Olivia A, a wheelchair user from California says, “I have been independently shopping and doing chores for all my adult life, and I learned to ‘make do’ with the inconveniences of having to carry things one-handedly, while controlling my wheelchair with my other hand.”
Diana Perkins, Chloe Rosenberg and Hannah Mintz, the founders of Includesign, decided that wheelchair users like Olivia should not have to ‘make do’ with such daily inconveniences. Working on a project with a professor at Brown University, these students created the LapSnap™ as a way to aid wheelchair users with the struggle of carrying several items while grocery shopping. Formerly LapSnap LLC, the founders established Includesign as a way of introducing LapSnap™ to the market. With the Covid-19 pandemic putting a halt on in person user testing, the innovative team of students conducted dozens of virtual interviews, analyzed user feedback through online check-ins and surveys and distributed prototypes to wheelchair users across the United States for a four month trial. What soon became evident is that beyond grocery shopping, the LapSnap™ made doing laundry, gardening, cleaning, even transporting pets a lot easier and self-sufficient for wheelchair users. In the words of Olivia, a LapSnap™ user, “there was a sense of relief and freedom having a convenient platform attached to me that makes it easier to shop and do household chores.” The founders began by participating in Brown’s 2020 Breakthrough Lab Accelerator, and since then the company has been featured in Providence Business News and been named one of RI Inno’s top 10 startups to watch in 2021.
The incredible team at Includesign announced the launch of their Kickstarter campaign beginning on May 13 until July 12, 2021. The campaign’s goal of $10,000 will be used to commercially manufacture LapSnap for the first time. Backers of the campaign can choose to buy a LapSnap™ and have it donated by Includesign’s partner, RAMP (a Rhode Island 501(c)(3) non profit).
A design firm rooted in principles of inclusion and providing accessibility through product development, Includesign envisions a world where individuals with disabilities are both independent and prioritized. Working through collaborative processes, the team plans to continue creating more products that help the disability community, including a smaller version of the LapSnap in the near future for children and individuals who use a walker.