Sunday, 17 November 2013

Alas, a Bureaucrat!

As you well know I am an identical twin, we both have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and drive electric wheelchairs. My brother’s major interest is robotics and a large part of that is the human Interface. Nick wishes to be able to control his computer and other devices from his wheelchair. There is off-the-shelf technology that can easily be fitted to Nick’s current wheelchair - it simply involves an upgrade of his electronics.

The problem is Nick’s wheelchair is too old and the people in charge of funding refused to make the funds available to upgrade his wheelchair. They would rather waste a horrendous amount of money and throw out a perfectly good wheelchair.

Getting a new wheelchair is not like getting a new car. Nick likes his current wheelchair and getting a new one will involve a tiresome exercise of measuring, fitting and customising. It will take weeks or even months to get it right. Then he will have to get used to it which will be another painful, both literally and figuratively, exercise. This would be a colossal waste of time and money. Alternatively dropping in a new set of electronics would take a couple of hours.

This is what happens to a large proportion of our tax money. Bureaucrats love to piss money against the wall. This money gets wasted and they struggle to find the funds for the disability insurance scheme.

Years ago my brother and I ran a website development business. It was common knowledge in the industry that if you are doing a website for a government department (or an organisation directly funded by government) you could get them to tell you the size of their budget. Even if you completed the website way under budget you could you could fatten the invoice to almost exactly match the budget. This is just one industry this sort of thing probably goes on in any organisation that does work for the government.

Having a disability can suck - I don’t like to talk about this aspect of my disease. Nick wishes to be a healthy and productive member of society. He wants to do something with his life. He believes that advanced robotics is a way for disabled people to become fully functional citizens. Bureaucracy should not get in the way of Nick achieving his goals.

We will be using any means necessary to remove this obstacle. To be continued…

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