University of the West of England

This project is designed to undertake research into data-driven design and fabrication of low-cost, patient specific wheelchair seating for the use in developing countries.
The project will develop and test data-driven design and fabrication methods for patient-specific wheelchair seating for developing countries. Research will focus on the development of new methods for accessible, affordable and non-invasive methods for patient data gathering to drive digital-assisted fabrication of bespoke wheelchair seating that will offer improved comfort, stability and support. The project will draw on expertise in human-centred design from UWE’s Product Design staff as well as CFPR’s extensive expertise in digital design and fabrication, in particular seeking to utilise digitally driven upholstery foam shaping methods and also 3D printing with elastomers. The project would also draw on occupational and physiotherapy input from UWE’s Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences.
External partners collaborating on the project include Bristol-based wheelchair manufacturer Motivation (, a UK charity with over 25-years’ experience in providing wheelchairs for developing countries, and Bristol Composites Institute, part of the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering, with specialist expertise in lightweight structural and functional materials. Motivation will offer monthly meetings with the student, funding for travel to a project site with its design team (approx. value £2,000) and a contribution of £1,000 pa for three years for materials and prototyping.
The Centre for Fine Print Research has extensive digital fabrication equipment including a 6-axis robotic arm. Experience of relevant technologies and software will be an advantage.
For an informal discussion about the studentship, please contact: