Project Details

Client: Rio Tinto

Date: April 20, 2014

We present the future sport of Ice Rowing, a sport that harnesses the biomechanics of rowing and the combined strength of an athlete’s legs, back and arms to create a powerful stroke. Paralympians of varying
disability categories would form teams of complementary abilities to compete against each other as equals. What if Paralympians were known for their abilities rather than their disabilities?

About the project

Rio Tinto Sports Innovation Challenge aims to inspire students to create new sporting opportunities ranging from equipment through to radical new sporting events and competition models to facilitate active lifestyles for all people.

This 5-week project was a part of the Rio Tinto Sports Innovation Challenge exhibition at the Imperial College in February 2014.



1. Interviews

We started by conducting interviews with 5 olympic athletes, to identify different innovation opportunities.

2. ideation

We developed a unique cross-disability sport, that enables athletes to compliment each other, instead of relying on guides.

3. prototyping

We engineered and built a working prototype, which we fitted with wheels so we could test it on the streets.

After a series of interviews with different athletes, we started working with Millie Knight, a 2014 Paralympic Skier for Great Britain. Her visual impairment requires her to train and compete with a guide, an experience she enjoys because of the social dynamic. While she enjoys skiing with her guide, we discovered that Millie resorts to training off the slopes by rowing – a sport that exercises the entire body using a rhythmic stroke that replaces the need for a guide. Could we create a sport that maintains that social nature and allows visually impaired athletes to compete without a separate guide?

Building the Ice rower


Goldie Chaudhuri, Sheana Yu, Tian-Jia Hsieh, Morten Grønning

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