With all the latest innovation of the world people are using the knowledge of 3Ddesign and 3D printing to ease lives of disabled people around them. For example, e-Nable’s global network of maker volunteers will be using the 3D printing technology to create prosthetic hands for children. Most recently a London based Studio Layer, which is led by the designer Benjamin Hubert has disclosed its new designs for a wheelchair that integrated 3Dprinting technology and made to measure detailing. It is named as te “go wheelchair” and its prototype was developed as a result of a six-month period where the studio initially stared their research alongside the wheelchair users and people in the medical field.
Layer as a design studio founded by the industrial designer Benjamin Hubert, dedicated itself to making products that not only fills the gap between the digital and physical worlds but also take human experience to a whole new level. The Go wheelchair prototype, set to debut at Clerkenwell Design Week later this month which will take place later this month from May 24 to 26. Layer believes in improving the everyday life of the users to give them a meaningful and joyous experience and cut back on environmental impacts. Taking into account all of the above facts the Layer team has ventured into the realms of assistive devices and have created an innovative wheelchair design.
The main aim of the team at Layer is to improve the life of wheelchair users and the design uses innovative mapping system to trace each individual’s biometric information which is later 3D printed. About the project Benjamin Hubert explains, “with the go wheelchair, we saw an opportunity to really progress the manual mobility category for users with disabilities, and to use 3D-printing technology to solve significant and meaningful problems. 3D printing for manufacture is the most appropriate and powerful technology available to capture each individual's unique body shape to enhance the form and format of a very necessary product and provide exceptional performance.” Traditionally only athletic or specially designed wheelchairs use such kind of customization, hence the Go wheelchair can prove to be a breakthrough across the wheelchair marketplace.
The project go wheelchair was collaboration between the Layer design team and the wheelchair users, and many other professionals from the medical field. Most importantly in order to improve the lives of the people in wheelchairs the input from people in wheelchairs was very much crucial. Many challenges they faced included, self-propelling their wheelchairs in wet conditions, this would inherently influence the studio to craft lightweight carbon-fiber spokes which would be installed onto the seat’s wheels. Moreover the designing team has built and innovative wheel surface which can be easily locked into custom made gloves, that decreased the risk of injury to hand and ensured safety while riding the wheelchair.
The Go Wheelchair which is manufactured with collaboration to the 3D printing service Materialse is made from many materials. The customized seat is printed in a semi-transparent resin and thermoplastic polyurethane plastic (TPU) to provide shock absorption. The foot-bay can be customized and is made from a strong titanium material. Whereas the two castor wheels will support the structure and the go wheelchair also has handbrake with an easy access lever. Apart from Layer, British inventor Sam Pearce has also created a shock absorbing wheel designed to help users around uneven streets and rough terrain. Layer has also developed an app for the Go Wheelchair which will allow users to making special requests before they purchase their wheelchair. It gives the user the choice of colors and additional components, the finished product can be delivered in two weeks.