DIGITAL glasses which assist people who have lost the use of their arms and a wheelchair that is able to negotiate steps have been crowned the winners of a “Dragons’ Den” style design competition.

The Blackwood Design Awards – which champion new and innovative ideas to improve the lives of those with physical or learning disabilities – took place last month at the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre. Nine shortlisted inventors pitched for the top spot.

MEBot, a Mobility Enhancement Robotic Wheelchair, was named best new concept, while GlassOuse, which uses Bluetooth to connect disabled users to computers, phones and TVs, won best new product title.

MEBot is a robotic-powered, six wheel wheelchair which has been designed to tackle both kerbs and challenging terrains, such as icy and slippery surfaces.

It also has a seat stabilisation system which keeps the driver safely upright and also stair climbing ability – which is ultimately what set it apart from other designs.

The MEBot team – based in Pittsburgh, USA – will now receive a cash prize of £2000 from BDA sponsor Kingdom Gas, professional support and guidance on design development from one of Scotland’s top product design companies, 4c Design.

Rory Cooper, who led the MEBot design team, said: “The MEBot was inspired by wounded, injured and ill veterans that would like to be able to do more than is possible with current wheeled mobility devices. We’re very excited to have won.”