Whizz-Kidz are working with Duchenne UK and the University of Edinburgh to reimagine the wheelchair for the future

Over the last 20 years, there have been huge technological advancements to the items we use in our everyday lives. For example, we’ve seen mobile phones go from just for making phone calls to devices that can pay for items, help us meet our life partners, locate our friends and family, help us fall asleep or, much to some people’s frustration, keep us awake. The list of changes the mobile phone has seen is endless but the same can’t be said for the powered wheelchair. In fact, the powered wheelchair has stayed almost completely the same for over three decades.

With the Wheels of Change project, we want to change this, by undertaking ground-breaking research that will reimagine the wheelchair. The goal of the project is to develop a powered wheelchair that utilises new technology and meets the needs of 21st century living.

Funded by a £1 million award from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery through the Dream Fund initiative, the project sees Whizz-Kidz working in partnership with Duchenne UK and University of Edinburgh.

At the heart of the project are young wheelchair users themselves. We will be working with them to ensure that what we design actually meets their needs.

This exciting collaboration has the potential to positively impact and enhance the lives of thousands of young wheelchair users in Great Britain and beyond…

Take a look at what we’ve been doing so far

AI and Smart Technology? 

As part of the project we’ve been asking young wheelchair users to think about how smart technology could be used to enhance their mobility equipment. People’s Postcode Lottery Ambassador Fiona Phillips visited the Whizz-Kidz Glasgow Club to speak with young disabled people about what their ideas for the wheelchair of the future.

We also followed Whizz-Kidz Ambassador Jacqui as she tested smart speakers and explored how artificial intelligence could be used in a wheelchair.

The #DreamWheelchair Competition

To find out what more young disabled people want from their wheelchair we launched our #DreamWheelchair competition. Aimed at UK wheelchair users aged 25 and under, the competition gave them the opportunity to design the wheelchair of their dreams. 

Click here to find out more about the project and see some of the winning designs