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Motorised ‘smart wheel’ designer reveals technical thinking behind mobility innovation

Thomas Salkeld smart wheel

The designer of a motorised ‘Smart Wheel’ to improve wheelchair comfort on uneven ground and long journeys has detailed the technical thinking behind his creation.

Thomas Salkeld, a third year Product Design BSc student from Cardiff Metropolitan University, won a national ‘Design the Change’ competition to show how innovative designs can help make a real difference for people living with spinal cord injuries.

Mr Salkeld’s entry is a motorised wheel which can be added to most wheelchairs and offers assistance on bumpy terrain and elevation or when out for extended periods of time.

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It can even be controlled from the user’s phone.

He explains the design process in the video below.

Judges were particularly impressed with how Mr Salkeld had spent time speaking to several people who had sustained a spinal cord injury and took into account the challenges they face.

Also highly commended was Anna Lis, a third year product design student at the University for the Creative Arts.

She designed an ankle foot orthosis that provides support for people with drop foot – a common side effect of a spinal cord injury. 

Judges were particularly impressed that Ms Lis’ shoe celebrates the support it offers, rather than disguising its specialist features.

Tags : Designsmart wheelWheelchairs
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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