SafariSeat - Open Source Wheelchair for Developing Countries

SafariSeat: Open Source Wheelchair for Developing Countries

SafariSeat is a low cost, all-terrain and open source wheelchair designed for people in developing countries. It can be made in basic workshops using bicycle parts, which makes it easy to repair.

SafariSeat has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, to raise money to build as many chairs as possible, and develop an open source manual. Local workshops can then use the manual to make SafariSeats for their communities.

SafariSeat designer, Janna Deeble grew up in Kenya. He was a child when he first met Letu, a Samburu man disabled by polio, living an isolated, traditional lifestyle with his family in the wilderness. Letu had been disabled since birth, with no access to healthcare, suitable wheelchairs or any of the assistance much of the world takes for granted. To move, Letu had to crawl; he was totally dependent on others.

Janna didn't understand the reality of Letu's situation until, as a design student, he had an accident that left him wheelchair-bound for months. As his independence disappeared, he thought of Letu and his daily struggle to fulfil life's basic needs.

In East Africa alone, 1 in every 200 people lives in need of a wheelchair, imprisoned by their disability. Determined to help, Janna returned to Kenya in 2015 to develop SafariSeat.

SafariSeat climbs over rough ground like no other wheelchair. It uses a simple, patented mechanism that mimics car suspension, ensuring all the wheels remain on the ground at all times for maximum stability.

The SafariSeat campaign is about enabling communities to help themselves. Janna plans to make the blueprints absolutely free, as part of an open source toolkit that will enable workshops to make SafariSeats for their community - to help people with disabilities and create local, sustainable employment.

SafariSeat has already allowed Letu to discover his independence and teach his son what it means to be a Samburu. With SafariSeat, Janna hopes many others will be able to experience the same freedom.

filed under: Industrial Design
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