As a “mobile” person who loves to travel, I can only imagine how difficult it is for persons with disabilities to travel on airplanes and go through airports. They have to rely on the assistance of their companions or the airplane personnel in order to board a plane and they have to keep their wheelchair in storage for the entire flight duration. If it’s a long-haul flight, they have limited mobility and accessibility. That’s why this new design concept for a wheelchair is pretty important to help them have a more convenient traveling experience.
The Air Chair is a concept design for a wheelchair that can be used for an entire travel experience for the person with disabilities. It can be used to go through the airport and once boarded on the plane, it can be integrated into the aircraft seat without having to remove a seat or fold up the wheelchair itself. The idea also is to be able to use the inflight features of the plane and the airplane seat in the wheelchair so that they will still be able to avail of these features while sitting in their own chair.
They were able to create a design that will accommodate the wheelchair even if the plane has a narrow aisle. The seat dimension is 16.5″ which should be able to fit most aircraft seats, at least for the regular-sized plane sections of the Boeing 777-300 plane. The wheelchair itself slides into the seat and should be able to use features like the seatbelt, life vest, and even the inflight infotainment system that the aircraft provides. It has a C-shaped design and has spherical wheels for easy sliding into the seat and should fit like a glove. There’s also a locking mechanism that attaches to the metal bar under the chair that will make it stable and prevent any unnecessary movement the entire flight.
The Air Chair will give passengers with disabilities the freedom to move around on their own if they prefer to, from their home to the airport to the plane and off the plane. The current options that they have can often be demeaning and inconvenient. The next step for the designers is to make a working model and eventually, they should be able to pitch this product to the airline industry and even direct to customers as well. On paper, it’s a well-designed concept that will be able to offer users “freedom, mobility, comfort, and security” when they travel.