The first images of Staels Design’s WheelAir cooling wheelchair cushion have been released on the eve of it launching a £30,000 crowdfund to allow it to enter the UK mobility market.
Staels Design’s solution, the WheelAir, is a battery powered, ergonomically designed cushion that cools the back of the user by gently blowing air onto their backs. The cushion currently fits all manual active lightweight wheelchairs and the company has big aspirations to eventually provide cooling solutions for all wheelchairs, both power and manual.
Founder, Corien Staels, first became aware of the cooling problems experienced by wheelchair users whilst writing her undergraduate dissertation. She discovered that many had to cool themselves in dramatic and unforgiving ways – having to strap ice packs to their bodies or spray themselves with water hoses post-exercise.
Staels Design is close to launching the WheelAir but are first looking to gather £30,000 through crowdfunding. The campaign will pay for the tooling required to start manufacture.
The product has recently been tested for the first time by wheelchair users and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, the firm says.
Staels commented: “I am delighted by the positive response to the WheelAir. It brings us one step closer to improving the comfort of wheelchair users. Heating and cooling are real problems, and not just for athletes. I believe that raising awareness of the issue like we do on our blog is only going to increase the much-needed innovation in the industry.”
The company has created a crowdfunding video which will accompany the campaign, due to launch on Kickstarter on the 1st of June. There will also be a launch event for the WheelAir taking place on the 3rd of June. Meanwhile, its new website will be launching today.
Staels Design is currently a finalist in this year’s Scottish Edge, Converge Challenge and Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, all highly acclaimed UK business competitions.