A state-of-the-art wheelchair buggy, designed to affix to wheelchairs and help parents safely transport their children, has won Bolt Burdon Kemp’s Design the Change competition.
The competition, in its third year, is intended to raise awareness of the day-to-day challenges facing people with spinal cord injuries and how innovative designs can make a real difference.
The competition invites UK-based university students to design a product aimed at improving the lives of people with a spinal cord injury. Law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, which supports people with spinal cord injuries, was looking for a design which was both unique and practical.
Winner Tom Baker, 23, a third year Product Design student from Sheffield Hallam University, designed a wheelchair buggy comprising of a lightweight collapsible frame that offers wheelchair users independent and secure travel with young children.
Through Tom’s research he realised that many wheelchair users rig up DIY contraptions so they can push conventional pushchairs. His research revealed there are around 4,000 UK parents living with a spinal cord injury, and many more parents who are wheelchair users who could benefit from this product.
Tom wins £3,000, with an additional £2,000 being awarded to Sheffield Hallam University.
“I’m delighted that my project to enable individuals with a spinal cord injury to travel with an infant safely and independently, has been recognised with this award,” said Tom, pictured below.
“During my research for this project, I learnt that the work which Cerebra and The Spinal Injuries Association do is crucial in making the world a more accessible place for those who have suffered a spinal cord injury. I’d like to thank Bolt Burdon Kemp for setting the design challenge and endorsing.”
Design the Change is supported by Bolt Burdon Kemp’s charity partner Cerebra which works to improve the lives of children with neurological conditions. Part of the charity’s work is to design bespoke equipment to meet families’ needs at their innovation centre and as part of his prize, Tom will have a week’s placement at the centre in Wales next year.
“The standard of entries this year was so high, but Tom’s wheelchair buggy really blew the judges away,” said Victoria Oliver, head of the spinal injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.
“Through careful research and speaking to a wide range of people, Tom was able to identify the issues facing parents with a SCI and come up with a genuinely innovative and useful product which could benefit many.”