In 2005, Morris approached the USF College of Engineering about designing a wheelchair that was propelled by the user’s body. After experimenting with Segways at the university, a firm in California built an entirely new prototype chair that incorporated all of Morris’ design ideas. Morris engaged in an intense collaboration with the company to bring the chair to fruition. Her work with dancers with and without disabilities helped shape the chair’s technological and aesthetic design. Pensacola developer Neil Edmonston has been working with Morris on the programming of the chair since it arrived at the university.
I met Morris in 2014 at the USPTO Smithsonian Innovation Festival, where Morris and her chair were featured. Following, Morris explains why she created the wheelchair, the process she and her collaborators have gone through in the research and development of the chair, and why the wheelchair is so important.