It was almost a year ago that Erik Ohlson and Christian Bremer, two Industrial Design students from Chalmers, brought home the first prize for their specially designed wheelchair in the international competition RESNA (Student Design Competition) in Seattle, Washington. And now they've done it again. Erik and Christian's wheelchair have been rewarded with three new design awards. The first one in the international competition Core 77 Design Awards for the category “Social Impact”, and the second one at the EHSS (Ergonomics & Human Factors Society Sweden) Student Price for 2014. The third prize, the NES (The Nordic Ergonomics and Human Factors Society) student price was given at this years annual conference in Denmark.
For Erik and Christian, this could mean that the problems with development of assistive devices for developing countries can be recognized.
– We live in a part of the world where there is a tremendous development of assistive related products, but one of the prerequisites for development is the ability to make money. This is very limited in developing countries and is one of the main reasons that the developments are much slower in these areas. In addition to the lack of assistive products, many disabled people in underdeveloped contexts are fighting to become independent, accepted and to be offered the possibility to be integrated in the social structure. Because of these kinds of problems it makes it especially fun that our project are being recognized, and maybe we can be a part of creating a debate about the need for more involvement and acceptance in underdeveloped societies.
They also hope that these awards can involve a continued development of Walter and to get the opportunity to try the concept for a longer period.
– It is very flattering that we get these awads for our degree project and I think I speak for both me and Christian when I say that we are very proud of our project. It would require some more resources in terms of time and money but I dont see it as an impossibility that we can continue to work with Walter, Erik Ohlson says.
About the wheelchair Walter
Walter is designed to meet the needs of users in developing countries. One of the wheelchair's major advantages is its movable seat. By moving the center of gravity forward, the users can get up steep slopes more easily, with reduced risk of tipping backwards. The benefits of Walter may also contribute to increased independence of the users and thereby also contribute to increased social integration for wheelchair users in developing countries.
More information about the Core 77 Design Awards and results here
Previous articles: Wheelchair for developing countries designed by students at Chalmers
Text: Jenny Netzler
Image: Erik Ohlson and Christian Bremer
Movie: Walter - Wheelchair Design Project av Erik Ohlson och Christian Bremer