We are always on the lookout for new wheelchair designs as well as prototypes that are getting closer to reaching the market. Recently we have noticed a few awesome wheelchairs that have been making headlines all over the world.
The Olympic Wheelchair
A few months back, we wrote about how the German car company, BMW was going to help U.S. Paralympic Athletes by developing a new racing wheelchair for the RIO 2016 Paralympics. At the time it was just a prototype, but now the wheelchair is ready for the races (pictured above).
The chair is made entirely of carbon fiber, is lighter and is more durable and aerodynamic than any of its predecessors. Each athlete will also have a custom-fitted seat and a pair of 3D-printed gloves that are made just for them.
The Standing Wheelchair
It’s no secret that sitting in a wheelchair all day can cause a lot of discomfort and further health issues, doctors and researchers have been trying to remedy this for years. Now, a new wheelchair is in the works (created by a VA Health Care System team right here in Minneapolis!) that allows the user to choose whether they want to be sitting or standing as they pilot the chair.
The chair is a prototype that uses a hydraulic support system that allows users to change positions whenever they want. This can help wheelchair users maintain muscle mass in their legs, prevent blood clots and feel more comfortable while in their chair.
The 3D Printed Wheelchair
Speaking of 3D printing, it’s no secret that we love what the technology is doing for the disability communities. We write about it from time to time. From new spina bifida treatments to hand drives and more, 3D printing experts have been a great asset to mobility technology.
If we could manufacture our wheelchair accessible vans using a 3D printer, we probably would.
The latest mobility device to come off of a 3D printer is a new consumer wheelchair, designed and created by London-based industrial designer Benjamin Hubert and the design team at his company, Layer.
The wheelchair is a first of its kind because it is set to be available to general consumers (as opposed to previous 3D-printed wheelchairs made for athletes and custom jobs). The sleek, more modern design is not the chair’s only benefit. It also eliminates unnecessary parts, making it lighter and more easy to transport.
Which of these three wheelchairs are you most excited for? Are there any other wheelchair designs that you have seen make headlines? Join the conversation by commenting below!