People with a movement disability find many barriers when they want to access to the beach or the sea. The improvement of accessibility to beaches, together with the development of adapted assistive technologies solves this problem. Therefore, the Institute of Biomechanics, together with the company VIRMEDIC, developed under the Plan of Accessible Beaches of the Valencian Community, the MARINA-anfi chair, an amphibian chair that reduces the limits disabled people find when going to the beach.
Users and their assistants participated during the whole designing process. With their motivations and the experience of IBV in the assistive technologies field, the QFD (Quality Function Deployment) methodology was used to obtain the design requirements of the amphibian chair.
This lead to the development of a wheelchair that can be used inside and outside the water. The design was adapted to facilitate the access to the beach and its environment by disabled people and it permits to bathe in the sea without help. The basic characteristics of this wheelchair are the presence of floaters and the special width of its wheels. The floaters permit an adequate floating in the water, while the big wheels are necessary to move the chair in the sand, making its movement easier.
We would like to express our gratitude to Virmedic and the Project promoters Iberdrola and the Conselleria de Benestar Social of the Generalitat Valenciana.