It is a working concept model co-created by Yamaha Motor and musical instrument company, Yamaha Corporation. Designers contributed ideas and technologies from their respective companies to create a “ridable musical instrument” reminiscent of a white sailboat and a 1/8th musical note. Based on the award-winning JW Swing electric wheelchair, slim drums are mounted to the wheels together with a drum-shaped battery case, and the TLF (Thin-Light-Flexible) Speaker doubles as the “sail” and note’s flag.
Electric wheelchairs bring greater mobility to those with disabilities, but the image they carry is still one of function over form. Designers from both Yamahas came together to create &Y01 to overturn this conventional image with a design that blends form and function. The result is a wheelchair quite unlike any other.
The image for &Y01 is a small white sailboat that allows its pilot to sail freely through the waves, with blue LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) atop the sail-like TLF Speaker and in between the wheels symbolising the water. However, when viewed from a short distance away, the overall silhouette becomes suggestive of an eighth note in a musical score, with the TLF Speaker as the flag, and stem and the wheels as the note’s head. As Yamaha Motor is a major manufacturer of marine products and Yamaha Corporation is world-renowned in the music industry, this design device visually connects the images of both companies.
Yamaha’s technological know-how as the pioneer of the electrically power-assisted bicycle was put to full use in creating the JW Swing wheelchair that is the base product for &Y01. The JW Swing allows users to operate it as a conventional wheelchair but with a helpful power-assist from the electric motor. The delivery of the assist is very smooth and helps with up slopes while also inspiring an emotional response that can make users of any age, gender, nationality or disability feel like breaking into song.
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Japan
Yamaha Corporation, Japan
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