When DRM Comes For Your Wheelchair

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Cory Doctorow

“Almost everything breaks eventually, and good product design isn’t merely a matter of making gadgets that don’t need frequent service — it’s also a matter of making gadgets easy to fix then when they do break down. … Medicare reimburses wheelchair vendors for parts and labor — but not for their technicians’ travel to examine, pick up, and return a wheelchair. For wheelchair users with private insurance, repairs are delayed while they wait for their insurers to approve their repairs. All that means that repair is a money-losing proposition for large firms, so they underinvest in staff, training and facilities. But, as Stranded makes clear, manufacturers of Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) — the formal classification for powered wheelchairs — have adopted repair-hostile tactics that make all of this much, much worse for wheelchair users.” (06/07/22)