This post is following on from an earlier post on Alternative ways to control a power wheelchair.
Standard wheelchair joysticks are controlled by moving or deflecting the joystick in the direction that you wish to travel.
The force required to deflect a joystick is either provided by the manufacturer in either Newtons or in grams. You can think of 1 newton as being about 100g. A standard wheelchair joystick will typically have an operation force of about 200 to 250 grams. This may be irrelevant to most but some individuals the force required to deflect the joystick may be the difference between being able to use the joystick or not.
Unfortunately the HMC mini joystick has gone off the market but luckily there are a few good alternative options of joysticks that require quite a low force to operate.
Relatively new onto the market is a company called Mo-Vis. They manufacture two low force joysticks. One is the Micro Joystick. The Micro Joystick is a small proportional joystick, especially designed for people with poor or weak muscular power and/or restricted movement. This joystick can be controlled by finger, lip, tongue. Dimensions (h 50 mm/1.97 in – Ø 29 mm/1.41 in). It can be controlled with a minimal force of (+- 10 grams) which is very similar to the HMC mini joystick.
Another joystick from Mo-Vis is the Multi Joystick. It is a larger joystick and the force required for activation is 50 grams, but still quite a good bit less that the standard joystick. It provides two useful jack inputs for switches to control on/off or as a mode switch.
Adaptive Switch Laboratories
Adaptive Switch Laboratories produce another nice option. The ASL 130 Micro Extremity Control (MEC) only requires 18 grams of force to deflect the joystick. It has a unique feature of having a built in mode change function. Pushing directly down from neutral position will reset the chair to the next mode that is turned on. This will benefit anyone that does not have another switch site available or has difficulty taking their hand on and off the joystick.
Finally a company called Switch-It produce two light touch joysticks. The MICROGUIDE takes about 40 grams of force for activation. Approximate Joystick Dimensions: Diameter: 5/8” x Height without knob: 2.8”.
They have also a joystick called the MICROPILOT . The MicroPilot is a light touch proportional miniature joystick that required no deflection (throw). Activating force is 10 grams.