The WheelAir®, described as “the Dyson of the mobility industry,” is finally on the market. It is available for purchase with a variety of exclusive discounts on Kickstarter during the month of June.
Glasgow based start-up Staels Design are aiming to raise the £30,000 required for the tooling to commence manufacture. Since they are partaking in an ‘all-or-nothing’ campaign, if they do not reach their goal, everyone gets their money back.
The WheelAir® is a wheelchair backrest cushion with an in-built fan which provides instant cooling whilst also being ergonomically designed to be more supportive. The unique battery powered technology cools the user by gently blowing air onto their backs, taking away any excess heat and moisture.
Jay Anderson, a multi-disciplined athlete and wheelchair user said after using the WheelAir®, “this is the first time I’ve been in the park in the sun without overheating in 20 years. And not only is it adding so much comfort, it is actually attractive!”
The cushion fits all manual active lightweight wheelchairs and the company aspires to eventually provide cooling solutions for all wheelchairs, both power and manual. It combines function with comfort without ever compromising on style, something often overlooked in the mobility industry.
A central goal for Staels Design was to give wheelchair users the opportunity to use a stylish healthcare product that embraces modernity in both appearance and branding.
Jonathan Fernandez, Glaswegian DJ known as Wheelman said, “It’s so refreshing to see a product that is ‘cool’ in every sense of the word; it is worlds apart from other healthcare products I’ve seen.”
Staels Design was founded just over a year ago by Corien Staels who first became aware of the cooling problems experienced by wheelchair users after meeting a lecturer and wheelchair user at her university in Amsterdam two years ago.
She then discovered that many had to cool themselves in dramatic and unforgiving ways – having to strap ice packs to their bodies or spray themselves with water hoses post-exercise. She decided it was time for a change.
Michael Kerr, the double Paralympian wheelchair rugby player and former captain said, “I can’t wait the use the WheelAir®. I experience a lot of problems with overheating during games and am glad there is finally going to be an effective solution to this without having to resort to being sprayed with water.”
Staels commented, “I am delighted by the positive response to the WheelAir®. Every person should have the opportunity to buy stylish products they can identify with. Heating and cooling are real problems, and not just for athletes. I believe that raising awareness of the issue like we do on our blog is only going to increase the much-needed innovation in the industry.”
Staels Design is currently a finalist in this year’s Scottish Edge, Converge Challenge and Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, all highly acclaimed UK business competitions.
Watch their crowdfunding video which features some key locations from the Scottish Highlands. They also had a launch event for the WheelAir® this Saturday at the University of Glasgow. Attendees included members of the Caledonia Crushers and of the Dundee Dragons, lots of entrepreneurs, friends and their partners Michael Kerr, Simply Emma and Housing Options Scotland.