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Ian Rice

Ian Rice gets NIDILRR funding for Power of Play project

Ian Rice, a KCH teaching associate professor, received a grant of approximately $4.5 million from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research for his called “Power of Play."

Rice is the principal investigator and project director for Power of Play, which serves to expand access to and promote use of regular, consistent physical activity, sports participation and active recreation for persons with disabilities through research and development of novel technologies, advanced training and educational techniques, and dissemination strategies.

The mechanism is a  Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) Program, Rice said. The long-term strategy of this project is to remove barriers to participation in recreational, exercise, and adaptive sports often encountered by persons with disabilities, with particular emphasis on equity of access among underserved communities.

Objectives target the domains of community living and participation and health and function of persons with disabilities through research and development of novel recreational technologies, health related products and equipment, and advanced training and educational techniques.

According to Rice, Power of Play will specifically address inclusivity, incorporating proven and emerging technologies and strategies, and making adaptive sports and recreation equipment safe, available, affordable, and reliable to children, adolescents and underserved people.

Rice said the project will involve multidisciplinary collaborations among researchers at University of Pittsburgh and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as well as health system and community partners serving people with disabilities. 

Among the research projects Rice and the group plan to accomplish are examining the impact and usability of an air-powered wheelchair (called PneuChair) capable of navigating outdoor environments previously hazardous and/or inaccessible to power mobility users. They also plan to develop and examine safe limits of use for off-road wheelchairs and hand cycles through using safe clinical limits of use tools (CLOUT) methodology and examine functionality usability and enjoyment of an inclusive, home-based smart connected arm cycle for improved overall function and quality of life in wheelchair users.  

The funding spans five years, Rice said.

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