Why the Hand Rim?

Our patent pending hand rim product was started in our Design the Future program. One of our project partners, Nick, has poor circulation in his hands making it difficult to grip the rims on his wheelchair. The idea was to give him additional wheelchair control and mobility while maintaining his chair's existing functionality and aesthetic. The handrim is a simple example of how the design thinking process can be applied to create impact. 


Empathy work

We interviewed Nick along with our Design the Future students to really understand the problem from his perspective. 

Define and Ideate

Once we understood the problem Nick's perspective we began generating possible solutions. The ket attributes of whatever we created were that it needed to increase mobility: when it's cold and fingers are harder to use, when the hands are wet and when going up or down steep inclines. We came up with a multitude of ideas. The one that resonated the most with us and with Nick was a grip that sat on the inside of the wheel. 


We created a basic prototypes for Nick to test. He gave us feedback that the finger spacing didn't feel just right and that the groove depth needed to change. 

part 1 ergonomic.jpg

We used this feedback to create a full prototype that nick could test more thoroughly.  


Installing the prototype on Nic's wheelchair so he can test it and give us his feedback.


After testing this design with Nick we tested it with other potential users as well and received extensive feedback. The feedback generated gave us the insights needed to tweak the design into its current form. This is the version we provisionally patented.