Wheelchairs are no doubt useful for all disabled and people with special needs. The original design only had one goal: to bring a disabled person from one point to another. Dozens of innovations have already been applied throughout the centuries and with every step comes improvements to the life of the users.
GRIP is a project by three designers: Lorcan Looney, Bryce Cormack, and Leah Deegan. They wanted to engage with common problems in the world by providing practical solutions. The Grip goes beyond aesthetics as the main aim is to enhance the “grip” of the wheels for wheelchair users.
Designers: Lorcan Looney, Bryce Cormack, Leah Deegan
Grip is mainly a rim cover that provides ease and comfort to the users. It’s a “comfortable and durable hand protecting cover” that allows you to push the wheelchair more easily. With the cover, the problem of fingers being trapped between the wheel and the push rim is eliminated.
The Grip is not a product being sold in the market. It’s something you can actually do on your own as a downloadable template and instructions are provided by the designers. The step-by-step guide is easy to follow so you can assemble the Grip with easily accessible materials and components.
Trapping the fingers when you push the wheelchair is common. Users know this but there are solutions like the Grip. You don’t even have to use gloves. The Grip will be enough to prevent strain and reduce the chance of deterioration.
Grip is offered as an open-source design. It was designed to help David Tait, a paraplegic, so he wouldn’t have to suffer. Pushing the rim can be uncomfortable at times not only for David but also many others who use wheelchairs. The designers stepped in with the Grip project.
Before launching the final design, several prototypes were made. Different materials were tested to cover the rim—cotton fabric, faux leather, and pipe insulation. The winner was fake leather because of several reasons. It’s the choice of material as it was waterproof, offered easy grip, and was easy to work with. Fake leather can also be found everywhere as you can easily buy it from most craft or fabric stores.
Creating the Grip rim cover can be messy. During production, creasing was present but when the designers looked at how steering wheel covers were made, they were able to lessen it. The final rim cover was made and David loved it. If you are interested to make your own GRIP, you can follow what the designers did. The Do-It-Yourself rim cover can be done at home with minimal materials and the use of hand tools only.