Frazer-Nash Consultancy is working with UK charity Whizz-Kidz to help deliver its ‘Wheels of Change’ initiative – developing cutting-edge mobility to improve the lives of young disabled people.
The project, which will use advanced technologies to develop a prototype for an innovative powered wheelchair for disabled children and young people, is being run in collaboration with Duchenne UK and The University of Edinburgh. The project has been made possible thanks to the players of the UK's People’s Postcode Lottery, who provided a £1 million grant through their Dream Fund initiative. Software company Somo Global is also supporting the project.
Frazer-Nash’s Jon Sowman, who is working on the Wheels of Change project, said:
“Wheels of Change is planning to shake up the wheelchair market, by pushing the boundaries of functionality to develop a concept demonstrator which is affordable, modular and cool. It aims to break down the barriers and stigmas of being in a wheelchair, improving the confidence and independence of individual wheelchair users, and enabling more opportunities for disabled children and young people.
“The needs of young users of powered wheelchairs change more rapidly than those of adult users. Children grow physically more quickly – they change school years; they change routine – and the requirements placed on their mobility equipment change at the same pace. Any lag in the provision of an appropriate chair has a huge knock-on effect on their lives, so a modular adaptable chair which can fit their individual needs is crucial for children and young adults.
“As engineering partner for the Wheels of Change project, we want to support and help enable Whizz-Kidz’s vision to transform the lives of disabled children and young people across the UK. We will be responsible for overall construction of the prototype, and for the integration of new and innovative technology from the other project partners. By transferring knowledge and technology from other sectors, we hope to make a powered wheelchair that is fit for the 21st Century.”
The Wheels of Change project runs until the end of 2020, at which point it is planned to demonstrate a completed prototype.