3D printing has really come a long way and promises to be the future of manufacturing and production. It's probably only a matter of time before most if not all of the things we use will be 3D printed. And this technology may not only be limited to objects ranging from decorations to more complex pieces like automobile or machine parts, but could even be applicable to organ and body part replacements like artificial kidneys and livers or limbs.
Benjamin Hubert founded a design agency called Layer, which is involved in the design of applications as well as the manufacture of smart home appliances, wearables like watches, and various consumer goods, among other things. They collaborate with other companies on some of their products.
They've already started collaborations such as these with a few projects like office panels, which reduce noise. They've also developed a wearable prototype that looks like a Fitbit ,which helps keep track of your carbon footprint. And now, Benjamin's latest endeavor is a prototype 3D-printed wheelchair, which would be the world's first. This project is developed together with Materialise, a 3D software company and services provider.
A lot of research has been done to come up with the best possible experience and outcomes for all types of wheelchair users, as well as to improve their quality of life. The wheelchair prototype, also known as GO, will be launched during the Clerkenwell Design Week kicking off May 24 in Clerkenwell, London.
The GO Wheelchair: a glimpse into the future
According to Benjamin, 3D printing will be the perfect technology to manufacture and produce the GO wheelchair. And why shouldn't it be? With 3D printing, it's easier to make complex designs and manufacturing takes a significantly shorter time to complete.
Through the interviews that the company conducted, it was determined that a lot of wheelchair users experience health complications like arthritis, as well as mobility issues like maneuvering on wet surfaces, for example. For these folks, it's kind of like using a pair of shoes that don't really fit. In the long run, one is bound to encounter problems.
Now, for the first time ever, wheelchair users may have the opportunity to get their own tailor-made custom wheelchairs in an unprecedented and super efficient way. Biometric measurements can easily be taken and applied into 3D data that allows for the design and manufacture of more ergonomic wheelchairs. So in the not-so-distant future, users can enjoy both form and function.
Aside from promoting better overall health and wellness, these futuristic wheelchairs promise to look cool as well. There's even an app that involves users in the design process by allowing them to personalize their own wheelchairs, choosing different colors and other options. Also through the app, orders can be made and wheelchairs can be delivered in less than fourteen days.
The wheelchair frame, as well as the foot bay is made out of lightweight titanium. The wheel spokes are constructed of carbon fiber and the push rims are easy to grip. The seat uses TPU and semi-transparent resin for better comfort and shock absorption.
Will the GO wheelchair really be the game changer that it promises to be? Only time will tell. But there's no denying that things are looking good for the vision of Benjamin Hubert's.