Highlands & Islands

Scottish wheelchair inventor secures key funding

Phoenix Instinct wheelchair Image copyright Phoenix Instinct
Image caption The futuristic-looking wheelchair has been designed to reduce painful vibrations

A Scottish inventor has secured almost £400,000 in funding for his design for a wheelchair.

Nairn-based Andrew Slorance was paralysed by a spinal injury after falling from a tree when he was 14.

He has developed his wheelchair, which has been designed to be reduce painful vibrations to its users, through his business Phoenix Instinct.

The Toyota Mobility Foundation, in partnership with Nesta's Challenge Prize Centre, has awarded the funding.

Mr Slorance, who has spent years working in his design, was one of five finalists to secure prize money. The other winners were from the US, Italy and Japan.

The Scots inventor will use his award to help cover research and development costs.

Image copyright Alex Rumford
Image caption Andrew Slorance decided to design his own wheelchair when he was 16

He said: "I'm so pleased the judges recognised that the wheelchair has proved itself as the most viable mobility device for decades and although it has done well it is now tired and in need of a serious makeover.

"I wanted to show how I think the wheelchair can be evolved while maintaining its core, proven fundamental capabilities that are behind its success as a mobility device."

Mr Slorance added: "‏I wanted to be part of this challenge because I broke my back when I was 14 which was now 35 years ago.

"By the time I was 16, I'd decided that I would one day design a wheelchair that would change perceptions by using cutting edge materials and styling."

Image copyright Phoenix Instinct
Image caption The wheelchair is being developed through Nairn-based business Phoenix Instinct

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