Lifestyle & Belief

Underwater wheelchair propels through the deep blue sea (VIDEO)


British artist Sue Austin has created an underwater wheelchair propelled by jets.


Freewheeling/Norman Lomax

An underwater, jet-propelled wheelchair will make its debut in London this week.

The rather practical-looking device is part of an exhibition and performance by British artist Sue Austin, who is herself wheelchair-bound.

On her website, Austin decribes (in the third person) with the clarity like only an artist can, what the exhibition, "Freewheeling," is about:

“Over an extended period of time her practice has operated as a vehicle to open up a thinking space around the materiality of the wheelchair."

"This is being used as a metaphor to raise questions about the value of diversity to society through raising the profile of ‘difference’," she goes on to say.

The wheelchair, powered by two dive propulsion devices and steered with a fin, was created with funding from Arts Council's Impact Scheme in the UK, said the BBC.

It was designed with help from engineers and dive experts.

"When we started talking to people about it, engineers were saying it wouldn't work, the wheelchair would go into a spin, it was not designed to go through water - but I was sure it would," Austin told the BBC.

CNet reported that the only problem has been rust, which has Austin considering the contruction of a titanium chair.