UW CREATe Concept Wheelchair
The Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW-CREATe) sought the assistance of Design Concepts to envision dramatically new design directions of a seating sub-system for a concept wheelchair powered by a single cylinder, 4-stroke engine. Human factors and user experience designers developed concept artwork for a motorized wheelchair that would provide unprecedented range and speed, increase measures of safety, improve access for caregiver assistance and better accommodate different postures not currently provided through existing designs.
The design team explored a wide range of solutions to address user-defined needs identified through research conducted by UW-CREATe students. Sketch renderings of six blue sky concepts were developed to suggest improved safety, support and caregiver access in a variety of occupant positions. The backrest, seat pan, armrest and legrest designs are intended to address various postures including prone to standing, and from traditional seating to a reclined, stable position for moving at high speeds. The sketches were created to inspire and guide the teams of students who will develop, prototype and evaluate the possible features.
UW-CREATe’s efforts are aimed at drawing attention to needs that are not adequately addressed in existing powered wheelchairs. Their work is designed to challenge manufacturers to step outside of common practices and consider drastically different alternatives. While they do not currently plan to produce a commercial product, UW-CREATe hopes some of the features explored in the concepts will encourage manufacturers to pursue similar improvements.