Disrupt Disability

Machines Room hosted one of Disrupt Disability’s hackathons, which saw a huge crowd of wheelchair wearers, designers, engineers, and makers come together to collaboratively address one design challenge: how to make wheelchairs more adaptable, customisable, and look more appealing to wheelchair wearers.

First, there was an overview of the Disrupt Disability’s design story so far, with presentations from the RSA Student Design Award shortlisters and their wheelchair designs, and from Kang Chen, who had developed a prototype quick release wheelchair hub during his residency at Machines Room, as part of the Hello Shenzhen exchange programme.

Then day was divided into three sections whose areas of focus reflected the three key stakeholders in the challenge – User, Designer, and Maker. Users led the way by sharing their lived experiences of wearing wheelchairs and of being clients in this market.

Designers were then handed the brief to interpret and ensure they met the clients’ needs. Then Makers were given the lead to realise the briefs and actually produce the beginning stages of workable prototypes! All in one day!

It was a fantastic meeting of minds, and really supported Disrupt Disability, and therefore wheelchair wearers around the world, to move their project onward.