About Us

Our Story

About Designability

Designability is a national charity that creates innovative products and services with and for disabled people, removing barriers and helping them to live with greater independence.  

Borne out of a partnership between the Royal United Hospital and the University of Bath in the 1960s, our charity is best known for our pioneering Wizzybug Loan Scheme which provides free, fun, powered wheelchairs called Wizzybugs to very young disabled children across the UK. But that isn’t all that we do.

Person-Centred Design

Our expertise in person-centred design helps us create products and services with and for disabled people. By involving disabled people across our organisation and throughout the design process, we deliver choice and create innovative solutions to everyday problems that enhance lives.

Person-centred design is at the heart of all of the work that Designability does. This means that we include disabled people at all stages of the design process.

Our Story

Designability, formerly known as the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME), was established in 1968. An independent charity founded by renowned inventor and engineer, Bevan Horstmann, and consultant surgeon, Kenneth Lloyd-Williams, the charity’s purpose was to create medical equipment that would make a difference to people’s lives.

Since we first began, we have created over 300 products, improving the lives of more than 300,000 people; from the bottom wiper which has enabled over 94,000 people with limited mobility to be independent in their personal hygiene, to the day clock, enabling over 18,000 people with dementia to know the time of day in a simple way. Our world-leading early years powered mobility service, the Wizzybug Loan Scheme, has helped over 1,400 disabled children across the UK to be independently mobile, often for the very first time.

We’ve also pioneered research into the needs of disabled people which are not fulfilled elsewhere and the application of new technologies for disabled people, which have resulted in new products, services and new ways of thinking about assistive technology.

What's next?

We’re not stopping there! The current focus of our work is on enabling disabled adults and children with physical impairments to be independent. Visit our What We Do pages to find out more about what we’re working on now.