The Access universal exercise equipment concept
Industrial design student Ryan Eder had his heart moved when he watched a wheelchair user struggling with fitness equipment at a gym, and hence decided to help do his part in helping everyone, including the wheelchair bound, to take advantage of gym equipment without any difficulty. That took place three years ago, and now he has sketched out his solution which incidentally is part of his thesis work at the University of Cincinnati. Dubbed The Access, this universal exercise equipment was specially designed to accommodate normal able-bodied folks as well as the disabled. Even the elderly will benefit from his design, as it makes it easier for the elderly to give different group muscles in their body a workout from the same station.
According to Eder, “People in wheelchairs need more exercise than able-bodied users due to their sedentary lifestyle. There is a trend slowly on the rise with fitness clubs trying to focus more on the elderly because the baby boomer population is entering retirement. This machine addresses those populations.” Eder also ran his own research, realizing that 94% of fitness clubs around the US (from an informal survey of 45) did not offer any wheelchair-accessible equipment, which means The Access has extremely vast potential. Citing this figure, Eder went on to mention that “It is an injustice that equipment is not offered for them (the disabled) in public fitness centers.” Since most machines require a minimum amount of dexterity to use that paraplegics and quadriplegics find impossible to muster, The Access does away with that. Instead, Eder’s design uses cuffs with Velcro wrist straps that have a metal hook sewn into them, allowing the exerciser to use the hook instead to grip a handle.
This is but a concept at the moment, and Eder is currently looking for funding to further develop his concept. I think this is a very altruistic idea that will greatly benefit everyone. Any VCs out there willing to lend a hand to this cause?