NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville-based songwriter Barry Dean is behind LUCI, an accessory for power wheelchair designed to make them safer.
"We had a friend who was injured in their power wheelchair and that led me to try to find a safer wheelchair for Katherine," Barry Dean said.
Katherine is Dean's 19-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy.
According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, in 2003, more than 100,000 wheelchair related injuries in the U.S. were treated in emergency rooms.
Dean never wants that to be the case for Katherine.
"She was born 16 weeks early... She's been in a wheelchair most of her life. Starting around four she got her first power chair. When we started looking at [it] we were like we have it within power to change this. Let us try to do that," Dean said.
With his brother and a team of engineers, Dean created LUCI. The device mounts onto power wheelchairs, adding eyes and ears in the form of sensors and radars to prevent the operator from running into objects or driving off curbs, for example.
"For me and Katherine's mom, this lets us know she can drive around the yard, she can have her space, be herself. Katherine is like any teenage girl and she wants to be able to drive around and do what she wants," he said.
The songwriter has devoted the first half of this year to marketing LUCI and introducing it to prospective users.
"This has been almost 80-percent of my focus," he said.
Dean's song "Sunday Drive" is the title track of Brett Elredge's album which dropped last week.
"I'm really a songwriter... which means you have to collaborate and self-start and do those things and that's what we've had to do in the wheelchair world," Dean said.
LUCI is available for purchase for $8,445. Find out more here.