Benjamin Hubert, an industrial designer based in London with Layer, his design company, will present a 3D printed wheelchair for the 2016 Clerkenwell Design Week. They have developed the Go Wheelchair together with Materialise so that users can customize the 3D printed wheelchair for their everyday use. For six months, the team had worked with wheelchair users, specialists, and doctors for them to come up with an improved design of the traditional wheelchair. They are hoping to change the perception of people about a wheelchair. They want it to become a consumer device that they can personalize according to their needs instead of considering it as a medical device.
The Use of 3D Printing in Creating a Wheelchair
3D printing offers a lot of benefits to disabled individuals. It allows different products to be customized in order to suit needs of the users especially for people with disabilities. Remember that there are different types of disabilities which mean the limitations and needs of each person differ with each other. With 3D printing, they have already created prosthetic limbs that can be obtained at a lower cost. Assistive devices are also presented cheaper than the traditional prosthetics. Despite the fact that 3D printing was already used before, this is only for the custom build and athletes and not for everyone.
Hubert and his team focused on the usual complaints of wheelchair users when creating the Go. Through body-mapping process, they came up with a customized wheelchair that will be perfect for the weight, height, and measurement of the user’s body. They will use the data in order to improve the support and comfort that the wheelchair can give to the user. It will alleviate the stress, pressure, and injuries that their body can feel. The seat of the wheelchair will depend on the user’s weight.
What Users Can Expect from The Go Wheelchair
The wheelchair has an appealing look and not just a boring medical device. The design of the wheelchair aims in eliminating unwanted components so it will become lighter compared to the older designs. Because the weight of the wheelchair was reduced, there would be lesser pressure for the user that will keep them away from injury and arthritis.
The wheelchair has lesser struts because of using lightweight titanium and doesn’t look outdated and bulky because the footbay was replaced by slim titanium. In order to keep the user’s feet in place, they have created an anti-slip surface for the wheelchair. The wheels also have lightweight carbon fiber that helps in reducing weight and with a high-grip push so it would be easier to control and push the wheelchair even in wet areas.
The ergonomic seat of the wheelchair has two different materials that were 3D printed, a resin which is semi-transparent and a thermoplastic polyurethane plastic. Because the wheelchair is lightweight, you can also stop it easily. The Go wheelchair is more stable compared to the older wheelchairs because the user can access the hand brakes with ease.
The Layer Company is planning to launch a new application that will allow people to customize and design the chair. They can choose what color they want and add other features and accessories. They can also order the wheelchair using the app that will be delivered to them within 2 weeks.