National award «The Chrystal Compass» is the first award in the sphere of national geography, ecology, preservation and promotion of the natural, historical and cultural heritage of Russia.
Nominees can be domestic and foreign public organizations, scientific and educational institutions, enterprises of various spheres of activity, as well as independent initiative groups, public figures and other private persons. Winners are defined in 11 nominations, each of which assumes high achievements in the field of national geography and ecology, preservation and promoting of natural, historical and cultural heritage of Russia. The main goal of an award — to find and support those who sincerely respects and loves Russia, and protects its environment. There are individuals, the enterprises, scientists and public figures — all whose example, whose activity can show new causes to be proud of the Homeland.
This year, Igor again takes part in «The Crystal Compass» national award with his invention in the category «The best socio-information project». His self-propelled underwater wheelchair «Barracuda» allows people with disabilities to learn diving, safely and comfortably control their diving and moving underwater on a par with other divers.
In 2015, he had already implemented his own «Victory Over Himself» project on the first single trans-Russian hitchhiking expedition in a wheelchair across the Russian cities of military glory. For this trip in 2016, Igor Skikevich received "The Crystal Compass " national award for the first time. Igor Skikevich dedicated his journey to the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. In spite of the restricted movements, he has hitchhiked more than 20 thousand kilometers, spent 168 days on the road and visited more than fifty cities from Sevastopol to the town of Yuzhno-Kurilsk.
Since that time, Igor has been working on the development and implementation of projects to develop paratourism in Russia. He examines the tourist routes accessibility for people with disabilities in different regions of Russia, directly participating in the routes. Igor conducts motivational meetings, lectures, seminars, survival lessons, master classes on tourism, lessons on courage and patriotism. He promotes a healthy, active and creative way of life.
Its hard to believe that 10 years ago Igor Skikevich survived clinical death three times and was completely paralyzed. The verdict of doctors: «You will be bedridden toward the end of your life…» Permanent physical exercises based on his own rehabilitation techniques helped Igor to strengthen the right muscles and increase the range of movements. Now, being confined to a wheelchair, he is doing things that would be seem impossible to a normal healthy man: makes parachute jumps, descends to the bottom of the ocean, climbs up in the mountains, invents new products.
The self-propelled underwater wheelchair was created by Skikevich in 2016. And today it is already can be used by any disabled person to make underwater journey. His invention aroused the public’s interest in many countries. According to the designer, «Barracuda» wheelchair can be used in therapeutic scuba diving, underwater fishing, archeology, photo and video shooting, sightseeing tours to places of sunken shipwrecks and for other purposes.
«The parts of the wheelchair are easy to pull apart and re-assemble. It takes just five minutes. And the stroller can again be used for the purpose intended. Each wing of a wheelchair withstands a load of more than 100 kg. And in case of emergency, the underwater wheelchair, together with the pilot-diver, pops up even with the engines switched off, told the inventor. The uniqueness of the underwater wheelchair is also that it can be controlled by a person with complete paralysis of the lower extremities or without legs. The construction of the wheelchair provides for prompt and effective ballast adjustment, depending on the weight of the pilot, and you can learn how to operate the wheelchair under water in just one or two classes. Girls with disabilities, especially wheelchair dancers, have shown great interest in this design to perform amazing dances under the water. Taking into account the numerous letters and requests from people, a special overwater wheelchair for children is being created on the basis of this model.»
Following the results of 12 days of voting, the project has already collected more than 800 votes, becoming the leader in its nomination. If the project wins in the nomination indicated in the application, Igor Skikevich has chances to receive a unique «Geographical Oscar» and become the only two-time winner of «The Crystal Compass», that previously no one has ever succeeded at this in Russia. Igor hopes that thanks to the victory his invention will be launched into mass production and help other wheelchair users to plunge into the fabulous underwater world.
The voting page for the project "Self-propelled underwater wheelchair «Barracuda» created by Skikevich in the nomination «The best social and information project» is here: rus-compass.ru;
You can vote every day until April 30, 2018 (you must wait a full 24 hours before you can vote again).
Description of the underwater wheelchair: http://rus-compass.ru/projects/5188/
Demo Video Tests: https://youtu.be/w2UMFSakAjo
Travelers website: http://skikevich.ru/
Prepared by: T. P. Chaychenko, Head of the Scientific and Educational Department and Igor Skikevich
Photos courtesy of Igor Skikevich