The design of the Skycare chair has been inspired by the idea of providing greater independence and mobility in flight for those that need the assistance of a wheelchair. Skycare Chair is a mobility device for use inside the airplane cabin. The narrow and sleek Skycare chair will prove a boon for people with disabilities by granting them easy maneuverability and accessibility within the flight. The chair can be driven easily using the lever handle and thus, the user could easily wend his/her way to the lavatory without assistance or support from any attendants. All one needs is some limb power to move the chair. A sense of independence, convenience and ease of use make this product very useful and necessary.
By providing an easy and elegant means of transport in-flight, the product caters to three classes of people. Firstly, people suffering from physical disabilities would be greatly benefited. Secondly, it would definitely help those who are old and unable to walk. Thirdly, this Skycare chair looks forward to help sick and weak people who need assistance while walking.
The need for a product like the Skycare chair is twofold. On one hand, there are about 180 million disabled people in the world of which about 50 million are in the United States itself. Since air-travel is a major means of travel in the US, about 43 million of these disabled need to make use of it. A product like this chair will benefit such large numbers. The second reason is the fact that though there are motorized wheelchairs, they are usually made large and wide for comfort. Thus, they do not fit in the narrow aisles of the aircraft. Making use of the available mechanical aisle chairs which are handled by the attendant destroys the idea of freedom and independence. A need, therefore, exists for wheelchairs customized for the aisles.
The wheelchair has been perfectly customized for the disabled passenger to use. It takes for granted that the passenger would be seated in the aisle seat. The handle of the lever does not hang and is confined within the area of the frame. This ensures that the user could easily transfer between the airplane seat and the wheelchair. Once on the wheelchair, the lever handle helps in movement. Muscle power propels the chair. The lever drives two racks. One rack controls the forward motion of the wheelchair while the second rack works to control the backward motion. The ability to move in both forward and reverse directions makes it very easy to maneuver and control the wheelchair in the narrow aisles. When the final design is created, it could be made expandable so that it can turn with the twist of the lever too.
Brian Lang has arrived with this concept and design to fit a motorized wheelchair in the narrow aisle of the flight. The problem with the standard motorized wheelchairs is that they have the controls located on one side. This adds to the width of the chair. By placing the controls in the front, the chair has been given a narrow design. The expandable handle and turning function provides an easy shift from the flight seat to the wheelchair.
Though the Skycare chair is a novel idea, it is not entirely new in the sense that there have been several designs of wheelchairs already being commissioned. Let us have a look at some of the wheelchairs that have arrived for greater convenience and independence of those with disabilities.
1. Two Way Wheelchair:
Wheelchairs provide the mobility for the disabled people to move around. However, there is one great problem that every wheelchair faces i.e. getting on and off the chair. The patients often get frustrated for they are not able to become completely independent especially when it comes to something as private as going to the toilet. Solving that problem with an elegant design, winners of the Red Dot award for design, Lee Kyoungmin and Han Jaeseok have arrived with the two-way wheelchair. The chair consists of a seat frame installed on a body frame with a seat and wheels. The seat moves up and down as and when needed which makes it easy for the user to get on or off. Add to this the fact that the seat is made from eco friendly vegetable leather and you are looking at a wheelchair that is also space-friendly and most importantly, user-friendly.
Every wheelchair user knows that traversing different surfaces present different challenges. The Free4 recognizes the need for modifications in the wheelchair to move on different terrains. Thus, it can be converted into two variants. The Everyday variant distributes weight equally over the two big wheels and the two small wheels making it perfect and stable for short downtown strolls. The front wheels can also be raised easily to overcome some obstructions. When one faces gravel, grass or any other unsteady paths, one has to shift to the leisure mode where the two small wheels come together to form a stable double wheel. The seat also lowers to ensure greater balance and traction. A pivot point near the axle allows for the user to either lower or tip up the wheel chair for increased safety.
The disabled are able to drive cars and also remain independent by moving around on the wheelchairs. The problem comes at the transition from the wheelchair to the car. Loading the wheelchair into the car can become quite a hassle but not for the BackSaver that won the Naidex New Product of the Year Award for 2010. The whole process is as easy as attaching an end rod to the boot space and rolling out the BackSaver. Parking the wheelchair as close as possible to the car, one has to just move towards the car grabbing the handles of the BackSaver. The wheelchair automatically gets loaded into the car boot.