One day, British industrial designer Benjamin Hubert thought that the conventional wheelchair can be so dull and uncomfortable to patients. He did not take the troubling idea sitting down and went on to develop a viable alternative: 3D-printed wheelchairs.
And why 3D-printing? Because it offers easy-custom designs that could fit to patients upon request. Hence the maximum comfort.
Through his design company called Layer and with the help of wheelchair users and medical professional, the 3D-printed wheelchair they call Go wheelchair was made possible with 3D digital data to map biometric information. This setup provides flexibility in designing the wheelchair based on the individual’s body shape, weight and disability.
It is described by the London-based company as a “tool to improve the quality of life of wheelchair users”.
Hubert said in one of his interviews that this object performed better, decreased injuries and expressed the individual’s sense of style, movement and emotions, setting it apart from the conventional wheelchair.
For example, a patient with spinal injury can prefer a wheelchair with a taller seat, while a patient with a missing leg can choose to have a more balanced mobility device. That’s possible with Go.
A Go wheelchair has shock-absorbing seat made from a semi-transparent resin and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) plastic. It also has a foot bay made of titanium.
The entire design is optimized to keep the best center of gravity of the patient.
Patients are involved in the making of wheelchair through an app, which is a world’s first. They are asked to specify optional elements, patterns and colors to create the best wheelchair for them.
“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,” said Hubert.
Previously, Hubert was making signature designer furniture for a living but felt that he could so much more social impact, hence putting up Layer.