A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
About this project
The WheelAir is the world’s first cooling wheelchair backrest cushion to cool all manual wheelchairs. It is ergonomically designed to provide more support, whilst the unique fan technology gently blows cool air onto the users back, instantly enhancing their comfort and taking away any excess heat and moisture.
Staels Design want to improve accessibility and comfort for all and help every person live life on their terms.
We’ve put all our resources into getting this far, now we need your help to purchase our tooling and make WheelAir a reality!
Many wheelchair users face daily discomfort due to the inability to properly regulate their body temperature. Being too hot is exhausting. The WheelAir can relieve this. After exercising, experiencing a hot flush or on a warm day, the WheelAir is the most efficient and subtle means of cooling off – wherever you are!
But where did it all begin?
Corien began designing the WheelAir two years ago after she learned that wheelchair users often have temperature regulation issues.
Those with a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) are particularly affected because their body can no longer communicate with their brain to say it's overheating and needs to start sweating. This can easily lead to heatstroke and hyperthermia. And as time went on, more and more wheelchair users resonated with the overheating issue. We now have testimonials of those with SCI, Multiple Sclerosis and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome to name a few.
Corien thought: “This is the 21st century... It’s time for a change!” And while at it, she decided that function was as important as looks. You don't buy ugly clothes just because they are functional right? So why do so many wheelchair related products lack sleek and stylish design?
So she developed the first non-invasive solution to overheating: The WheelAir. An award-winning patent-pending cooling wheelchair back-rest cushion.
Watch our video and hear testimonials to find out how the WheelAir is improving lives and enabling people to live life on their terms.
We are Staels Design Ltd. A Glasgow based start up on a mission to improve accessibility for all and do some social good. Corien was first brought into the healthcare market during her undergraduate textiles degree. Her tutor Lisette had problems with temperature regulation, so Corien worked tirelessly to find a solution to this. From then, she has been determined to come up with the best solution.
Laura is a social media and marketing whiz who came on board in February 2017 to help get WheelAir to the market-ready stage it is today.
Euan, Dickon and Richard are from STEP 3D, a Glasgow product development firm. Throughout the past months they have worked closely with Corien to develop the WheelAir.
The combination of STEP 3D's knowledge and experience in taking a product from prototype through to post-manufacturing, and Staels Design's market and textile knowledge, has proven to be a golden combo for taking WheelAir to the market.
The project is in its final pre-manufacturing stage. The product is ready and it has been tested successfully! Now we just need your help to get it to market.
We have put a lot of effort into making sure the WheelAir fits all manual chairs with a normal back-rest and is easily attached and detached.
The cushion fits all frames of a height of 300mm - 400mm (12"-16").
The cushion itself comes in 4 different widths: 290mm (11.5") - 330mm (13") - 360mm (14") - 390mm (15"). Measure the width of your cushion on the top of your chair (as pictured) to have the correct width. This width will be smaller than your frame.
To install the cushion: you detach your own velcro-attached cushion but leave the velcro skeleton underneath on the chair. You then strip on WheelAir in the exact way your own cushion was attached. Both hook and loop velcro strips are provided so that the cushion fits every wheelchair brand. Then, you click the fan box onto the cushion and make sure the remote sits somewhere where you can easily reach it (we will provide a mounting system), or in the back pouch. And off you go!
Once switched on, the fan box will suck in air from both directions and push it upwards to create a gentle cooling feeling.
Your contribution is going to the manufacturing of WheelAir. First of all we will be able to order our plastic, aluminium and rubber tooling. All tooling is ordered within the UK. Then, we will be able to go straight into manufacturing. We have our manufacturing partners set up both in the UK and in wider Europe, and all our parts and materials come from trusted UK suppliers.
It helps that Corien's father specialised in medical textile manufacturing... She has been involved in the manufacturing set-up from day one!
Want to share our story or video? Download them both from our website. Or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Risks and challenges
We have been working for two years to build this brand and deliver the best product possible. We made sure to only come to Kickstarter when the time was right, so that we can avoid any and all risks and challenges where possible. We've carefully considered the challenges ahead of us:
Risk no. 1: A delay in material supply. While prototyping, we noticed that some of our needed supplies were out of stock in some countries and not in others. Therefore, we have made sure to have several sources of each needed material. Additionally, we have only sourced the highest quality and most reliable materials.
Risk no. 2. Manufacturing delays. Currently, WheelAir® is a 3D printed version made in Glasgow with our small batch manufacturers. To scale up we need the tooling for manufacturing, which is why are running this campaign. For this, we are working closely together with our manufacturing partners to make sure the process runs as smoothly and quickly as possible once the funding has been achieved.
Risk no. 3. The unexpected. We can’t plan for everything, so have to anticipate that some problems may arise that we have not foreseen. We pledge in this instance to communicate with you honestly and openly.