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Diving Underwater in a Wheelchair

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In 2010, visual artist Sue Austin received a grant from Arts Council England’s Impact Fund that allowed her to transform her wheelchair into a propelled, finned, scuba-tank-outfitted craft suited for underwater exploration. She designed it so that she could move the foot pedals to control the fins and change directions. She unveiled a series of photos and videos showing off the creation leading up to the 2012 Paralympics. Though Austin's original motivation was artistic, outfitters have expressed interest in using the device for adventure-seeking clients. “We've had PADI [Professional Association of Diving Instructors]
course directors and very experienced divers saying they would pay to
hire it,” she told Digital Spy.

Austin has been in a wheelchair since 1996. In Tuesday's featured TED Talk, embedded below, Austin describes her
evolution from land-based visual artist to underwater performance artist.

—Joe Spring
@joespring
facebook.com/joespring.1

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