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AddSeat: “It’s a joy to sell and a joy to make”

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AddSeat is a gyro-based wheelchair helping disabled people access spaces out of reach to conventional wheelchairs.

Launched in Sweden 2012 by paralympic goal medal skier, Marit Sundin, AddSeat is now sold across the UK, EU and US.

AddMovement CEO, Mike Redford, says:

“Marit really wanted to get around on a Segway. But obviously, with no legs, she needed to have a seat, hence the name, AddSeat.”

The AddSeat’s driving control system enables the user to navigate tight spaces and explore off-road terrain, from forests to snow-covered grass.

But, for many users, the AddSeat’s appeal comes from the freedom to enjoy those day-to-day experiences that many able-bodied people take for granted.

Mike says:

“If your child plays Sunday football and you want to go up and down the grass and shout at the referee, with AddSeat, you can!”

One New York-based AddSeat user can finally get on the subway and enjoy Central Park. Not just the footpaths, but also on the grass.

A woman in Alaska looks after several horses on her farm in harsh conditions.

She is on her second AddSeat, and drives around in the snow, enabling her to do her work with fewer restrictions.

Mike recently spoke to a customer in Sweden about how the AddSeat has not only improved her life but her partner’s, too.

Mike says:

“She was so happy that she could go to [Swedish island] Gotland. The area has loads of cobblestones that a wheelchair would normally struggle with.

“She used to get a taxi from the hotel to her favourite restaurant 150 metres away because it was such hard work. With the AddSeat, she and her partner can go together, hand-in-hand.

“And after they’ve eaten, she can go shopping in one direction and he can go in the other direction. Before, they’d have to be together all the time.

“Now they can enjoy more independent lives.”

With its cool, customisable design, AddSeat is a talking point wherever it goes, helping to open up conversation between the user and those around them.

Mike spoke to one individual who was often frustrated as people tended to just talk to her, while ignoring her cousin in the wheelchair chair. Her cousin buying an AddSeat has changed all that.

“She felt really good because now with the AddSeat, her cousin was being noticed and talked to,” Mike says.

“And because of the adjustable height of the AddSeat, conversation happens much closer to eye level, which in turn changes how people perceive you.”

AddSeat has a very diverse range of customers with all sorts disabilities. The technology can be adapted to user needs and preferences, which can often change over time.

Clients with MS, for example, may initially use a standing Segway, but then find the need for a seated one.

The AddMovement team encourage potential customers to try AddSeat for themselves. If they like it, great. If not, that’s fine, too. What is important is that the customer ends up with something that is right for them.

Mike says:

“It’s a joy to sell and it’s a joy to make.

“When we get letters from customers who are thankful for what we’ve done in developing this product and getting it out there… it’s just absolutely fulfilling.”

Mike is excited to build on the success of AddSeat with a new project now underway.

The team is working with Innovate UK as part of its healthy ageing programme, where they will launch an all-new company and develop a new chair.

Mike can’t say too much just yet, but the chair will appeal to a broader range of customer and an ever-growing user-base.

Mike says:

“We will take a lot of the aspects of the AddSeat that people really love and build from there.

“It’s small, compact design, variable height… all the things that people love about what we’re doing now but targeted at a broader church of customers.

“We’ve already done some work with one university in the UK and we’re going to be doing some more work with another university.

“Next year, we plan to move our research and development to the UK and eventually manufacturing as well.”

Find out more about AddSeat at addmovement.com

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