This silver coin, minted around 400BC, depicts a play, by the Greek tragedian, Aeschylus.
It shows an actor with a withered leg, sitting on a wheel. It looks like a wheelchair, but has wings.
It is a divine, winged wheelchair, capable of ascent.
The actor, in supplication, wears an expression of equanimity. With outstretched arm and open hand, he releases a bird.
The bird, carrying hope, flies to the future. And on its journey, comes to rest with us, today.
Riding a bicycle is faster than walking. But wheels are useful, only some of the time.
We live and move about in a complex, three dimensional world. Legs provide movement in all directions: up, down and across. Wheels only travel across.
So if someone loses the ability to walk, why do we think a wheelchair is the answer?
Wheelchairs only work where a network of smooth paths is provided. The rest of the world is inaccessible.
Most buildings in the world have steps and stairs. Fewer have elevators.
Consequently, people in wheelchairs have no access or only partial access, to many buildings. They cannot live in them, work in them, or visit people inside.
Able-bodied people have full access to buildings. Wheelchair users do not.
Over decades, building regulation in Australia has improved wheelchair access to large buildings, e.g. hospitals and office towers. But many small buildings remain difficult to access.
For example, as a wheelchair user, your own house may be modified to be accessible. But unless everybody else’s house is accessible, it is like living on an island.
A stair-climbing wheelchair provides equitable access to all buildings. That is why the Orbilift is being developed.
Full access to normal life, is a person's natural right. But is achieving it for everyone, including wheelchair users, an impossible dream?
Setting foot on the moon was once unthinkable - until someone invented the rocket. Then we got there.
Providing full access, to the environs of normal life, was unthinkable - until someone invented the Orbilift.
Aeschylus dreamt of a fairer world. Now we have the technology, to achieve it.
END OF SECTION 4
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