A new wheel placement system allows easy interchangeability between daily use and athletic function.
For many young people, playing sports provides a number of benefits both physically and socially – from encouraging healthy living to building confidence. But for those youth that are wheelchair-bound it can be difficult to engage in recreational sport without the proper equipment. In an attempt to make sports and their rehabilitative nature more accessible, a student designer from Canada has developed an adjustable wheelchair.
Created by Andrew Lowe, the CrossTrainer is a ‘fully interchangeable sports wheelchair for youth.’ The CrossTrainer, which was the student runner-up in the ‘Consumer Products’ category at the Core77 2013 Design Awards, is capable of functioning as both a daily use and sport-equipped wheelchair.
Built on a unique wheel attachment system, the CrossTrainer allows for changes to the angle and position of the wheels to increase the functionality of the chair. Additionally, Lowe has developed a range of interchangeable front-end attachments that will aid in participating in a variety of activities like basketball, tennis, and track racing.
When developing the CrossTrainer as a design project, Lowe worked to answer a fundamental question.
‘How can design be used to increase accessibility to adaptive sports for those living with disabilities?’ . . . The specialty wheelchairs used [in] many adaptive sports all share the same core design with relatively minor variations to tailor the chair to a particular sport. . . . Disabled children can greatly benefit from the rehabilitation offered by adaptive sports. The high costs of equipment and available funding for only daily use wheelchairs prevent parents from purchasing several sports wheelchairs for their children. A ‘cross-trainer’ chair that could be adapted to several sports would help increase participation of children in adaptive sports.
In contrast to traditional wheelchair construction that relies bent and welded metal tubing, Lowe’s manufacturing process involves sand casting aluminum around a styrene foam core – making it far more cost effective. Because of its design and construct, the CrossTrainer also easily expands to allow the chair to grow with the child and increase its usefulness.
Lowe hopes to take the design further and acquire the necessary pieces to put it in place on a larger scale. See the CrossTrainer’s motto in action below.