The adjustable and active wheelchair, Seiza, was inspired by the traditional Japanese kneeling position. The main target of the project was to point out problems with current active wheelchairs and find a new solution for sitting in the wheelchair.
The project is largely devoted to rehabilitation, physiology and ergonomics of the human body for prevention of additional injuries and problems caused by sitting for long periods of time and uneasy physical manipulation.
The standout feature of the Seiza wheelchair is the all-important medical benefit of the user being able to switch between sitting and kneeling, which transfers pressure that has been accumulated from unaltered sitting for a long time, to a different part of the body. This works positively for prevention of additional injuries and discomfort.
The Seiza wheelchair started out as Věra’s Master’s Degree project. Its unique and stylish design attracted awards and several prizes; Excellent Student Design Award and Press Award – National Student Award 2013, Studio of Product Design Award – FUD, UJEP.
Currently, Seiza is in development and testing stages, in preparation of product launch for potential customers. It is designed as an alternative wheelchair predominantly for indoor use e.g. home, office, etc.
‘Seiza’ is the Japanese term for “kneeling” and is the oldest way of Japanese sitting.
The hip position encourages the spine towards its natural position. Thus, the body sits in the ideal position recommended by physiotherapists.
A key feature of the Seiza wheelchair, aside from its original design and construction, are the materials used. The frame is made from pre-fabricated carbon fibre tubes, joined by Alloy joints. Therefore, it is possible to set up the wheelchair for any size and custom fit for every user.
There is better control for going over obstacles with the driving wheels placed to the front and castor wheels at the back. This design prompts further medical benefit in prevention of shoulder injuries. The driving wheels placed at a 3° angle allows for a better turning moment of the wheelchair.
This attractive design uses different materials and technologies such as; carbon fibre tubes; polycarbonate components; and net touching parts. The soft cushions are made from memory foam and the cover from breathable Tebox.
Seiza’s design was based on ergonomic prototype testing and consultation with specialists and potential users.