Pottery Wheel-Chair

by برنامج فرصة - وزارة التضامن الاجتماعي

   Suhag, Egypt

Project By

برنامج فرصة - وزارة التضامن الاجتماعي


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Can you design a modern pottery wheel that chair users can operate?

A call for mechanical and mechatronic engineers, professionals and entrepreneurs to find innovative designs to enable paraplegic persons (Wheelchair users) to use their skills and artfulness to create pottery artifacts for a chance to win 20,000 EGP provided by the British Council (Developing Inclusive and Creative Economy Program) to implement the solution, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

This challenge aims to the creation of significant economic opportunities for people with disabilities in addition to supporting efforts to preserve this ancient craft from extinction. Please read the following for more details!


A potter's wheel is a machine used in the shaping process of ceramic ware and pottery. This machine does not only requires the use of legs but it also needs perfect hand-leg coordination which represents a challenge for people with paraplegia (Wheelchair users) as the wheel movement mainly depends on the potter’s legs. This dependence holds back many creative persons with paraplegia from using the wheel to express their art and create their artistic masterpieces, while wheelchair users have an extraordinary ability to maintain seating position for a long time, which enables them to create complex shapes and become more productive than non-wheelchair users.

Sendan Academy trains the visually impaired to weave baskets and to bead. People with hearing impairments are taught to weave carpets and rugs and make leather goods and they are looking forward to engaging wheelchair users in the creative industries building on the success of solving this challenge.

The Challenge

To design and manufacture an innovative pottery wheel that does not need the use of legs to operate to ease its use by wheelchair users. This machine should mitigate the production process to suit a wheelchair user and provide more convenient working conditions, increasing the wheelchair user’s income, and sustaining this ancient craft. The submitted design should fulfill the following criteria:

  • Eliminate the need for using legs during the production process

  • Reducing the physical effort and stress

  • Can be easily transported using a manual cart

  • Utilizes locally-manufactured and/or locally-available components

  • Low maintenance

  • Safe to operate


Reward and Conditions

The winner will receive a reward of 20,000 EGP provided by the British Council - Developing Inclusive and Creative Economy program to implement the solution, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, according to the following conditions:

  • The solution should meet the aforementioned criteria
  • The solution should be provided as a prototype design that serves as a proof of concept
  • The solution should include a clear plan of action including implementation stages, timeline, required tools/materials, estimated budget, and technical support required (if applicable).
  • The reward will be given in installments, in accordance with milestones set by the innovator(s) according to their plan of action.
  • Preference will be given to machines manufactured based on locally available components.
  • Machine functions and efficiency will be tested by the solution seeker before final approval.
  • The innovator/solver is committed to providing technical assistance to deal with any problems that may occur within the first 3 months after the delivery of the machine.
  • The proposed solution should include a user manual, instructions and a training plan for employees to use the machine

As per our platform Terms and Conditions, in case the intellectual property rights are not registered, the innovator should include the minimum details required to judge the technical validity and feasibility of the solution without full technical specifications.

You can submit a solution at any time. Before doing so, we strongly recommend you to read the rules and FAQs.


About the Program

This challenge is part of the collaboration program initiated by the Ministry of Social Solidarity (MoSS) represented in “Forsa” program and the main funding supporter is the British Council represented in Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies program (DICE) and implemented by Yomken.com. The main goal of the program is to discover and develop the contribution of PWDs in the creative economies focusing on their competitive advantages, through solving challenges and building social initiatives.

For more details about the program, watch this interview with Dr. Atef El-Shabrawy explaining the program.


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