The impossible has happened! Thanks to the immense support in crowdsourcing wheelchair accessible places on Wheelmap.org, 430,000 locations in the world have been marked. Many cities have seen their first mapping events and we’ve received donations for about 250 portable ramps. This supernatural growth of the map has recently attracted the attention of scientists specialized in the field of materialization.
In a highly complex experiment they’ve succeeded to Lego-lize Wheely, a little guy with a wheelchair who had existed as a 2D-figure in the Wheelmap logo before. By adding a third dimension, the experts made Wheely appear in our real, haptic 3D-life. Surprise – it’s a “brick boy”!
Wheely had registered to be a guinea pig to the brand new procedure. However, “materializing him into a three-dimensional Lego figure wasn’t that hard after all. I actually wonder why we haven’t tried earlier”, one of the experts admits after the successful experiment.
Thanks to modern technology Wheely has been equipped with the ability to communicate and can reply to some questions (in written form only, but that’s still something). Here we go.
Wheely, how nice you’re here, but where are you from?
Ouf, that’s hard to tell, even for me, but those clever guys wearing white gowns and spectacles… well, they kept saying something about bricks, tape, and how they were putting all of these things together. But I was distracted thinking about all the things I wanna do and see.
Cool, and that’s what exactly?
I’ve talked to the team of Wheelmap.org and they told me: Okay buddy, so now you’re here with us, get yourself busy and start examining your environment. We bet your perspective would be damn interesting to other people.
What you can’t see at first glance is that I’m only 5 centimeters tall. So my perspective is comparable to the one of two ants, when the first ant carries the second ant onto its shoulders. Besides, I’m bound to a using wheelchair, so I’m coming across a lot of barriers in my every-day’s life. And what is perceived as a barrier or not is often subject to one’s perspective: a high curb is no problem to a walking person but for a wheelchair-user and especially for me an edge of the pavement can become like the Mount Everest. That’s what we wish to document.
So, you want to raise awareness for barriers through this photo documentation?
Yes, that’s what I wanna do and maybe I will exaggerate the relations a bit in order to fuel the discussion. I’m already excited about the feedback of the first pictures. Of course, I also wanna have fun. And sometimes my small height also brings along some advantages. For instance, one Duplo can feed me one whole day and my colleagues in office are quite jealous about that. (laughing)
What are your plans for the future?
Woaaa, no need to hurry, I’ve just arrived! But I daresay I’d be really really happy if I would encourage some other Lego wheelchair users to send me their pictures showing their own environment and their own perspectives. Maybe I’ll travel around a bit, we’ll see. But any way, I’m happy to be part of some good projects. I’ve already donated some of the money I received for taking part in the experiment to Wheelmap.org
Is there a place on earth that you don’t want to miss visiting by all means ?
I’ve just read a book about how nice it is in Panama. And maybe I can leave the earth some time and travel in outer space?
Well, well, for now we’re pretty happy that you are here with us. Thanks for the interview!
Thanks for having me.