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A revolution in wheelchair design and functionality The Cologne-based company DESINO has revolutionised the design of modern wheelchairs in conveying the movement of walking to the wheelchair seat, thus mobilising hips and back to lessen the pressure that constant sitting puts on the body. Starting out from university the three founders, who worked closely together with wheelchair users, have established DESINO on the market as a manufacturer of innovative wheelchairs. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN I PHOTOS: DESINO GMBH
“The idea for a wheelchair with a dynamic seat was already born at university as part of my diploma thesis at the Köln International School of Design,” says DESINO’s creative director Thyl Junker. Junker founded the company together with engineer Roman Pagano and sport scientist Daniel Levedag, so the new wheelchair design actually originates in three different German universities. DESINO is a growing company and currently runs a crowdfunding campaign raising funds to establish wider distribution, and make their product known to a wider public (www.seedmatch.de/startups/desino). “The development of dynamic seats has been long overdue, because sitting statically for a very long time damages the body,” says Junker. It was a complex process to convey the movement of walking 86 | Issue 57 | December 2017
to a wheelchair seat. “We have analysed peoples’ walking movement through motion capture, where the position of individual points on the body was captured,” explains designer Thyl Junker. The analysis allowed developing a tilting seat and a flexible backrest.“Coupled with the handlever propulsion this allows wheelchair users movement while driving. The pelvis tips from one side to the other, the shoulder girdle twists, so that there is alternating strain on the spine, something it needs for the spinal disks.” DESINO’s dynamic seat activates the spine and relaxes the back muscles, which is important since they bear the greatest damage that sitting for long periods of time can cause. “Above that, the movement of the pelvic floor affects the digestive and cardiovascular system positively and prevents bedsores.”
Wheelchair users are not all the same and each experience very different issues. And, of course, a walking person can not comprehend all of them. This is why the company works closely together with wheelchair users: “We have for example, very quickly realised how important it is that a wheelchair has adaptability to individual requirements.” So, the design of the wheelchair has not only been influenced by its future users, but actually puts their needs in focus. www.desino.eu Product range.