Wheelchair cushion designer gets nod of approval from Nicola Sturgeon

Founder of Staels Design, Corien Staels (far left) and Nicola Sturgeon alongside other winners. Image: Converge Challenge

Staels Design, the company behind a new wheelchair cooling system which has attracted much attention from the mobility industry this year, has been congratulated for its exploits by Scotland’s First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon presented founder Corien Staels with the Design and Creativity Award last week as part of the Converge Challenge, a competition that brings together the most ambitious and creative thinkers from Scottish business, research and academia.  

The award celebrates ideas in digital media, textiles, architecture and design and is valued at £31,500 including £15,000 in cash and £16,500 in business support.

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The awards were presented at the Glasgow Science Centre where speakers included Nicola Sturgeon MSP; Bob Keiller CBE; Professor Sally Mapstone; and David Sibbald OBE.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “Well done to all of the winners and finalists of this year’s Converge Challenge. Awards like Converge are a fantastic way of developing the talents of Scotland’s many young entrepreneurs and innovators.

“But they’re also an opportunity to showcase one of Scotland’s great traditional strengths – generating new ideas, products and technologies, supported by our world-class educational institutions. I want to see a ‘can do’ culture define us as a country on every level, and the talent and determination of these finalists shows that we are well on the way to fulfilling that vision.”

The WheelAir was formally conceived just over a year ago by Corien Staels, a recent MSc graduate at the University of Glasgow

Staels’ solution, the WheelAir, is a battery powered, ergonomically designed cushion that cools the back of the user by gently blowing air onto their backs.

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