Securing a Discovery Of The Year Award as well as a Platinum Winner Award at the European Product Design Awards in 2019, The Row-1 by Ciara Crawford surely has explored a problem area that hasn’t seen much in terms of commercial realization. The Row-1, simply put, is an inclusive-design wheelchair that lets disabled and elderly patrons at an airport go straight from the check-in desk to inside the airline, and de-board the flight at their destination. The wheelchair works exactly how you’d expect it to, allowing the disabled to cover large distances within an airport (with help from airline staff), but where it really shines is in the way it rolls right into the aircraft and secures itself to the airplane seat.
“1 million travelers with disabilities took 23 million trips over the past two years, spending $9 billion on their flights”, says Ciara, a design graduate from the University of Limerick, Ireland. The Row-1 aims at bettering their experience by eliminating the need and the associated discomfort of changing seats every time a disabled person boards or deboards a plane. The Row-1 wheelchair comes with a nesting design and inward-folding rear wheels that help it integrate itself comfortably into a seat the first row, giving the patron extra leg-room while keeping them closer to the washroom too. This way, the passenger never needs to change seats through their entire journey, with the exception of passing through the security check. The wheelchair is even equipped with its own seatbelt that proves useful within the airport while traveling on ramps and air-bridges, as well as inside the plane. The same wheelchair goes from the airport of departure to the airplane, and finally escorts the passenger out at the airport of arrival. The wheelchair even comes with its own joystick-panel for manual operation, as well as space under the seat for storing handbags.
The Row-1 Wheelchair System is a Platinum Winner of the European Product Design Award for the year 2019.
Designer: Ciara Crawford
[Update: The original article stated that the designer stumbled onto a solution for a problem that hasn’t been recognized before. It has since been corrected.]