Unist researchers' wheelchair named a finalist at IDEA 2020
A wheelchair made by a team of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (Unist) researchers won the U.S International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) — one of the three most prestigious design awards in the world.
The wheelchair Oro Plume was named a finalist in IDEA 2020’s Medical & Health category. For Unist design Prof. Jung Yun-woo and his team, this is the third accolade for the wheelchair concept after the 2018 Spark Design Awards Silver and the iF Design Award finalist.
Oro Plume has a frame made of lightweight graphene and high elastic fabric. Its wheels work with motors which greatly improve the user experience, Jung said. The chair can move forward and stops using light gestures, without a separate controller. The motor is activated with a light push and stopped with a gentle pull. Changing directions can be done by pushing one of the wheels in the direction one wants to go.
Jung emphasized that the key factor in designing the wheelchair was minimizing the user's actions as much as possible.
“Wheelchair users put in a lot of strength to make heavy wheelchairs go forward and while doing so experience the distress of feeling like a patient,” said Jung. “Oro Plume’s goal is to become a micro-transportation means that everyone wants to ride. That will open new opportunities for wheelchairs beyond the realm of prejudice.”
Prof. Jung and his team are currently working with local company Drone Dom to mass produce Oro Plume starting 2021. With a prototype, they’re working on ways to find the center of gravity most stable for the rider and improve other user experience points.
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [firstname.lastname@example.org]