Innovative cushion gives wheelchair users the chance to cool down
The latest images of the innovative WheelAir have been released following successful user testing. The new cushion aims to tackle an ongoing issue faced by wheelchair users of overheating caused by long durations of sitting.
Described as the ‘Dyson of the mobility industry’, the solution is a battery powered, ergonomically designed backrest cushion that cools wheelchair users by gently blowing air onto their backs. The cushion aims to be stylish & functional and currently fits all manual active lightweight wheelchairs.
The company was founded just over a year ago by Corien Staels who became aware of the cooling problems experienced by wheelchair users whilst writing her undergraduate dissertation. She discovered that many wheelchair users were using dramatic measures to resolve the discomfort caused by overheating, including strapping ice packs to their bodies and even spraying themselves with water hoses post-exercise.
Testing by wheelchair users has recently finished, with the company describing the responses as being overwhelmingly positive. Jay Anderson, a multi-disciplined athlete and wheelchair user, was one of the individuals who tested the new innovation.
Jay said: “This is the first time I’ve been in the park in the sun without overheating in 20 years. And not only is it adding so much comfort, it is actually attractive!”
Stael Design is looking to the future and setting some big targets, aiming to provide cooling solutions for all wheelchairs – both power and manual.
Double Paralympian wheelchair rugby player and former captain Michael Kerr, commented: “I can’t wait until the WheelAir is launched. I experience a lot of problems with overheating during games and am glad there is finally going to be an effective solution to this problem without having to resort to being sprayed with water.”
The company is close to launching the WheelAir but needs to raise £30,000 through crowdfunding before it can go into production and is planning to release a crowdfunding video featuring some key Scottish locations and exclusive interviews from wheelchair athletes.
Corien said: “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 WheelAir will be available for a 40% discount for the first 48 hours of the campaign 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.
To find out more about the device, visit the website HERE