The world’s first 3D printed wheel chair also has super grippy gloves.
LONDON-BASED company Materialise established LayerLab this year to investigate new applications for emerging technologies and materials with the potential to improve meaningfully the quality of life.
LayerLab’s inaugural project is the GO, a made-to-measure 3D-printed consumer wheelchair that has been designed to fit the individual needs of a wide range of disabilities and lifestyles.
Before design started, the studio interviewed dozens of wheelchair users and medical professionals to establish how to remove the stigma associated with wheelchairs as medical devices, and create a more human-centred vehicle over a two-year research period.
Philip Hudson, MD of Materialise, said the wheelchair is an excellent example of the use of 3D printing to offer mass customisation and personalisation of products.
“An integral part of the Materialise ethos is to develop meaningful applications of 3D printing that have a positive impact on individuals’ lives, and the GO wheelchair is one of those projects with great potential,” said Hudson.
The custom form of the seat and foot bay is driven by 3D digital data derived from mapping each user’s biometric information. The resulting wheelchair accurately fits the individual’s body shape, weight and disability, to reduce injury and increase comfort, flexibility and support. The GO app allows users to participate in the design process by specifying optional elements, patterns and colours, and to place orders.
During development of the GO wheelchair, the studio learnt that a primary concern of wheelchair users is the strain involved in self-propelling. LayerLab developed the GO glove to increase the level of grip between a rider’s hands and the wheelchair’s push rims. This enables the user to lock into the super tactile push rims of the GO wheelchair and this delivers a greater power-topush ratio, which lowers the risk of injury common to wheelchair users. — WR.
LayerLab’s GO is a made-to-measure 3D-printed consumer wheelchair that has been designed to fit individuals’ needs.
LayerLab developed the GO glove system to increase the level of grip between a rider’s hands and the wheelchair’s push rims.