The Worlds Wheelchair Culture
  Beneficial Designs: Improving access for people of all abilities

Paralinks recently discovered Beneficial Designs, a unique and forward thinking organization. Below is a partial list of what they are involved in.

Our Mission

Beneficial Designs works towards universal access through research, design, and education. We believe all individuals should have access to the physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life. We seek to enhance the quality of life for people of all abilities, and work to achieve this aim by developing and marketing technology for daily living, vocational, and leisure activities.

Our Work

Beneficial Designs develops assistive and adaptive technology, performs rehabilitation research, contract design, legal consultation, standards development, and serves as a rehabilitation information resource.

Adaptive Recreation Equipment

After sustaining a spinal cord injury, Peter Axelson founded Beneficial Designs in 1981 to manufacture his Arroya Sit-ski design. Many Beneficial Designs devices, including hand controls for manual transmission vehicles, and a piano pedal pusher operated by the abdominal muscles, have been inspired by Peter Axelson's desire to reestablish the physical, intellectual, and spiritual balance in his own life.

Peter Axelson's zest for outdoor recreation has led Beneficial Designs to specialize in the development of a variety of adaptive recreation equipment, including mono-skis, cross-country snow skis, a wave ski for surf kayaking, and ultralight aircraft modifications.

To help wheelchair users maintain optimal hand/arm condition and flexibility, Beneficial Designs has developed a dynamic rowing machine to exercise the upper limb muscles that oppose normal wheelchair pushing.

Rehabilitation Research & Development

At Beneficial Designs, we develop assessment systems and devices to give people the information they need to access a variety of environments. This work includes developing the Universal Trail Assessment Process to obtain and deliver access information about outdoor recreation trails, and designing devices and methods to objectively measure surface firmness and stability, characteristics that impact accessibility.

We also develop technologies to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. This work includes designing, building, and testing innovative wheelchairs, ergonomic wheelchair back support shaping systems, and devices to assess hand strength that serve as clinical tools to research hand, arm, and shoulder overuse injuries common to manual wheelchair users.

Design Consultation

Beneficial Designs offers comprehensive design and consultation services to manufacturers and developers of new rehabilitation products. Complete production facilities and skilled technical support permit us to receive a concept, develop it into a design, fabricate a prototype, and conduct product testing until a technology is ready for manufacturing....

Beneficial Designs Web Site