Creating the Spectacle Part 1: Finding Freedom
Previously, previously, previously, previously.
I don't know that it misses the point of a chair. If you're paraplegic and want to scuba dive, then you're going to need some form of assisted movement still. While you could use one of those underwater podules with propellers, there's still the inconvenience of transitioning from chair to water. Why not just roll into the water in your amphibious wheelchair instead?
Next you'll want it to fly, too.
If this wheelchair transformed into something streamlined with the wheels behind covers like James Bond's Lotus Esprit there wouldn't be any question about it being cool and awesome and not missing the point at all.
Of course, a wheelchair that actually transformed into anything, really, no matter whether it's practical or not, winds up in the "win" column regardless.
If, instead of having its propellers mounted underneath, this chair even had powered rear wheels with propellers on their hubs, that just rotated out and back for propulsion in underwater mode, even abled people would want one. 'Cos hey: Transforming powered chair submersible!
Where's your essay, Esex?!
Hmmm. I wonder how many times you've seen a picture or a video of say, synchronized swimming or underwater ballet, and you've asked why the women don't just shave their heads and swim naked, which would be way more efficient than having long hair and costumes. Oh wait, you've probably never asked yourself that, because you've been taught culturally that long hair and costumes is an acceptable part of any woman's identity.
Many disabled people view their wheelchair as part of their identity, even as an extension of their bodies. That's what makes this so cool - she's just shown the world there is one less barrier to where SHE can go. ALL of her - not just a part.