The 2018 James Dyson Award winners are in, with a revolutionary new concept for an alternative to the traditional aisle chair at the front of the pack. Submitted by design engineering students at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, the Air-Chair offers wheelchair-users a seamless air travel experience, and eliminates transfers to and from airplane seats.
The Air-Chair was designed to fit in a Boeing 777-300, maneuver down the aisle, slide over the airline seat and lock safely in place. This power wheelchair is just 16.5 inches wide, has a weight capacity of over 2,000 pounds and has front wheels that have a 180-degree turning radius for maximum maneuverability. It’s lightweight, compact and folds when not in use. Wheelchair-users can transfer to the Air-Chair and roll through the airport, on to the aircraft, and even access the lavatory once on board. According to the designers, the Air-Chair acts in a symbiotic relationship with the existing aircraft seat and allows passengers access to the life vest, the inflight entertainment system and the seat belt.
The design team won $6000 for their efforts, which will be used to develop a working prototype. For more information about the Air-Chair — including a video simulation of it in action — visit www.jamesdysonaward.org/en-US/2018/project/air-chair-1/.