Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) Whizz-Kidz and Frazer-Nash Consultancy join forces on innovative new wheelchair

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) has been retained by Whizz-Kidz to refine the DREAM wheelchair concept, which has been designed by children for young wheelchair users, showcasing the way in which technology and design can help overcome the daily challenges faced by young wheelchair users. 

In 2017 the charities Whizz-Kidz and Duchenne UK came together, with the help of academics at Edinburgh University and an award of £1m from the People’s Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund, to design a chair that would not just meet medical needs but harness technology and design to meet a young person’s dreams and aspirations. 

Following a workshop at the Innovation Hub in London in 2018,a shortlist of 72 recommendations were put forward; all of which would address the everyday challenges faced by young wheelchair users. The project team enlisted experts from Curtiss Wright, Somo Global and Aergo to work with Frazer-Nash Consultancy and Edinburgh University to turn the project from a dream into a reality and the DREAM wheelchair prototype was successfully launched in December 2020.

The success of the DREAM wheelchair prototype has enabled further funding to be secured from Duchenne UK and Motability Operations to examine the feasibility of bringing the chair to market, and a range of design and engineering reviews have been commissioned. 

WAE will use its experience in product design to further improve the wheelchair including a  twist and smart features seat and  kerb climb ability whilst ensuring the seat is able to support a modular construction. 

Using its knowledge of the healthcare industry, gained through a series of high-profile projects such as Babypod (a lightweight incubator for the transportation of critically ill children) and a Paralympic handbike the company will ensure the individual needs of the user are central to both the design and manufacture of the wheelchairs.

“We are delighted to be part of this project and welcome the opportunity to contribute to a programme that will be making a genuine difference to people’s lives. Our experience with past projects has shown us the importance of prioritising the needs of the individual and we look forward to delivering some new and innovative design ideas ” said Paul McNamara, Technical Director, Williams Advanced Engineering.

About Williams Advanced Engineering (“WAE”)

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is a world-leading technology and engineering services business delivering pioneering innovation to improve performance, efficiency and sustainability to a global customer base. 

Combining cutting-edge technological advances and the industry’s best engineers with precision and speed to market derived from the ultra-competitive environment of motorsport, Williams Advanced Engineering’s capabilities cover a wide range of disciplines.

The company provides ground-breaking innovation covering electrification, lightweighting, systems and whole product development, all aided by advanced simulation, rapid prototype manufacturing, testing, and in close collaboration with our customers, Williams Advanced Engineering is committed to meeting the continued sustainability challenges of the 21st Century.

The company can trace its foundations back to 2010 when Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited began diversifying its operations; a division which later became Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. In December 2019, Williams Grand Prix Engineering sold a majority equity stake in Williams Advanced Engineering to EMK Capital. 

Williams Advanced Engineering has grown from an embryonic business in 2010 to a company employing 350 people engaged in leading-edge and transformative technologies for a growing list of clients. The investment by EMK represented a natural next step in the evolution of the company, unlocking the potential for further growth. 

For more information see www.wae.com, follow on TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.