UK start-up joins Spotify, Google, Disney+ in award accolade

A British built self-balancing wheelchair which helps protect users and staff in the care industry from diseases like coronavirus has won a prestigious design award.

The Centaur was singled out by US technology and design magazine Fast Company in its annual Innovation By Design awards.

The revolutionary two-wheeled personal electric vehicle restores users’ dignity and independence and has a small turning circle and a seat that rises to eye-level.

Developer Centaur Robotics joins Spotify, Google, Disney+ and others in the roll call honoring products which solve problems using great design. 

Take a bow…

The Centaur was designed by Paul Campbell, former chief of global design at Ford Motor Co, and will be on the market by the end of this year.

Enhance people’s lives as they age

Care homes and retirement villages are excited about the role the Centaur will play in reducing the transmission of viruses like Covid-19. Residents can use the Centaur to move around with minimum interference from carers, reducing the amount of contact. Collision avoidance software will further enable social distancing. The Centaur will also be made of coronavirus resistant materials.

Mr Campbell said: “We’re really pleased to have been recognized by Fast Company magazine. The Centaur shows there is an elegant solution to the challenge of mobility in old age. It has intelligent software – a kind of brain – revolving around the needs of the user and their families.

“The Centaur will enhance people’s lives as they age and has been designed to give users a sense of dignity and their loved ones peace of mind.”

“A thing of beauty”

The awards, which can be found in the October/November 2020 issue of Fast Company, recognize people, teams, and companies solving problems through design. One of the most sought-after design awards in the industry, Innovation by Design is the only competition to honour creative work at the intersection of design, business, and innovation.

The Centaur’s honourable mention in the health category is not the first plaudit for the revolutionary machine. The newly-launched Design Age Institute, set up by the UK government to stimulate the longevity economy, said the Centaur is “designed to be a thing of beauty”.

Institute director Colum Lowe said: “You don’t feel like you are using a disability aid. What interests the Design Age Institute about the Centaur is that it will provide users with more dignity, more freedom, more life and more joy.”

Fast Company is a monthly American business magazine published in print and online that focuses on technology, business, and design. It publishes eight print issues per year.