Merry Lynn Morris is a dance professor at the University of South Florida. She is also an inventor. Morris believes that everyone should be able to dance, regardless of any physical disability, which is why she invented the Rolling Dance Chair. It is designed to disappear under the dancer with a clear seat, and it moves and rotates intuitively based on the dancer's body movements. Morris says it is an extension of the dancer much like any other prop or equipment that they use, rather than a burden.
Morris' father provided the inspiration behind the idea. When she was just 12 years old, her father Bill Morris was left paralyzed by a severe car crash. Throughout his recovery, she noticed how much he was stimulated by dancing, especially with her, but also how hard it was with his wheelchair. The Rolling Dance Chair is the result of a long design process, numerous research grants and the interest of a number of universities and tech companies. Developer Neil Edmonston, from a company called Vertec, believes that this innovative new chair is the future of wheelchair design, and the next step towards making the conventional wheelchair a natural extension of the user for more than just dancing, which is exactly what Merry Lynn Morris wanted.
For more information, read the full article by Stephanie Hayes at the Tampa Bay Times.