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Can alternative switches be used with the Vigo?

Yes! Some individuals may have greater ease of access with a more traditional style switch for powering on/off, as well as another for controlling modes. Any external switch that can be plugged into a 3.5mm jack is compatible with the system, such as the Switch-It® button options.

How do you move the wheelchair using the Vigo?

The wheelchair moves in response to head movements, read by gyroscope and communicated via Bluetooth. Intuitive forward or rearward tilt (flexion and extension) movement moves the wheelchair forward and backward. Lateral movement of the head - moving the ear toward the shoulder - will steer the wheelchair left or right. Head rotation does not activate the wheelchair movement, allowing the driver to look left and right safely.

Buddy button switch, mounted on armrest using Link-It hardware

The sensors note how the head is tilted. Turning the system on calibrates it to the current head position. The bigger the movement, the faster the wheelchair will drive. Tapping the switch in the headrest or placed elsewhere will stop the wheelchair. The chair will stop with sudden movements.

Can the System be programmed for unique rider needs?

Yes, system parameters can be programmed for optimal wheelchair control, such as speed, acceleration, torque and deceleration using standard R-Net programming options. Additionally, the Vigo has an application to customize head movement range to tailor to the driver’s comfortable range of movements via downloadable Vigo software and the system’s USB dongle.

Programming also allows for setting a deadzone, which works much like a deadzone on a standard joystick controller. The deadzone is the range within which the system will ignore head movements. This allows small head movements to be ignored for smooth driving when travelling over rougher terrain like pavements, carpets or thresholds.

What are the safety parameters of the Vigo Head controller?

There is an emergency brake which can be programmed for sensitivity. The chair will automatically stop when the backward tilt happens too fast. The sensor picks up on the lack of control and stops the chair. A separate stop switch or button can also be attached through the Cubo receiver. The Vigo programming enables setting of maximum head tilting rearward, forward, and laterally. If a driver goes beyond this, the system stops, such as when the head drops forward when nodding off.

How is my phone or computer attached to the Vigo head controller?

The Vigo Headset pairs with a smart phone, computer, or other device through Bluetooth pairing and the R-NET control system. This works in a similar way to controlling a Bluetooth device with the Omni 2 on R-NET with other special input devices.

USB OTG type adaptor

The key difference with Vigo is that it can also control a computer or smartphone directly using a USB dongle plugged directly into the computer, or into the smartphone via a USB adaptor. Control via a dongle does not require any additional direct programming through the powerchair’s control system. 

How is the Vigo Charged?

The Vigo is charged through a standard mini USB charging. The battery life depends on the use of the system. It has a battery life of about 14 hours when used for driving and mouse control only. As it has a second chip that allows it to function just like any Bluetooth headset, using this chip as well will reduce battery life. For example, it is possible to drive a powered wheelchair with the Vigo whilst listening through the headset to music. This causes a greater drain on the device’s battery. If both chips are in constant use, the battery life would be halved, to around 7 hours.

Example of magnetic mini-USB cable

Switch-It® recommend charging via a magnetic end charger. This allows the mini-USB plug to remain in the Vigo, with the rest of the charging cable attaching magnetically. This protects the charge port from accidental damage from inserting charger too hard, or being pulled whilst charging.

When there are approximately 10 minutes left of charge, the Vigo will announce ‘battery low’. Even though most people will have plenty of battery life for all day use, it is recommended to bring along a power bank when going outdoors away from a power source.

Additional Considerations

A head support is recommended that allows regular resting to prevent fatigue. Consider a style that has lateral cervical pads (such as the Whitmyer S.O.F.T. series) for comfort, even when using for long durations.

The Vigo represents an option for drivers who need a head control that does not obstruct vision, adapts to shifting posture over the day, or just looks very low profile. Find out more about the right kind of individual for this head control so you and your client can make the best choice in our article all about clinical application and get out there.

The Vigo and Cubo contain components and radios that emit electromagnetic radiation. While it is rare, electromagnetic waves may interfere with pacemakers, defibrillators, or other medical devices. If you have any concerns, consulting with your physician about use of a Vigo is highly recommended.