Underwater wheelchair flies through the liquid blue

Artist Sue Austin explores the underwater kingdom with a modified, self-propelled wheelchair capable of sublime submarine acrobatics.

Sue Austin in underwater wheelchair
Sue Austin flies through the water. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Wheelchair-using British artist Sue Austin can fly... underwater. In a series of live and film events called "Creating the Spectacle," Austin uses a modified wheelchair to move gracefully about in the blue.

Austin is challenging the perception of wheelchairs with her creation. According to BBC News, the wheelchair is fitted with two dive propulsion vehicles to propel it through the water.

A clear fin extends around the sides of the wheelchair, giving it the look of an ethereal, industrial fish. Swimming floats add buoyancy to the standard National Health Service-issued wheelchair. Austin uses scuba gear to breath underwater.

As you can see in the video, the wheelchair works wonderfully. The only issue so far has been rust. Austin is contemplating a titanium-framed version to combat the problem.

The underwater wheelchair explodes the notion that wheelchairs are vehicles of limitation. With her hair streaming like seaweed and the wheelchair motors humming, Austin is a perfect melding of worlds.

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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