A race car engineered for drivers with quadriplegia, a concept conceived by Scott Falci, MD, Craig Hospital chief of neurosurgery, is slated to be showcased at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 Pole Day competition May 18.

A news release issued by Craig Hospital, Englewood, Colo, states that Falci, inspired by a former patient who was also a race car driver, created the nonprofit Falci Adaptive Motorsports. Falci and his patient worked together and conceived the idea to modify a race car that would allow drivers with disabilities to return to the racetrack.

The release notes that Falci then facilitated the gathering of Arrow Electronics, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp, and Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports with an emphasis on modifying a race car for individuals living with quadriplegia.

Falci states in the release that, “All of the right minds collaborated on this project. It has momentum to not only revolutionize the adaptive sports and racing industries, but hopefully inspire the next wave of adaptive technology.”

The release reports that former IndyCar driver Sam Schmidt, paralyzed in 2000, will return to the track on Pole Day to drive four consecutive demonstration laps at 9:45 am, prior to the Pole Day qualifying competition for the Indy 500.

A 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray has been modified with integrated advanced electronics and a human-to-machine interface. The project, the release adds, is a collaborative effort between Arrow Electronics, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp, Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports, and Falci Adaptive Motorsports.

The SAM Project’s objective reportedly centers on not transferring control of a vehicle to technology, but rather enabling disabled drivers to enjoy the driving experience by leveraging the power of technology.

According to the release, Arrow is leading the development of the SAM car and the systems integration, as well as the engineering of specific systems of the car. Ball is leading the modification of the human-to-machine interface and driver-guidance system. The Air Force Research Laboratory is also monitoring the driver’s biometrics during laps and collecting data about how the driver interacts with the guidance systems. Falci is serving as the project’s medical director.

The release also states that final preparations are underway for the car’s debut during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 festivities.

[Source: Craig Hospital]