Walking-impaired and people with physical disabilities often have to depend on the active support of others. While wheelchairs increase mobility and independence for people with disabilities, they are often difficult to manoeuvre. Whether mechanical or electrical, the wheelchair is one field that has been sorely neglected and cries out for innovation.
Jordan Lake, a University of Washington graduate, designed a product for his final project on his undergraduate degree that alleviates everyday life for physically handicapped people. The industrial designer developed the project in co-operation with a design competition sponsored by Metropolis Mag. His design work is based on the idea of helping people unable to walk or those who have difficulty in walking to live a more independent life. The design for Pushstart evolved from his observation that wheelchairs are too cumbersome and can only be maneuvered with difficulty. This is a wheelchair with reduced width as the wheels are underneath the seat. A hand-operated control located between the user’s legs protects the user’s elbows from doors that are too narrow and provides him or her with greater strength and support as the position of the body means that both hands are in the centre.
The wheelchair’s seat consists of two halves which can be pushed aside independently of one another making Pushstart suitable for standard toilet seats. A principle that is useful both before and after using the lavatory. To facilitate simple transport on journeys, the wheelchair can also be folded and has a carry handle.
At the moment, in his newly founded design company JL Design, Lake is involved in producing high-end music accessories, the idea for which was also developed during his student days. Further products will follow once these initial items have been launched.