ETH Zurich postgraduate scholar Reto Togni has developed a prototype wheelchair proven at Dutch Design Week, which is steered by leaning backward and forward.
The Reagiro wheelchair is designed to offer customers larger management whereas permitting them to vary route with out breaking or slowing down – one thing that Togni says is just not doable with conventional wheelchairs.
“The Reagiro introduces steering within the design of guide wheelchairs or, extra particularly, steering by leaning,” Togni instructed Dezeen.
“This unlocks a pure and dynamic method of shifting, facilitates simple one-handed propulsion and stimulates trunk exercise whereas relieving the fingers and shoulders.”
A big bearing in the back of the chair permits the backrest to maneuver from left to proper, whereas versatile Bowden cables – additionally used to kind the brake and equipment cables on bikes – join the backrest to the entrance wheels.
To alter route with out slowing down, customers solely have to lean backward and forward on the backrest. This motion triggers the bearing and is handed down the cables to the entrance wheels, which rotate left or proper.
The prototype wheelchair, which is at present in an early design-for-manufacture stage and being examined by wheelchair customers, is the result of Togni’s doctoral research on movement management in guide wheelchairs.
His purpose was to unravel a standard drawback related to typical wheelchairs, the place adjustments in route are managed by one-sided breaking and inevitably disrupt their ahead motion.
The sort of manoeuvre is helpful when delivering tight areas, in line with Togni, however is much less useful for these wishing to maneuver shortly or for these affected by arm fatigue or harm.
“[It] renders wheelchair propulsion massively inefficient as each change or adjustment to route concurrently slows down the motion,” he defined.
Critics of The Reagiro have argued that many wheelchair customers have restricted management over their higher physique, typically making sideways motion tough and even unimaginable, which is why conventional wheelchairs are usually designed to assist and stabilise the higher physique.
In response, Togni carried out a research to find out how The Reagiro might be customised to go well with the wants of individuals with tetraplegia, who’re unable to voluntarily transfer the higher and decrease elements of their physique.
“Guide wheelchair customers throughout a broad spectrum of bodily talents have proven that just a few customisation steps are wanted to satisfy the wants of a a lot bigger group of individuals than initially anticipated,” he defined.
Togni says his analysis additionally confirmed that guide wheelchairs with “easy mechanisms” are most popular over hi-tech choices by most wheelchair customers.
“Conversations with customers of assistive gadgets confirmed that many choose easy mechanical methods over hi-tech options and search for gadgets constructed for motion and exercise in line with particular person talents,” he mentioned.
One other wheelchair meant to make life simpler for customers is Wheeliy 2.0, a foldable mannequin by Japanese startup studio Quantum, which is lighter than most conventional wheelchairs and simpler to fold.
Different designs on present at Dutch Design Week included a pavilion created from vibrant photo voltaic panels by structure studio V8 Architects and a rug that visualises the results of local weather change-induced drought.
The picture and video are courtesy of Reto Togni.
The Reagiro was on present from 21 to 30 October as a part of Dutch Design Week 2022. See Dezeen Occasions Information for an up-to-date record of structure and design occasions going down world wide.