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Award-winning product design makes wheelchair travel easier

Corbally designer Ciara Crawford at the European Product Design awards in Budapest for her wheelchair travel.
Corbally designer Ciara Crawford at the European Product Design awards in Budapest.

Designer Ciara Crawford who dedicated her time and effort to make life easier for wheelchair travelers recently received the Emerging Product Designer of the Year award in the transportation and aerospace category at this year’s European Product Design Awards.

The Product Design Award, in partnership with the European Parliament, recognizes talented designers who aim to improve our daily lives with a practical and beautiful creation. Moreover, the European Product Design Awards are open to designers from all over the world with entries from more than 60 countries.

The Corbally woman said that her goal is for wheelchair users to have “an enjoyable and dignified flight experience.”

Ms. Crawford worked as a concept developer for an aircraft company. While working there, however, she noticed the lack of accessibility in the aircraft industry. This observation inspired her to design the Row 1 concept which will hopefully bring independence to the minority of passengers.

Additionally, she graduated from the University of Limerick with a degree in Product Design and Technology. According to her, the Row 1 concept was her final year project.

After graduation, she worked with Chicago design company Conjure Inc. as a furniture designer.

Furthermore, Crawford’s outstanding design stemmed from design principles to produce the Row 1 airport wheelchair system. As she explained, this concept is designed to enable passengers to “use one seat from the airport check-in desk to the aircraft, to their destination, minimizing the frustration of seat transfers.”

Most importantly, passengers can book the battery-powered wheelchair ahead of their scheduled flights. Once they arrive at the airport, they can transfer to the wheelchair and remain seated until they reach their destination.

Moreover, these adapted wheelchairs fit around existing aircraft seats. Ms. Crawford explains that the process is quick and simple. For instance, passengers no longer have to worry about being watched while being lifted by crew members into their seats.

“The Row 1 wheelchair makes the process of traveling easier and quicker for the passenger and for the airlines,” said Ms. Crawford.

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