the most ideal method for learning to drive because most powered wheelchairs make use of a joystick of some fashion for driving operation, and numerous PC joysticks, gleaned from the computer gaming market, are available and very reasonably priced.

The Wheelchair Net software has been engineered to accept as many input configurations as possible. "Sip and Puff" and various head switches, for example, may be used as an input controller for the software if appropriately interfaced to the computer. Custom software drivers are currently being developed that will allow more versatility in input device control, to accommodate virtually anyone's physical limitations.