Eureka Solutions puts people back in the driver’s seat

Eureka Solutions puts people back in the driver’s seat
One of the many adaptations that Eureka Solutions can install is an automated crane that can pick up and load a motorized wheelchair into the back of a suitably sized vehicle. (Photo : Gordon Lambie)

By Gordon Lambie

It is easy to imagine that becoming partly or almost entirely paralyzed would mark the end of a person’s time behind the wheel of a car, but Serge Lavallée says he wishes more people knew that doesn’t have to be the case.
Lavallée co-founded Sherbrooke-based Eureka Solutions in June of 2000 along with Nathalie Plouffe, and has been working since that time to help people who have gone through strokes, car or work accidents, degenerative diseases, or other conditions impacting their motor skills to hold onto their independence by adapting a growing range of vehicles to their new situations.
A former volunteer firefighter, the co-founder of the company said that part of the motivation for creating Eureka Solutions was his experience working for a company that did similar accessibility modifications on vehicles, but didn’t put much focus on the people involved.
“I decided to start my own company because I have always wanted to help people. It’s almost in my DNA,” he said with a laugh.
Eureka Solutions operates at the crossroads of occupational therapy and vehicle mechanics. Lavallée and Plouffe interact directly with people who have mobility limitations of various kinds and their occupational therapists to find the adaptations that work best for each individual situation, and then the rest of the Eureka team works to make that solution a reality.
“It’s unbelievable what we can do now compared to 20 years ago,” Lavallée said. “We can almost say the impossible is possible now.”
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