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Smart wheelchair idea is going places as Phoenix Instinct scoops new awards' nod

By Donald Wilson

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Andrew Slorance is chief executive of Phoenix Instinct.
Andrew Slorance is chief executive of Phoenix Instinct.

AN innovative wheelchair design has caught the eye of judges in a national design competition.

Chief executive and founder of Phoenix Instinct Andrew Slorance, from Nairn, has seen the firm shortlisted for the Innovation of the Year accolade for its manual wheelchair conception at the sixth Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.

He said: “We are very excited that our new smart wheelchair is gathering so much interest. The world is ready for significant advancement in wheelchair technology.”

Phoenix Instinct, based at Forres Enterprise Park, won Toyota’s Mobility Unlimited Challenge in December with the Phoenix i wheelchair, which automatically adjusts its centre of gravity to ensure the user can be agile and stable at the same time.

The ultra-light carbon-fibre frame aids manoeuvrability, while the chair features a powered braking system which manages descents automatically.

Mr Slorance said: “We are still developing the wheelchair. The Toyota win gave the company $1 million of development funding.”

He added: “We employ five staff, and we are the only company in the world who make and sell wheelchair-compatible luggage.

“The pandemic has impacted the sector, but we are always developing new lines and opening new markets.”

Phoenix Instinct worked with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) on the development of the world’s first SMART, ultra-light weight, manual wheelchair.

The award winners are due to be announced as part of an online event on April 21.

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