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Paralyzed driver Sam Schmidt completes qualifying lap with car using head movements

Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE

There was an amazing moment at Indianapolis today, as quadriplegic driver Sam Schmidt drove a specially outfitted car nearly 100 miles around the Indy 500 racetrack.

Sam Schmidt was an up-and-coming star in IndyCar in the late 90's before a crash that rendered him a quadriplegic, but he's never lost touch with the sport: he's now a team owner, as well as the founder of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation.

Sunday, he debuted a major technological advancement: Schmidt can't move his feet or arms, but he's had a car fitted with a system that allows him to drive using head movements. He took it for a ceremonial qualifying lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday:

Not only did he take her for a lap, he hauled, too:

The car is called the SAM Project -- in honor of Schmidt, obviously, but also it stands for "semi-autonomous motorcar" -- and the hope is that similar technology can help improve the quality of life for those living with paralysis like Schmidt. You can read about the technology -- and Schmidt's story -- in this Indianapolis Star piece.

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