Support 2012: Ground-breaking

May 13, 2012

The ground-breaking trade fair for people with a physical disability - Support 2012 - took place in the Jaarbeurs exhibition centre in Utrecht from the 9th to the 12th of May. Diverse foundations and providers of healthcare products attended the Support trade fair and even specialists in holidays for people with disabilities were present. A number of Spark’s clients were prominent among the exhibitors.

Spark clients
ThyssenKrupp Encasa presented the StairWalker stair aid and received an enthusiastic response from visitors. It was a real crowd puller and one of the visitors said that he thought the stair aid looked ‘cool and sleek’. The StairWalker was tried out by both visitors with limited physical function and therapists. Lopital demonstrated the simple and electronically operated Reflex shower-commode chair. Optelec was present with the ClearReader+, a reading device for the visually impaired that was nominated for the Support Innovation Prize

StairWalker ThyssenKrupp Spark Support beurs  Optelec ClearReader+ Spark Support beurs 

Innovative products
There was a definite pattern of exhibitors demonstrating more innovation in the areas of technology, interaction and ergonomics than in design. The public came to Support 2012 specifically to try out the products and to discover what they are still capable of doing in spite of their disability. There were many wheelchairs, but also stand-up shower chairs and hoist lifts. Of particular note was a wheelchair with roll support in the form of a small motor, comparable with the technology of an electric bike. 

Trend: aesthetics
There are many products on the market for people with a physical disability that should work really well, but often don’t look good. In recent years, aesthetics have become more important, because disabled people don’t want to be stigmatised and want to participate fully in society.

The fact that the user has more of a say in developing products was reflected in, among other things, the possibility for visitors to the trade fair to share their ideas about innovations. Their ideas were developed on the spot in the mobility workshops.

StairWalker Levant ThyssenKrupp Spark Support beurs

Click here for a photo montage of Support 2012

Read the comments of visitors on Twitter here

Read the jury’s opinions of the products nominated for the Support Innovation Prize here

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