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glassesDIGITAL glasses that help people who have lost the use of their arms to use computers, and a new style wheelchair that goes up and down steps, have been crowned the winners of a “Dragons’ Den” style design competition.

The glasses, which uses Bluetooth to connect disabled users to computers, phones and televisions won the Best New Product title at The Blackwood Design Awards, which discover, and champion, innovative ideas to improve the lives of those with physical or learning disabilities.

Designer Mehmet Turker’s pioneering digital glasses – GlassOuse – has been made specifically to help those who cannot use a traditional computer mouse.

Mehmet said: “We entered the award scheme as we share its aim to enable disabled people to live as independently as possible through designing accessible products in a way that is pleasing to the eye.

“Everyone here has worked extremely hard to perfect GlassOuse. Though the headpiece can be used by anyone, we wanted to create something that would also make everyday tasks a lot easier for those who have suffered life changing injuries.

“We’re currently designing GlassOuse 2 and are very excited for what’s to come in the future.”

MEBot, a Mobility Enhancement Robotic Wheelchair, won the Best New Concept award.

The robotic-powered, six wheel wheelchair which has been designed to tackle both kerbs and challenging terrains, such as icy and slippery surfaces, as its large centre driving wheels can reposition themselves to simulate front-, mid-, or rear-wheel driving.

While traditional power wheelchairs can get stuck on difficult types of ground, MEBot uses its front and rear caster wheels to inch forward on slick surfaces.

It also has a seat stabilisation system which keeps people safely upright and can climb stairs.

The MEBot team, based in Pittsburgh, USA, will now receive a cash prize of £2,000 from BDA sponsor Kingdom Gas, professional support and guidance on design development from top product design company, 4c Design, and backing from business law experts.

Rory Cooper, leader of the MEBot design team and director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh, said: “The MEBot was inspired by wounded, injured and ill veterans who would like to do more than is possible with current wheeled mobility devices.

“We want to provide safe and expanded mobility and a design that is functional both indoors and outdoors.”

For more information on MEBot, visit: http://www.herl.pitt.edu/research/mebot

For more information on GlassOuse, visit: http://glassouse.com/