Wheelchairs of the Future

While some scientists are focusing on creating ‘bionic body parts’ to negate the need for wheelchairs, others are reworking the old formula in weird and wonderful ways

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We’ve all been there. Sometimes your tools are just not tough enough for the demands. While this may look like the brainchild of some overzealous mountaineer, it is a bonafide all-terrain model. The tank-inspired wheels give its owner all the grip it needs to conquer streams, mud, snow, sand, and gravel. It may be a tad imposing in Morrisons though…

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One of the main drawbacks of wheelchairs is that you’re stuck in a sitting position. Who wants to have all their conversations on a face to crotch basis?! Mighty impressive suspension and snazzy colour scheme aside, it screams ‘poorly disguised Dyson’ to me. But then again, perhaps that’s the USP? Vacuuming and mobility solution in one!

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This is the creation of Dave Cochrane and Thomas Ross, students theUniversityofStrathclyde. Admire, if you will, its ergonomic design and modern colour scheme. Marvel at the hubless design and cheer for the rear wheel as it provides a delightfully tight turning circle. But if all that isn’t enough, this beaut has an iPhone voice-controller system. Pretty cool.

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I know what you’re thinking – this isn’t a wheelchair, it’s a work of art. But you are wrong my friends, oh so very wrong. Still a concept at the moment, this plastic creation is a shapeshifter. The wheels alter between circles and ellipses to make climbing stairs and slopes easier. And you thought the only shapeshifter worth knowing was Ben 10. Hang your head in shame.

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This is a concept we’ve seen before (see Dyson disguise) but on a shinier, more minimalist level. With sexy, barely-there wheels and a noticeable lack of gadgetry, this little number would make Professor X jealous. No lie. And it’s made from titanium to give it extra superhero points.

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Believe it or not this wheelchair was designed after dedicated feedback from wheelchair users. Who knew they wanted a paired-back dentist chair?! But seriously, this concept model is about creating a ‘oneness’ between man and machine. Balancing on a single gyroscopic wheel, it looks just a tad unstable for me. Like an armchair on a unicycle. Now there’s a thought…

 

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Now this has me a little confused. Is it a car or a wheelchair? Or a complex amalgamation of the two? Could you drive it on the road? Do you need a license? How the devil do you get in and out unaided? How much wax would you need to keep that lustrous shine? WillToyotapay for the pyramid of wine bottles you inadvertently knocked over with the weird tail/third wheel? The questions are endless.

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Ah, what a jaunty man, on his way to work with a devil-may-care attitude. And why wouldn’t he? With both hands free for phone and briefcase he’s the king of the pavement, towering above mere mortals on their two flimsy legs. It combines the convenience of an electric wheelchair with the sheer unadulterated joy of a segway. As pairings go, this surpasses Sonny andCheror even, wait for it, Bert and Ernie. Maybe.

But with all this creativity flowing like an untamed river, it’s no surprise that one or two budding inventors found themselves out of their depth. There are hundreds of crappy wheelchair modifications, but I choose to share with you just this one.

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Even without the helpful subtitling it’s clear that not all cylinders were firing in this trip to the laboratory. The innocuous garden chair has been ruthlessly hacked apart to create this monstrosity. I bet it’s not even comfy. Shame. Shame on you hapless inventor.

 

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