Bolt Burdon Kemp has relaunched its competition to find a new generation of product designers with aim to “transform the lives of those living with disability.”
The specialist law firm, in partnership with Cerebra (a charity helping children with brain conditions), says it is seeking to highlight a disappointing disparity between the needs of those with spinal injuries and the products currently available for them.
Raquel Siganporia, partner and head of the spinal injury team at Bolton Burdon Kemp thinks the designers have a vital job to do in helping improve quality of life.
She commented: “Designers who have wheelchair users in mind have the power to make an unprecedented difference to the lives of all who use them.”
The competition opened for entries on 7 October and continues until April 30 2020.
Open to undergraduate and postgraduate students, the competition asks design students to reimagine everyday products to better cater for people with spinal injuries.
Students are asked to think innovatively to come up with a new product idea, a new approach to an everyday product or task, or a reimagining of an existing product.
Participants will be judged on the originality and commercial viability of their idea as well as how well they consider the specific and unique needs of people with a spinal injury.
Siganporia added: “I strongly feel that the only way to make the world a more accessible place for those in wheelchairs is to highlight the difficulties faced by those who are reliant on them. Designers who have wheelchair users in mind have the power to make an unprecedented difference to the lives of all who use them.”
Last year’s winner, Kristen Tapping, created an innovative wheelchair design she called the ‘Moveo’.
In her research phase, she identified a bulky frame, the proximity of the wheel to the manoeuvring rail, and lack of breathable, lightweight and affordable materials as the problems in current wheelchairs.
As well as being an impressive addition to her portfolio, the idea saw her win £3000 in prize money – including £2000 for her university, the London South Bank University – as well as a week’s internship at the research centre of neurological injury charity Cerebra.