Lilypad Scales.

The conversation went something like this. 


I visited the website he shared...


So yeah. If you're in a wheelchair and can't stand on your own it can be pretty damn difficult to get your weight. 


From their website:

Keeping track of your body weight is an important part of maintaining health and independence. What is a simple measurement for most people is often impossible for a wheelchair user. They cannot stand on a bathroom scale and the industrial scales made for weighing a person in a wheelchair are hard to access. The scales are too expensive, too large and unwieldy to have in homes, and are rarely found in a doctor’s office. Wheelchair users are often asked to guess their weight and can go years without knowing the real numbers.

There are other options. They're just expensive and not available at most doctor's offices. 

Chart from Lilypad Scales.

Chart from Lilypad Scales.


I'm still thinking, no, really? It's that hard to find  a scale?

Googling around I found suggestions that broke my heart. 

There are a variety of ways. In most ways you need to know the weight of your wheelchair. You weigh yourself while in your wheelchair. You can go to a butcher who has enormous scales for weighing meat, a truck weighing station, a bariatic center, or the post office. If you can transfer and hold your legs up you can weigh yourself at the UPS or an airport luggage checking. If you can stand for a few seconds, you can stand on a scale and hold onto it while they adjust it to something close. Let go - see if it is accurate. Re-adjust. Let go again.

None of these are perfect - but they get the job done.
— Response on Yahoo! Answers
You can try sitting on the scale with your legs pulled up if you can, or have someone hold you in their arms and have that person step on the scale. Take the total weight on the scale and subtract the weight of the person that was holding you. Good luck.
— Response on Yahoo! Answers

Because I've never been in a wheelchair this problem never occurred to me. I am so excited Lilypad Scales exist to try to help solve this problem for people that face it on a regular basis. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I didn't have the nagging weekly reminder of what the scale says. 

With 2.2 million people in the US using a wheelchair for mobility, I can't believe this hasn't been more affordably solved before now. 

Bravo to Lilypad Scales for seeing a need and going for it. 

I'm talking about people who are designing for the fringe audience instead of the target audience for 30 days. If you know other companies like Lilypad Scales who are satisfying a need like this, give me a shout. If you're looking for some #fringedesign inspiration, check out the articles below.