Technological advancements could enable wheelchair users to stand up to reach high objects, zoom around on sandy and snowy landscapes, power up hills without an assistant and even climb stairs. Lightweight materials like carbon fiber, user-friendly adjustable components, seats customized to the user’s body measurements and electronic features like LED lights, collision sensors and built-in heating systems make these mobility solutions cooler and more functional than ever.
3D printing technology can customize the dimensions of a wheelchair to a specific user’s body measurements as well as giving them a choice of colors and additional components. The appearance can be specified with an app, and the finished product could be delivered in two weeks. “With the Go Wheelchair, we saw an opportunity to really progress the manual mobile category for users with disabilities, and to use 3D-printing technology to solve significant and meaningful problems,” says designer Benjamin Hubert of Layer.
Ultra-Tough Carbon Fiber Wheelchair
“I felt what wheelchairs were horrible medical devices, and couldn’t understand why companies didn’t advance their wheelchairs in the same way bike companies did with their products, says designer Andrew Slorance, who suffered a spinal injury at the age of 14. His desire for a better-looking, higher quality chair led him to create the ‘Carbon Black,’ which adds a lot of bike-like functionality including an optional LED system for night time travel. Minimal and lightweight, the wheelchair is made of carbon fiber and can be quickly and easily dismantled and reassembled for travel.
Off-Road Wheelchair for Adventurers
No sandy shore or snow-covered field is off limits when you’re in the Ziesel, an off-road outdoor mobility solution with 4-season rubber tracks and a high precision joystick. Made for exploring cross-country skiing tracks, hiking trails, beaches and dunes, the high performance chair by Mattro even has a fully automated heating system and can transport heavy loads on a trailer.
With flexible wheels that adapt to a variety of ground conditions, the lightweight and durable polyurethane Transformable Wheel can climb stairs and handle other rough terrain. While this design is just a concept, it’s an intriguing take on multifunctional wheelchairs that give users more independence.