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The Magic Carpet prototype

An alternative to a motor vehicle that provides wheelchair users with a fast, efficient and independent mode of travel.

An overview of the Magic Carpet prototype, shown in action by Roark Design founder, Tom Carr.

A vehicle to more independence on rural properties

Something Roark Design founder, Tom Carr has been considering for a while is how, as a wheelchair user, he can better access his property and the local area.

If you asked Tom what he misses most as a paraplegic, he would answer the lack of spontaneity in his life. In this context its transfers which act as a psychological barrier - he tries to avoid them and therefore doesn’t nip out with the dog when he has a spare moment.

The solution

Tom has considered off-road wheelchairs on the market, however considers them to be a sub-optimal solution for a number of reasons. Hence developing the Magic Carpet to address their shortfalls by providing the following solutions:

  • It eliminates transfers which degrade one’s shoulders and take time.

  • It reuses the wheelchair which is carefully prescribed and fitted typically at great cost.

  • It enables the user to bring their wheelchair with them, important for access to toilets, restaurants, houses etc.

  • The concept has a higher degree of redundancy as if the contraption breaks the user has their wheelchair with them.

  • It's fast, spontaneous and fun. Disability equipment that is slow makes users feel more disabled - in Tom's opinion this is the biggest problem with disability equipment. 

  • It's stable up to 35 degrees in any direction.

  • As a wheelchair user off-road wheelchairs are difficult to transport from A-B requiring trailers or vans. Why not ride in something that is fast and safe?

Image of ocean and bushland
Quotation marks

I have this idea that if you are in a device that's slow and cumbersome, it will make you feel more disabled than you are. But if you're in something that is fast and empowering, it will make you feel less disabled than you are.

Tom Carr, Roark Design founder

The proof of concept

When thinking about usability Tom likes to build a prototype to test, as it allows him to see if he uses the product as much as he envisages, and asses how well the workflow is designed.

This Magic Carpet prototype is what Tom has been using for the last few months. Its proven invaluable, he can take the dog for a run, access sheds and his neighbours effortlessly.

Future versions will be electric to reduce the noise, as well the addition of seatbelts and roll hoops.

Featured in the media!

Roark Design’s Magic Carpet prototype has been featured by ABC news, diving into detail about how the Magic Carpet is empowering Tom in his day to day life. Read the article here.

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