Skip to comments.Scuba Diving in a Wheelchair is Now Possible for The Handicapped (Must See Video)
Posted on 09/04/2012 1:09:18 PM PDT by OneVike
The world is getting smaller and smaller every day, and in the last 30 years it has even become smaller for those who are limited to wheelchairs due to crippling injuries or birth defects. In the three videos I offer for your viewing, you can see British artist Sue Austin as she navigates underwater in a swimming pool and around a coral reef in the Ocean using a specially designed wheelchair.
Sue Austin, is a British artist who has been disabled since 1996. Sue has created her own style of artistic expression she calls "Freewheeling". Before her new found fame with her scuba diving wheelchair, Sue was best known for the controversy she sparked in 2009 when she painted white lines around the city of Plymouth. The underwater wheelchair work, dubbed "Finding Freedom," is part of her larger Freewheeling project.
"My studio practice has, for sometime, centered around finding ways to understand and represent my embodied experience as a wheelchair user, opening up profound issues about methods of self-representation and the power of self-narration in challenging the nexus of power and control that created the 'disabled' as other."
This unique wheelchair can take those who are limited in their ability to get around, due to paraplegia or other debilitating disabilities, into the water for a ride they could only dream of until now. There are two hydrofoils made of acrylic formed into a U-shaped design reminiscent of stingray wings attached to the footplate which go up and down, and an inflatable dive wing on the back of her chair which is connected to two cylinders to give the buoyancy needed. To be propelled through the water, there are power buttons on either side of the chair which are connected to two propellers underneath at the back which Sue works with her legs.
According to SmartPlanet, the design originally proved challenging since most propeller models rely on hand movements, but Austin lacks the strength to maneuver them properly. So the team modified the heel plates into fins and tweaked the seat to cope better with underwater pressure. From what I understand, it would be an even easier design the wheelchair so that the chair can be controlled can by a persons hands. be for individuals who cannot move their feet legs.
Susan almost didn't get her wish, because the engineers told her the design of a wheelchair would make it impossible for it to glide through the water. Instead, she was told, it would just simply spin out of control. However, she had her heart set on wanting to modify a standard-issue wheelchair from Britain's National Health Service (NHS) because it "is one of the most ubiquitous images of disability" and she wanted the project to leave "a legacy of attitudinal change" in regards to the public perception of the disabled.
That was then, now Susan is traveling the world with the chair and even had front stage at the 2012 Paralympics in London. She has been making waves with a series of performances and film screenings of "Creating the Spectacle", a theatrical video (video above) of her navigating the deep waters of the Ocean in her underwater wheelchair.
The wheelchair has patents pending and is already making a splash outside of the art world.
This wheelchair diving thing is totally cool. I want one for my wife.
That’s cool. They must have put a lot of time into making that wheelchair.
Now, thanks to the ADA, scuba diving will be a civil right.
A lot of time and a huge grant from the British government of arts.
Sadly we as a raced will never last if the government is the entity that spends other peoples money for a few to enjoy the ocean.
Mind you, my wife is a paraplegic, but I still think this is the kind of stuff best left to be done by private sector money.
Obama will try to top this with a high speed underwater train from L.A. to Portland.
True. I was just commenting on the engineering aspect of it. It’s cool to see what can be accomplished.
He’ll more likely promise one for every person who live in New Orleans because he cares more then Bush ever did.
What with the kind of love Democrats have for their constituents, they will likely all me too old and feeble to enjoy the upgraded New Orleans the Democrats keep promising, so it’s more likely they will all get these chairs to ride out the hurricanes that hit every 10 to 7 years.
Can’t you feel the love behind all the broken promises?
A very stupid idea.
With the BC adjusted correctly, you are weightless anyway.
Why strap yourself to a wheelchair. When you get in trouble, you are going to die!
Handicap Diving is a good idea, just not strapped to an anchor.
That is SOOOOOO cool!
“Incredibly dangerous” was also my first thought.
The weight of that wheelchair is going to swing like a pendulum at neutral bouyancy.
Pretty certain paraplegic scuba diving is not even a novel concept, this guy has been diving as a paraplegic for 27 years: http://paraplegicscuba.blogspot.com/
Quite an amazing guy. Fortunately for him he didn’t have other injuries that kept him from doing the things he does.
Auto accidents can be horrific in many ways. My wife broke her back in two placers, at the T-6 & T-11 levels. At the higher brake, T-6, her spine was completely severed, while the lower brake, T-11, was just partially severed. Had her T-6 been partial, she would have much more mobility then she does, but because the T-6 is completely severed the fact that the T-11 is partial means nothing. The messages from her brain never get past the T-6 break.
She also shattered her right shoulder, which left her limited in her ability to use her right arm as good as she would have otherwise.
As for me, I survived with nothing but scratches and a bad back, but considering that we went of a 30 ft embankment on an old country road going 5o mph we are both blessed to be alive. the drive never survived, she died instantly from broken neck.
25 years later I am now beginning to have numerous troubles in my back and neck due to spinal troubles, but unlike my wife, I can still walk. So the lord is good.
Anyway, to see the lady in the chair and the guy in the videos you gave me the link to is quite inspiring for anyone to behold. I would never take anything away from either of them, because they are both living their lives in a way that proves a very miniscule number of people are truly in need of government help.
Which puts the lie to need for a cradle to grave government. I see my wife do what she does, and I see what these tow do, and I really get pissed when I see perfectly able humans whining that they need government assistance of any kind.
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