Wheelchairs Get Social

side-by-sideIt’s nice that someone with special needs can have someone push their wheelchair for them but wouldn’t it be nice to have a conversation with the person assisting you? That’s the question designer Tammy Kalinsky asked for her senior thesis and the result is the clever and social Side by Side wheelchair accessory.

Studying at the Holon Institute of Technology, Kalinsky found herself working with a girl with cerebral palsy and noticed how socially awkward it was trying to converse with her when pushing her wheelchair from behind. Not being able to make eye contact or pick up on facial expressions made talking difficult and Kalinsky saw an opportunity to improve on this.

Instead of pushing the wheelchair from behind, Kalinsky used a simple design that featured a bar near the front of the chair and angling it slightly to properly direct the force while also facilitating communication between the rider and aide. With the Side by Side wheelchair accessory it is much easier for people in wheelchairs and their aides to have a more normal and natural conversation.

Ergonomic, easy to manufacture and designed to reflect the youth and vigor of its use, the Side by Side bar also features rubber grips and a simple folding mechanism to make the device easy to use. It also uses hollow metal tubing to make the design light and affordable.

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