It goes without saying that everyone should have access to the empowering and exhilarating experience of jumping up and slapping the top of a door when you enter a room — but for many disabled people, that most basic human right is still quite literally out of reach. However, change is on the horizon- an amazing team of engineers at the California Institute Of Technology have developed a wheelchair that allows users to slap the top of a door frame when they enter the room.
Absolutely wonderful! This is a massive step forward for making our society more inclusive for those of us who are living with a disability!
The new wheelchair, which the researchers have named the “LayUp,” utilizes piston technology to launch its users up to heights that allow them to strike a door frame with satisfying ease, thus giving wheelchair users access to an indispensable experience that many of us take for granted. It can also be used to jump up and steal your friends hat, give high fives, and peek over fences. The chair is customizable, so users of all ages and heights can safely and effortlessly blast up into the air and feel like a total badass as they smack that sweet, sweet board.
“When I leap up and slap the top of a doorframe, I feel like Michael Jordan, and that’s a feeling that everyone should get to experience regardless of disability,” says lead Engineer Harry Kuo. “We hope the LayUp affords all people the essential life experience of feeling like Michael Jordan and having all their friends look at them and think, ‘Hey! Pretty cool!’ A world where wheelchair users cannot slap the same doorframes as able-bodied individuals is a less just–and less awesome–world.”
Kuo and his team believe the authenticity of the experience is key to its success. “It doesn’t always raise the user high enough to slap the door frame.” He explains. “That’s important. Sometimes, when you run full speed into a doorway and propel yourself aloft, your hand does not meet with that door frame. It’s a key part of the experience. We’ve programmed a complex algorithm that randomizes a failed attempt from time to time, because that makes the successful attempts much more special.”
Civil rights attorney and wheelchair user Elena Robertson says the lengths to which disabled individuals have to go to slap the top of a door frame when they enter a room is alarming. “The lack of access wheelchair users have to hitting the top of the door when they enter the room is, frankly, quite shameful. Some buildings have lifts that can raise a user up to slap the door frame, but these lifts are difficult to maintain, and frequently break down. They also generally can only be accessed by using a key, and good luck finding someone who knows where that is. There are some service animals that can do the job, but a Gorilla is expensive and not all insurance providers will cover them. So we beg strangers to help. All of that to do nothing more than enter a room and slap the door frame.”
The LayUp is still in testing and won’t be ready for the market for some time. “We’re so close. Unfortunately LayUp still has some bugs we need to fix. Sometimes the chair misreads the door height and launches the user way higher than it should. We haven’t used a human test subject yet, but the dummies we use go right through the ceiling, which is way cooler than just smacking the top of the door, but also far more dangerous, so we’re working to eliminate that bug. It’s discouraging, but we’re confident we’ll be able to fine-tune LayUp and deliver the sophisticated technology disabled people deserve.”
This is so exciting! We can’t stop applauding these incredible scientists who have worked so hard to address the glaring inequality the disabled community faces when it comes to absolutely spanking that sweet doorframe. There’s no doubt that the LayUp will improve the lives of wheelchair users in immeasurable ways, and we can’t wait until it hits the market!