The Centaur
The Centaur fits into the space of a dining chair and its seat raises the user to eye-level.

Centaur Robotics, the company behind a self-balancing personal electric wheelchair, has won a major trophy at the UK’s leading accessibility awards.

The two-wheeled Centaur led the field in the Inclusive Guest Innovation category at the Blue Badge Access Awards held at the Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester recently.

Judge Michael Vermeersch, digital inclusion lead at Microsoft UK, described the Centaur as a “solution that gives back independence”.

“It touches a problem area that is indeed in need of innovation,” said Mr Vermeersch. “We can see the Centaur being used to transport people to their hotel rooms or for excursions during their stay.”

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The Centaur won in the category for innovative products which improve the quality of visitors’ experience in hotels and hospitality venues.

The Centaur award presentation
Eric Kihlstrom, chairman of Centaur Robotics, receives the Inclusive Guest Innovation award from Microsoft UK’s Michael Vermeersch.

Eric Kihlstrom, chairman of Centaur Robotics, said: “This is a really exciting time for Centaur Robotics as we are now taking pre-orders for the Centaur.

“I’m really pleased that the team’s hard work has been recognised, especially our mission to change attitudes and give people more freedom and more joy by creating desirable mobility products with better design and innovation.”

The Centaur fits into the space of a dining room chair, spins on a sixpence and its seat lifts the user to eye-level.

The Blue Badge Access Awards is a global initiative which aims to promote hospitality venues offering thoughtful, design-led accessibility. It brings together two major design competitions – the Bespoke Access Awards and the Blue Badge Style Awards – with the support of charity Leonard Cheshire.

Robin Sheppard, co-founder of the Blue Badge Access Awards and president of Bespoke Hotels, added: “It is crucial to make the hotel experience more joyful and inclusive for both disabled and non-disabled guests, designing and creating a place of beauty and practicality for everyone to enjoy.

“Although we recognise the hospitality sector still has a long way to go, we were delighted to gather together for an evening and pay homage to like-minded individuals who have produced or constructed an offering that strives to promote equality for all.”

Fiona Jarvis, chair of judges and founder of Blue Badge Style, said “We couldn’t believe the high standard of applications we received this year and are delighted to see that the hospitality sector is beginning to welcome stylish accessibility with open arms.”

In March 2022, Centaur Robotics announced that it was collaborating with not-for-profit housing developer, ExtraCare, to understand how retirement community residents can benefit from the use of the Centaur, while helping to provide an affordable mobility service option for its residents.

The firm, which was awarded a grant of £175,000 from the UK Government back in 2020, was also selected as a Pathfinder Project by the UK Government-backed Design Age Institute in January 2022.

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