Created by UK social enterprise Uji,this open-source, locally-built wheelchair is easy to repair and use.
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Despite the good intentions behind donations of wheelchairs to developing countries, the specialist parts and knowledge required to repair them often render them useless. Uji, a United Kingdom-based social enterprise, designs tools to help break cycles of poverty. The company’s first product is the SafariSeat, an all-terrain wheelchair designed specifically for the people in the developing world living outside urban areas. Open-source and built from bicycle parts, the SafariSeat is quick to build and easy to repair, customize and use.
The wheelchair uses pump levers to move, and rests on a suspension system similar to a car that keeps all four wheels on the ground at the same time, regardless of the roughness of the ground. Uji’s team says that 98 percent of disabled adolescents in developing countries do not attend school. Having successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter, the open source toolkit is already in development and production of the first 50 SafariSeat wheelchairs will begin in May 2017 in Kenya.
As accessibility continues to be integrated into every day design, creative technological solutions are increasingly helping people get involved. An exercise machine is now available for people who are bed or wheelchair-bound, and fitness trackers and scales are being adapted for people who are mobility-impaired. How could smart cities around the world share their accessibility successes with others?