By: 11 December 2018
Innovative wheelchair wins design competition

The Getting Back on Track competition intended to encourage innovation and raise awareness of the day-to-day challenges facing people with spinal cord injuries.

Kristen Tapping, 36, second year product design student at London South Bank University produced the winning design – an innovative wheelchair, ‘Moveo’, which is designed to propel the user forwards by them pushing backwards – exerting less force and effort than a normal wheelchair. Kristen won £3,000 in prize money, plus £2,000 for her university.

This wheelchair was designed especially for people with a spinal cord injury and makes moving easy through gear reduction, lightweight yet high strength materials, and carefully designed to give the user more grip. With comfort in mind, intelligent textiles also help to regulate the users’ body temperature.

The purpose of the competition was for UK-based university students to design a product aimed at improving the lives of people with a spinal cord injury. Bolt Burdon Kemp, which acts for people with a spinal cord injury and helps them get their lives back on track, was looking for a design that was both unique and practical, and really considered the needs of those with a spinal cord injury.

Kristen’s design was judged the winner by a panel of experts, including Raquel Siganporia, head of the spinal injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp, Dr Ross Head, Associate Professor at the University of Wales TSD Swansea and Product Design Manager of Cerebra Innovation Centre, and Ian Hosking from Wheelchair Rugby Experience.

Kristen said: “I am thrilled to have won this competition, it has opened my eyes to new areas of design. Once I have graduated and finished my placement in Spain, I hope to design new products – which this competition has inspired me to do.

“I had the intention coming into this competition of doing anything but a wheelchair, partly because so many designers have had a go, I wasn’t sure what I could add. But after seeing horrendous-looking wheelchairs and trying one out myself, I decided to see what I could come up with.

“While I am not able to address every single issue that comes with the injury, I designed this wheelchair to merge functionality and aesthetics, while also facilitating the users’ daily routine.”

For more information, visit: