Hacking into success


Posted Fri, Dec 2, 2016

Stephen Chavez, a recent participant in Metro’s Travel Program,

Stephen Chavez, is a recent participant in Metro’s Travel Program. [Photo: Courtesy GeekPwn.]

DENVER, Auraria Campus — Stephen Chavez, a recent participant in Metro’s Travel Program, has been handed numerous success and opportunities on the platter of his hard work.

Chavez, a Computer Science major with a math minor, was recently invited to attend and present at the DEFCON conference in Las Vegas. He was approached by Nathan Hauk, from Independent Security, to come speak at this conference about his research into hacking his wheelchair.

At the conference, Chavez presented his research on power wheelchair hacking. He said the reason he was interested in hacking his wheelchair was so “I can control my chair from any device.” He uses his laptop, which is placed on a small “desk” that goes across his lap to not only communicate with people via typing, but also for moving his wheelchair around. He can only do one at a time, though, due to the fact that one of his hands is paralyzed. If he wants to talk to someone, he must stop the wheelchair, type out his message, and then proceed on with moving the chair.

“I did this [hacking the chair so it can be controlled by a device] because I wanted my chair to follow along people while I talk,” he said.

At the conference, Chavez presented his research on power wheelchair hacking.

At the conference, Steven Chavez presented his research on power wheelchair hacking. [Photo: Courtesy GeekPwn.]

Recently, Chavez was able to attend and present at another conference. This time, though, he had to travel all the way to China! He thoroughly enjoyed the experience and said, “Oh it was great, I had a full house, 600 people came for my talk alone.”

It was a six-day trip, with two travel days, one day at the conference, and the rest for preparation and free time. His best friend, Lani, and a nurse accompanied him on his trip and helped him present at the conference. They help him present the things that he cannot express with words.

Chavez hopes to present at many other conferences, the next one being Kaspersky SAS, which is in April. He also hopes to run a business of his own. A business which is already in the works and even registered.

“I’m doing it with Lani,” he said. The two have a lot to do before the business is up and running, though. They handed out business cards while at the conference in China and are working hard to get all the details worked out. The name of their business is Omega Intelligence and Security Solutions.

Chavez, as hard working as he is kind, does not allow obstacles to hinder his pursuits in technology. In fact, he uses them to his advantage, finding solutions to problems in unique ways that work for everyone, even people with handicaps.

About Abby Bowen

Abby Bowen is a Denver-area freelance writer.

View all posts by Abby Bowen

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