Rethinking Wheelchairs

An article I came across from Popular Science that caught my eye. A wheelchair that uses planetary gears to allow the user to pull (like a rowing motion) instead of push to propel themselves forward. An action that is ergonomically superior to its predecessor. 

Rowheels by NASA scientist Salim Nasser's

Rowheels by NASA scientist Salim Nasser's

I do hope this will create the new standard for wheelchairs. On top of the physical benefits, this product has a chance to do so much more in terms of the emotional and social aspect of wheelchair users.

How can we break the stigma that is attached to wheelchair users? It may not just be the wheelchair itself, but the urban environment too. Like how a design does not exist alone, but is part of a larger system - branding, user experience, customer service, etc. There is so much potential for design in this area.

via popsci.com