Category Archives: Accessibility

Portable mats make beaches accessible – about time!

Now here’s a COOL design for those HOT summer days! Mobi-mats are lightweight, durable, portable mats that can be rolled out onto sandy beaches making them accessible to wheelchairs, walkers, canes and strollers.

Mobi-mats in action at Rockaway Beach NYC

These mats are being used on beaches around the world including Rockaway Beach in New York and beaches in Rio de Janeiro.

Recently, Wasaga Beach just outside of Toronto purchased some mobi-mats making their beach one of the most accessible in the province. CBC Metro Morning interviewed town clerk  Twyla Nicholson about the town councils decision to purchase the mats, and the impact its having on residents and visitors to the beach.

Simcoe-Grey MP Kellie Leitch pushes Frank Nunnaro, Wasaga Beach resident and Accessibility Advisory Committee member, down the new Mobi-mats towards the water at the ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 11, 2013

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Filed under Accessibility, Articles, Design, Inspirational, invention, News, Photos, Posts, Recreation

Chinese DIY Inventors ROCK!

These inventions are incredible! Why? Because they are based on lived experiences (like old age) and needs (like the need to get out of a building fast). Because they function so well for the places and activities of daily life. AND because they are so beautiful! The combination wheelchair foldable bike is genius (exercise for the caregiver)! And who doesn’t want (need) a bike that is able to carry us over water as well as land as we commute to work? And that evacuation slide? It’s a work of art! Wouldn’t it be awesome in the MOMA?

83-year-old Zhang Yongqing shows off his invention, a combination of a wheelchair and foldable bicycle.  Zhang said he invented the multifunctional bicycle so that care-givers can take better care of wheelchair-bound elderly people.

Lei Zhiqian rides a modified bicycle across the Hanjiang River. The bicycle, equipped with eight empty water containers at the bottom, was modified by Lei’s instructor Li Weiguo, who hopes to put his invention into the market.

70-year-old inventor Zhou Miaorong tries out an evacuation slide he built himself in a building in Shanghai,. Zhou took over two years to design and build the mechanical slide which uses no electricity to implement in a domino effect, while also triggering a sprinkler system to fight a fire. 

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Filed under Accessibility, Design, DIY, Inspirational, invention, Mobility Aids, Photos, Posts, Uncategorized

Wei Yen – function and FUN

Wei Yen uses her foot horn to let people know she is coming - so smart!

Wei Yen hand stitched her wheelchair cover and added many other accessories that make her mobility device more functional AND fun. Check out her foot pedal horn!

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Filed under Accessibility, Design, Mobility Aids, personalizing, Posts, Videos

Lady Gaga’s Pimped Up and Personalized Gold Wheelchair: A 24-Karat ‘Chariot’

Lady Gaga's Pimped Up and Personalized Wheelchair

Recovering from recent hip surgery for an inflammatory joint infection called synovitis, the superstar was originally given a more traditional wheelchair which she affectionately named ‘Emma’. Not wanting to give up her style however (who does?!), Lady Gaga commissioned jewelry designer Ken Borochov to design the leather-tufted chair that features a removable canopy.  Now THAT’s more like it girl – “P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face – Mum mum mum mah”…

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Filed under Accessibility, Articles, Design, Mobility Aids, personalizing, Posts

Good Design Meets People IN their Lives

Mosses, Uganda

Mosses, Uganda

Good design meets people within the context of their lives.  It prioritizes the social as well as the physical circumstances and needs of the individual.

The folks at Motivation – an international development charity supporting people with mobility disabilities –  get this. With a focus on SURVIVAL, MOBILITY, EMPOWERMENT, and INCLUSION, they design and distribute high-quality, low-cost wheelchairs, tricycles and supportive seating products specifically for use in developing countries.

In North America we spend a lot of time and resources developing mobility devices that function – mechanically – really well. We spend far less time however, considering how well these same devices function within the social and cultural spaces of people’s lives.  There is much we can learn from organizations like Motivation.

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Filed under Accessibility, Barriers, Design, Mobility Aids, Posts, Projects, Videos

Art-a-Ride ~ Creating personalized wheelchair experiences

Benja loved showing off his newly pimped up chair to his friends. He now has a dragon snake tattooed all around that opens its mouth as the wheels turn, and several customized-by-friends accessories using velcro, and other material, enriching his wheelchair experience! His mom simply posted a message on Facebook saying “I’m starting a new project for Benja’s b’day, want to contribute to an art-a-ride project?”. It’s this simple and easy, help us spread the word.

Art-a-Ride connects creative people with kids with disabilities to turn their factory looking – medicalized – wheelchairs that highlight their limitations, into interesting, meaningful, and in the case of Benja here – super cool – “rides”.

The final co-creations, according to founder Eva de Lera, have a profound impact on the kids, their lives, and the lives of their families.  How amazing!

I’ve talked about this before, personalizing mobility aids is a form of self-expression that is not only good for our health and the health of those around us, its also really fun!

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Overcrowding on public transit is NOT a new problem – Let’s FIGURE IT OUT!

20120711-TTCAds-MoveDown

The recent debate about stroller crowding on the TTC in Toronto highlights ongoing problems with both the TTC AND with US. This is what I see needs doing:

1. Increase the capacity of the system

2. Improve the design of transit vehicles

3. Be nicer!

The TTC is working on the first two – the third is up to us!

An accessible, efficient, and FRIENDLY public transportation system is a sign of a great city. Let’s figure this out TO!

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Filed under Accessibility, Barriers, Design, Inaccessible, News, Posts

Design that compels us to think… and maybe even act

Jeseok Yi produces powerful messages for social change that not only stop and make you think in that moment, but will follow you long after that…

Toronto’s MANY mountains include this entrance to the Yorkdale Subway Station

IMG_3115

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Softwalks: Turning Scaffolding into Pop-up Parks with Resting Places

This start up has ALL the right ideas! Scaffolding is not only UGLY, it creates significant barriers for people with mobility challenges including older folks, people with disabilities and parents with strollers. I lived in NYC for 5 years and would avoid sidewalks lined with scaffolding whenever possible because it was so unpleasant and felt even scary and dangerous sometimes. Resting places like these are essential for those of us who can’t quite ‘make it all the way’ and health-promoting for all of us as they provide opportunities for social interaction. Way to go SOFTWALKS!

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Now look who’s in charge of the streets!

Now who's in charge of the streets! .37.32 AMA GREAT laugh and a fantastic way to point out some the challenges our seniors face everyday!

Check this out on YouTube!

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Filed under Accessibility, Mobility Aids, Posts, Videos