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Air Chair

The air-chair enables the air traveler to use a single wheelchair for the entire journey.

What it does

The Air-Chair provides ease of access and mobility to disabled air travelers. It enables them to use a single wheelchair for the entire journey from the airport to the aircraft. It integrates into the aircraft seat and enables all the inflight features.


Your inspiration

The current plight of wheelchair air travelers is extremely deplorable. The present solutions are exceedingly restricting and humiliating. They only provide limited mobility and accessibility. Thus to tackle such a problem that is hidden in plain sight, we came up with the concept of the Air Chair.


How it works

The Air chair is designed such that it fits the narrow aisle and seat dimensions (16.5”) It is also designed to complement the existing aircraft seat and its features. It acts in a symbiotic relationship with the existing seat, it uses the aircraft seatbelt, accommodates space for the accessibility of the life vest, and it also provides accessibility to the inflight entertainment. In the airport the air chair can be used like any ordinary wheelchair, which is either driven through an electric motor or physically. It is also designed to be foldable, reducing its height by 64%, In the cabin the Airchair fits the existing seat like a glove, it’s able to slide into the seat using the ‘spherical wheels’ and its ‘C’ shaped design. The locking mechanism and the seatbelt restrict movements and provide stability during the flight. The locks attach to the metal bar underneath the chair. This solution doesn’t require the traveler to abandon the chair and shift seats.


Design process

The Air chair was designed with a dimensional constraint of 16.5” to fit narrow spaces. The design was adapted and changed several times to exactly fit for operation in an Boeing 777-300 plane. The initial design included a convertible seat that would accommodate the wheelchair itself, but this solution required the modification of existing airplane seat thus making the solution implausible. Therefore upon conducting research we came up with a rough design on how we could stack one chair upon the other by horizontally sliding it. Out of this was born the first prototype of the air-chair, the initial design was a C shaped lower half of the chair, which enabled the horizontal fitting on the aircraft seat. But there came further challenges that required a locking mechanism, seat belt and life vest incorporation and many more. The design was further modified to accommodate all these features, which included a lower center of gravity and a hollow v shaped front. Later the design was tested through FEA for a weight of 100kgs and it held up well with only a deflection of 5mm vertically. This design was further refined to make the wheelchair foldable and electric. Thus providing the final model.


How it is different

The Air-Chair is drastically different from the current wheel chairs because, the current wheel chair system for the air passenger requires them to use the wheel chair in the airport and only up to the flight cabin, where the passenger is shifted to the airplane seat and the wheelchair is taken and stored. Whereas the air-chair, not only enables the usage of the chair in the airport but also in the cabin because of its ability to integrate into the cabin chair itself. This will enable the airtraveller to use the wheel chair for the entire journey, from home to the final destination, without the need of external help or aid. Thus increasing their freedom, mobility, comfort and security.


Future plans

The next step for the project is to design a working model. Once this part is successful, the air-chair will be ready to test as a prototype in commercial flights and therefore can be pitched to the customers and airline industry.


Awards


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