IWA is a temporary power assist device for all manual wheelchair users in developed countries.
The product allows the user to safely and independently access their local community via the users normal manual wheelchair, eliminating the need to transfer to another device.
The user attaches to the device from the rear via a small bracket attached to the wheelchair
The bracket slides into the mechanism located at the back of the device. As the user rolls forward, the mechanism lifts the two front castor wheels of the wheelchair above the ground.
The bracket then locks, securing the chair and transferring the weight evenly across the four large wheels of both IWA and the users’ wheelchair.
The user is then free to travel to a destination outside of the home.
Once the destination is reached, the user can then disconnect if they so choose, lock the device and access the destination in their wheelchair.
A Project for Grandad
My Grandfather has been in a wheelchair for 62 years, suffering an accident at the age of 20.
In his older age, Grandad lost his ability to transfer from his wheelchair into his mobility scooter to access his local community and interact with the rest of society.
It was at this point that I investigated and found that many other wheelchair users suffer from similar issues. There are over 380 million wheelchair users globally that can afford 3-4,000 USD for powered mobility, so I decided to make use of this statistic.
With the loss of ability, comes a loss of independence, but the market supplies only products to transfer the whole body into another device from the wheelchair.
I was inspired by the solutions that I saw, but they needed to be applied in a much more accessible and creative way. The cost was too high for a middle to low income bracket (6,000 USD and above).
I began with an in-depth research phase spanning 4 months, an entire first semester of our final year of Industrial Design. In this time I did expansive market research, interviews and spent a week restricted to a wheelchair to understand the psychological strains.
In the second semester I chose one of three concepts created in the first semester and verified my design intention with a working prototype, further form and mechanical development and finally a hand-built final model showing the concept in full-scale (Visuals are included)