Tammy Kalinsky, a student studying design in Israel, recently filed a patent for a wheelchair accessory that will allow caregivers the opportunity to be social with the wheelchair user they are pushing.
Kalinsky noticed that people with special needs, kids especially, need to be able to communicate with their guardian or caregiver while being moved around but that has not been possible due to the positioning of wheelchair handles.
The Side by Side accessory attaches to a manual wheelchair and uses a bicycle-like handle so the caregiver can push the chair while standing directly next to the wheelchair instead of from behind. The hopes is this will allow for eye contact and encourage conversation and an emotional connection.
A hurdle that the designer needed to overcome while creating this accessory, was how it would steer the wheelchair in a forward direction, instead of spinning in a circle. Kalinsky solved this problem by borrowing the curved handle of a bicycle, which would allow the accessory to be placed further forward on the wheelchair and curve back to the person pushing.
The handle can easily be taken apart and stowed in a bag behind the chair while it’s not in use. Also included as part of the accessory, Kalinsky added a horn and flashlight to allow the wheelchair user a way to take part of a walk and have a more interactive experience.
While this design is only patent-pending, Kalinsky hopes to be able to bring this product to market in the future.
Do you think this will increase communication between caregivers and the ones they’re caring for? What could this do for those relationships?