What it does
The seat of the bus has the function to assist the elderly and disabled people to stand up and sit down safely. Moreover, the interior provided high accessibility to the passenger who has personal mobility devices such as a wheelchair and hoverboard.
The thought of the bus redesign started from trying to solve the problem of low accessibility of the double-deck bus. To compare to other huge-scale public transports, the bus just offers a fewer portion of priorities seat and wheelchair area to the people in need. It becomes a problem now and probably getting serious when the aging population is consistently growing in Hong Kong. Therefore, the project aims to improve the user experience on the bus. It is not just designed for aging people but means to design inclusive to everyone.
How it works
In order to afford most of the human weight, the transformable part of the chair applied a hydraulic system to the frame. The hydraulic system is widely applied to the product that relates to weight liftings such as an industrial machine and construction machine. It also easily be found in the office chair. The chair made use of the strength of the hydraulic system. It provides the strength to move straight up and down. The seat is transformed by the combination of the structure. Because of the simplicity of the structure that makes the chair more durable and easy to repair.
I started work on the bus design that can provide more accessibility to the passenger. I set up the situation of include 100+ years old people on the bus will all personal mobility and other users. Proper handrail install and space management would be the foundation of the design. It is hard to manage space and keep the seats in balance. I started with fixed seat rearrangement, then I realize the foldable chair is the proper solution. And make use of all the chairs against the wall and open up space in the middle. Then I work on the chair to make it fit into the setup. Consider the physical condition of the elderly knee. A proper high seat and sitting posture would affect the experience of travel. I came up some the concept of half-sitting but not adding stress to the knee. However, the solution is not complete after a few postures test. Then I work on the posture transition from stand to sit. In the initial stage, I believe that I mechanism could be done with any electric power. I made few prototypes into CAD software and minimize the parts to make it simple and easy to use. After a few simulations, I found that it is hard to make it safe and simple with the mechanic power and support. Therefore, I pick up this solution at the end.
How it is different
First, the seat has a function of lifting up and down a people. Moreover, unlike another lifting chair on the market. It managed to be simple and saving space. The way it lifting is different. It won't be up to standard to a medical device level but it is more like an assist tool like a cane. Moreover, the seat size is smaller than the usual seat, it is shorter and leaving more space to let the leg step more invert to under the chair and helps to stand and sit properly. Moreover, the way to remind people to alight is different. The reminder light would show on the handrail. Also, the place information display installed in the middle of the bus. It is bigger and allows people to see it properly, especially for the elderly. Because the chair is foldable and alines to the wall, it can provide high flexibility to provide more space to allow more wheels chairs or other personal mobility users to onboard at once.
The next step is to improve the design to able land into a real bus. There are so many problems with the design such as the weight and the budget, I hope I can improve the mechanism of the bus chair to achieve no electric and full analog design. Probably, it would become a new public transport design redesigned from inside to outside.