Next Generation ‘Bugzi’ Scoping Research

What should be the priorities in the re-design of a paediatric power chair for a charitable loan scheme?

4 minute video about the Bugzi powerchair and MERU.

The MERU Bugzi is a powered indoor chair for children aged around one to five years. Bugzi is available free-of-charge to families through a charitable loan scheme, and offers a unique opportunity for pre-school children with disabilities to experience independent mobility, often for the first time in their lives. The original Bugzi design was developed over 15 years ago, and proved to be a success for hundreds of children across the UK, however, technology and needs had progressed since the original design, and years of insight enabled the identification of numerous ways to improve, upgrade, and develop upon the original Bugzi design.

A wall covered in sketches from the ideation phase of the children's wheelchair design
Skething external form ideas to accomodate various design features.

A series of literature reviews around stakeholder experiences and technological developments were carried out to identify design opportunities and gaps. Issues and problems with the exisitng Bugzi design were mapped through conducting various stakeholder and end user interviews, focus groups, observations and engagements. A range of product requirements and desirable features were identified through this research and validated through further engagements with stakeholders. After finalising a product specification, several distinct designs were drawn up to embody the features in different ways. These were then reviewed from a technical perspective and aspects from each of the concepts were combined to create one refined design ready for prototyping.

Zoomed in photo of an electronics motherboard  showing the wiring for a remote control emergency stop feature.
Rapid prototype of a basic emergency stop function on the parental controller.

The co-design approach to this project ensured the issues and needs surrounding Bugzi’s many contexts were accurately understood and addressed in the re-design specification. The new Bugzi design set out to be flexibile, adaptable, affordable, modular, sustainable, emotionally durable, personalisable and familiar.

computer rendering of a postural support seat for children, with bright green padding and adjustable knee blocks and foot rests.
CAD render of a postural seating unit with updated styling from Active Design.


Further details about the Bugzi wheelchair

For further information about this project, please contact Cara Shaw