Award-winning bike seat gets amputee back in the saddle

Zara sits on bike at Brighton with Chi and Anna either side

Article by: David Millett

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Our Product Design students Chi and Anna have won the RCA Helen Hamlyn Fixperts Award 2023 for their innovative, bespoke bike seat that enabled their amputee client to ride a bike again.

The Helen Hamlyn Fixperts Awards is a prestigious international competition, with entrants from over 50 universities in more than 20 countries. It champions human-centred design that positively impacts people’s lives.

Chi Hoang and Anna Eerdmans' award-winning project saw them create a bespoke bike seat for their client Zara, a leg amputee.

Due to the nature of Zara's amputation, she has only bone and tissue on her right side. This can make sitting extremely uncomfortable – even painful. Any friction or pressure can cause long-term bruising, so she needs extra padding to prevent injury.

Working closely with Zara, Chi and Anna went through various design iterations to ensure that the seat fit met her particular needs.

Their final solution was a hammock-style seat affixed to a trike, enabling Zara to ride around Brighton. The specialised trike was awarded in a grant with the Douglas Bader Foundation.

Trike Seat for Zara

Mathew Brown quote

Zara smiles sitting on the hammock seat on a trike

Zara on a trike

The seat with Zara and Anna

Zara and Anna with seat

Zara rides her trike

Zara on a trike 2

The pair worked on the brief as part of their first-year BA (Hons) Product Design module ‘Ergonomics, Empathy, and Inclusion’, which tasks students with identifying a client and creating a solution to help them achieve something they currently struggle with.

Course leader Mathew Brown said: “This project was a great learning curve for both students who have recently commenced year 2 of their studies.

“A big thank you and acknowledgement to Phil Nutley (Ravensbourne alumni product designer) and Emma Yates from Mima who collaborated on the project and helped the students to deepen their understanding of human centred design.