Working with Formula 1 race car manufacturers and employing aerospace materials, a Swiss firm has developed what they claim is the world’s lightest wheelchair, with a frame weighing in at just 3.3 pounds.
Significantly lighter and stronger than typical high-performance carbon variants, Kueschall employed graphene (which can be hundreds of times stronger than steel and significantly tougher than diamond) to lighten the load while making the machine more durable.
“A single layer of carbon atoms, tightly bound in a hexagonal lattice” was at the heart of the engineering strategy. Why bother to make even lighter models? The firm points out that over half of wheelchair users end up with upper body damage over the years. Aside from the materials, “in order to ease these chances the wheels have been positioned in closer proximity to the user which helps to increase propelling efficiency.”
Industrial designer and project leader for the company, Andre Fangueiro, worked “to perfect the driving performance of the Superstar. The wheelchair features an X-shape geometry with road dampening properties that provides an increase in performance and agility by responding rapidly to every movement. It also features a bespoke backrest with the possibility for a tool less adjustment, and a tailor made seat with an integrated seat cushion to also help optimize propelling performance.”