One of the most widely known automobile companies in the world is BMW. This company has continued to churn out beautiful cars year after year, and the quality of their products is tried and tested.
But now BMW is stealing headlines for something quite different. The company has decided to rethink what a Paralympic wheelchair should be like in order to provide the maximum amount of support and opportunity to the athletes using it. And it seems fair to say, BMW has really wowed folks with its current adaptation.
Moving Past an Era of Stale Design
Paralympic wheelchairs have long been pretty much the same as far as their core design is concerned. They appear to like specially designed wheelchairs, resembling tricycles. Most of the time, athletes bodies are accompanied with pieces of foam in order to ensure that they fit into their seats. The foam is also said to hinder racers from performing to their fullest.
The Time for Innovation
While, at first glance, BMW’s wheelchair looks pretty much the same as a typical model, there are subtle differences in design that add to the overall performance.
The new ride has been designed after carefully studying the 3-D model of an athlete sitting in a chair. This allowed the company to work out how they could effectively reduce the drag force that an athlete faces. They learned that almost half the drag created comes from the users own body. Knowing this, the company was able to cut the total drag by 15%, after simply making adjustments to the wheelchair’s frame.
Moving Past the Mainstream
BMW also decided to move past the typical aluminum frame found on most models, and opted for carbon fiber instead. A frame made out of good quality carbon fiber is sturdier and stronger than one made with aluminum. Choosing a sturdier frame mean the wheels will stay straight and the athlete won’t lose important speed as a result.
One of a Kind
BMW then went one step further, to custom-design each wheelchair’s seat for individual U.S. Paralympians. Each of the vehicles will have seats that have been carefully designed after thorough body scans of each athlete. The seats will be molded according to each athlete’s specific body type, and a perfect fit will be ensured every time. The athletes will also receive custom-designed, 3-D printed gloves for a perfect fit.
What does BMW wish to achieve through this innovation? Well, the revamped Paralympic wheelchair design wasn't just to wow people. It's aimed to help those incredible athletes that even in the face adversity, keep performing through their passion for sport. BMW looks to give these folks the equipment they need to ensure they don’t have to worry about design hindering their physical performance. The company is helping these incredibly inspiring athletes to focus on what they're experience, without their vehicle slowing them down.