Posts Tagged ‘food tray’

User-Centred Design and Wheelchair Hacks Top the Curriculum at NuVu

NuVu Wheelchair Lap Tray Team

NuVu Wheelchair Lap Tray Team

Creating a Wheelchair Tray

Described as an ‘Innovation Center for Young Minds’ NuVu offers education with a distance and students at this unique learning centre have been in the news thanks to their focus on user-centred design in some of their latest projects.

Based in Cambridge Massachusetts the students at NuVu were given a project focusing on the needs of their classmate, wheelchair user Mohammed Sayed. After a crash course in user-centred design and design for all principles the students had one task: hack Mohammed’s wheelchair to make it more user-friendly.

Students got to hear what Mohammed wanted from his wheelchair, with over 50 different wish list items considered, and in the end it was just two that were brought forward, conceptualised by his classmates and then prototyped to a condition in which Mohammed could test drive them.


Solving the Need for Speed


Vertical Handle for Propelling a Wheelchair

One of the ideas which reached the test driving stage was put together by a group who focused on Mohammed’s need for speed. An innovative gear and lever system, which locks onto one of the wheels of the chair (pictured) was the end result. By pushing the vertical handle forward, the chair too was propelled forward thus saving energy and effort which comes from the need to manually turn the wheels by hand. The lever itself was constructed using innovative 3D printing software and technology.

Wheelchair Lap Tray (Where have we heard that before?)

The second of the inventions piqued our interest as Mohammed told his colleagues he’d always wanted a handy place for his cup and his computer but hadn’t been able to find a suitable attachment to his wheelchair online. Fellow students designed a wooden wheelchair computer tray which slides into place over the arm rests of the chair.

NuVu Wheelchair Lap Tray Design

NuVu Wheelchair Lap Tray Design

The tray has been described as much like an aeroplane tray but it’s hinged with an opening within where space has been created to store an iPad, a book and conveniently, hand sanitiser. The pieces are designed to snap together and apart with ease.

The work of the students at NuVu is commendable, seeing any institute focus closely on universal design principles and ideas which can suit people with a range of needs is a real positive. However, the creations of the students are of course not available for general sale and can’t be enjoyed by other wheelchair users – they were designed as a class project. Instead, a viable alternative, at least for the lap tray, is our Trabasack Mini. Providing the same functionality as the NuVu students’ tray, you benefit from a tray and a secure bag in a single unit, which you can keep on your lap or hang from your chair when not in use. The universal design means it isn’t solely designed for wheelchair use so anybody can enjoy one.

We’d like to congratulate the innovative thinking and design ability of the students at NuVu and with talent like this, there is hope for even more user-centred design products in the future.

Find out more here


Trabasacks providing Access to the High Street

Trailblazers logo

Trailblazers Campaign Logo

Many high streets across the country are still not providing ample access and movability for wheelchair users – despite having had the Disability Discrimination Act and Equality Act now for 19 years. The Short-Changed Report, recently published by the Trailblazers Young Campaigners’ Network, suggests many young wheelchair users find access to the high street difficult.

Between narrow walkways in many high street shops (though reportedly more common throughout independent stores) and tables that are too low for a wheelchair to comfortably rest under, it appears some businesses have not considered disability access at all. But the Trabasack can make life easier, and work towards eliminating the worries that can often come with something as simple as enjoying a meal with friends.

Trabasack for the High Street

The Trabasack is a unique and multi-functional lap tray and wheelchair bag. Designed by a wheelchair user, disability access and ease of movement were considered at every stage of the development. Ideal for travel, shopping or even as a space to place your shopping list, this ergonomic design is ideal for various situations and can be used on a daily basis. The tray is lightweight and easily wiped clean, and is curved to fit your body comfortably in a sitting position. A bean-bag style cushion rests between your lap and the Trabasack, with a zip-up bag in the middle to keep your belongings safe and secure.

By strapping the Trabasack to yourself in its comfortable, lap tray style, you eliminate bags being hung from the side of your wheelchair, which can make it difficult to manoeuvre through narrow walkways and crowds of people. The zip-up bag compartment underneath the Trabasack tray can also be used to store items such as your phone, purse and any extras that you carry around with you, keeping them safely in front of you so that you know where they are at all times.

Trabasack as a Dining Tray


Trabasaxon Alan using his Trabasack as a tray when faced with inaccessible buffet tables at a hotel.

A common problem in restaurants is that the tables are too low to sit comfortably using a wheelchair, because the wheelchair simply won’t fit underneath. An easy way to combat this is to bring your Trabasack along to dinner. By strapping it to your waist you provide yourself with a handy and sturdy table, making any restaurant available to you, without having to worry about the height of their tables. Additionally, using the non-slip mat leaves you safe in the knowledge that glasses and bowls aren’t going to move when you do.

The Trabasack can be a life-changing addition to any wheelchair user’s life, providing you with a bag and a table wherever you may need one. Our products are designed to make life more accessible and our full range is expanding and developing regularly to include more products designed for all.

Check out this video which shows off exactly what benefits you can get from your Trabasack:


To purchase a trabasack visit our website to see the options available

Using Your Trabasack As A Wheelchair Food Tray

Using Your Trabasack As A Wheelchair Food Tray

As a wheelchair user you are probably more than aware of the problem of eating when out and about. In restaurants, pubs and cafes it can be very difficult to find an accessible table or surface that you can close enough to to eat from. It isn’t easy to eat without a level surface to rest things on. Unfortunately many pubs, cafes and eating places forget that at least one table should be slightly higher to make it easy for a wheelchair and powerchair user to get right underneath.

trabasack in Ireland being used at a restuarant table Follow Me on Pinterest


There are many occasions when wheelchair users find it hard to find a comfortable eating place:

  1. No tables available
  2. The tables that are available are inaccessible (too low/high or legs in the wrong places)
  3. The only available tables are upstairs and there’s no lift.
  4. The only free table is at the back of a crowded restaurant and you don’t fancy battling through!

Solve these problems with a Trabasack wheelchair food tray

These common problems are encountered daily all over the world by wheelchair users  but they can be solved simply with the aid of a Trabasack. Trabasack was designed by a wheelchair user (Clare Edwards, as pictured) and has won many awards for it’s stylish design and functional ‘Design-for-all’ concept. Used as a wheelchair food tray it is a great way dining out conveniently and comfortably, so that you can get on with life, despite the negligence of cafe and restaurant owners who should provide better access!

With a Trabasack food tray comfortably eat or drink from your tray on your lap without having to worry about finding a table or fitting under a table with your friends or family. You can be attend social events without the worry that you will not be able to reach or get under a suitable table.  You are able to attend and eat your meal or enjoy your drinks from the stylish, ease of your Trabasack food tray.

Previous to using your Trabasack, the danger of scalds and burns was much higher as drinking a hot coffee or eating a hot meal without a proper surface to rest it on is extremely dangerous but by using your Trabasack, you can rest your drink or food as and when you need to. It has a small bean bag inside it that makes it level and stable on your lap as well a purpose designed PVC tray top surface for food and hot drinks. It can also be carried and used as bag. There is room inside the bag space for preferred cups, water bottle, cutlery or splints – anything that you like to carry to make eating out easier.

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Trabasack is highly recommended by many other wheelchair users and described as the “best invention ever” by one reviewer on Amazon. It’s a fantastic innovation which has really added an extra ease to many people’s lives and makes things a lot simpler whilst out and about. Blogger Markinsutton says the only regret he has regarding his Trabasack is that he didn’t buy one sooner! When trabasack creator Clare Edwards forgot her trabasack at a pinic table and mentioned it on twitter, Mark immediately tweeted:









@ never leave home without my Trabasack
Mark Mayer

Using your Trabasack as an innovative wheelchair food tray is a great way of eating out socially or eating whilst on to go.

Trabasack: a testimonial from one of our first customers

Trabasack: a testimonial from one of our first customers

On YouTube you’ll find a video from Dr. Mark Edworthy who was one of our first customers to buy the Trabasack back in 2009. In this video Mark discusses exactly how useful his Trabasack has been and exactly why he “would be lost without it”.

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The Trabasack is an inventive and original lap tray which doubles as a bag and has become extremely popular amongst wheelchair users for a number of reasons. Mark describes the Trabasack as “unique” and says he’d “never seen anything like it” and also has found it “incredibly useful” in the two years he’s had it.

With its multifunctional use as both a tray and a bag Dr. Mark describes the surface as “beautifully flat…which I can use for writing or even put a mug of coffee on” and also notes it has “proved to be pretty indestructible for the two years I’ve had it.” This is a great testament as Trabasack’s truly are designed to last and if yours does need a wash, you can simply put it in a regular machine at 30 degrees and it’ll come out as good as new.

As a wheelchair user, Dr. Mark explains how he can use the extra straps of the Trabasack to attach it to his chair when travelling and then when getting on and off trains via ramps he does not have to worry about it sliding off or getting lost. Throughout his travels Mark uses his Trabasack to carry his laptop and notes and finds it “quick to access” due to its “easy to use zips”.

Using your Trabasack as a food tray

Fascinatingly, Mark has found another use for his Trabasack over the years, one which we may not have envisaged previously. He discusses the common problem of going out to eat in restaurants as a wheelchair user and how many restaurants simply aren’t designed with accessibility in mind. However with your Trabasack in tow, Mark explains how you “can put the plate straight onto the Trabasack, no fuss, simplicity”.

Dr Mark considers his Trabasack essential and as mentioned says “I would be lost without it” which is a true sign of exactly how useful and valuable your Trabasack will become once you’ve bought it.

Wheelchair laptray testimonial

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