Design journey of an affordable manual standing wheelchair
Purpose: Only 1 in 10 people with disabilities can access assistive devices, underlining the critical need for low-cost assistive products. This paper describes the design evolution of a manual user-operated standing wheelchair (SWC), translating from prototype to product.
Methods: The SWC design has been refined over 5 years through multiple iterations based on comments from user trials. The SWC product, Arise, provides standing functionality, facile outdoor mobility, afford- ability, customisability, and is aesthetically pleasing. A one-time fitting and training ensure optimal effort for operation, correct posture, and comfortable user experience. The SWC accommodates users of differ- ent sizes and body weights (up to 110kg) and minimises user effort with the use of a gas spring. Incorporating discrete adjustments enables customisation while retaining the advantages of mass manu- facturing, which is necessary for ensuring affordability.
Results: The SWC has been field-tested and well received by over 100 wheelchair users, and Arise was launched recently by the industry partner.
Conclusions: It should be noted that RESNA cautions on the use of any standing device without medical consultation. Nevertheless, with appropriate dissemination and awareness, it is anticipated that the afford- able SWC product, Arise, will immensely benefit the eligible users and make a difference in their quality of life.