There are so many new exciting wheelchair designs out there that we’re forever finding more examples of design concepts from the last few years. Not many are available to buy at the moment but it’s always good to keep abreast of the latest updates and to simply sit back and enjoy the style and creativity of the latest innovative models. Here are a few more concepts we’ve come across in the few months since our last update:
This extraordinary automated, self-balancing personal transport chair was entered into the Michelin Design Challenge by Mohamad Sadegh Samakoush Darounkolayi in 2011. Rather than running on wheels the Supple ‘ballchair’ has a single self balancing omnidirectional ball. As a recent Dyson vacuum has shown this gives you an increased ability to turn and manoeuvre and looks futuristic if impractical in other ways at the moment.
The HXC is inspired by the design of a BMX and was tailor made for extreme wheelchair rider (or ‘hardcore sitter’) Aaron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham. It’s not a huge leap from a traditional wheelchair design but the frame is all one piece, giving it extra rigidity, as well as multi-link suspension, with dual coil-over shocks. The designer had a working prototype back in 2010 which he sent to Aaron Fotheringham, and to Colours Wheelchairs, the company that made the athlete’s chair. However, there is now no trace of the HXC on the Colours website and Fotheringham uses a custom made Box Wheelchair these days.
The frame and mechanics of this wheelchair are pretty standard but the patchwork covering really stands out. The Sergio Calatroni Art Room in Milan customised the wheelchair for their Italian art director, Fabrizio Sclavi, a few years ago. The textile patchwork seat is really interesting and, although it may be a little loud for some people, in our opinion it’s very cool. It definitely gives the chair a bit of style and panache that it may otherwise lack.
The Muto is a concept for a funky wheelchair which can be folded up to a brilliantly transportable size. The wheelchair frame is made from a lightweight aluminium that not only appears sleek and streamlined when unfolded but has been engineered to safely accommodate loads up to an impressive 130kg. It’s a fantastic concept which we’d love to see go further. The only concern may be about the apparent lack of a footrest.
Speaking of footrests, this concept has a new approach with a Japanese kneeling posture being used rather than the standard sitting position. The model is called the Seiza and was designed by Vera Kunhartova. This new stance and positioning has many benefits including allowing the pressure to be transferred, which can bring a positive result on the user’s health (better blood circulation, activation of different muscles, etc.) and works positively for prevention of additional injuries (pressure ulcers, thrombosis, etc.).
The chair also looks really good too (like many of these chairs, opting for some bright green colouring) and has been going through lots of testing in the last few years. It’s not available to buy yet but hopefully it will be soon. It’s an innovative new design which could be really comfortable. It is something you’d want to test out and it’s a shame that it’s so difficult to try wheelchairs before you buy.
Finally for this update, Parafree is a sleek, minimalist wheelchair that offers a functional, stylish & sporty look. We’ve seen in many of these designs that green is the new black but the Parafree reminds everyone that black is still the original. This is very sleek and stripped back giving a modern and slick appeal. With one front wheel and a device at the back to prevent falling backwards, this design makes for a more well balanced and agile experience whilst looking cool too.
Once again we can see that wheelchair design is going places – designers love to solve problems in creative ways and the less able market is an ideal place to do that! Cross your fingers that at least some of these ideas make it to a more mainstream market soon!