Benjamin Hubert’s London studio Layer has unveiled the world’s first 3d-printed wheelchair. The GO wheelchair prototype is the first project under Layer’s new research division, LayerLAB, and has been created in collaboration with Materialise, world leaders in 3D-printed software and solutions.
The GO wheelchair is the result of intensive research with dozens of wheelchair users and medical professionals conducted by Layer over a six-month insight gathering period. During this time, the studio investigated how to remove the stigma associated with wheelchairs as medical devices and instead create a more human-centered vehicle to improve the everyday lives of users.
Layer listened to wheelchair users’ wants and needs whilst consulting with medical professionals to translate those stories and frustrations into insights that could be used to transform the wheelchair as we know it. The GO wheelchair is made-to-measure, lightweight, and highly functional. It has been designed to t the individual needs of a wide range of disabilities and users, and is a tool to improve the quality of life for wheelchair users.
The design of the GO wheelchair comprises two made-to-measure elements – the seat and foot-bay – combined with a number of standard GO wheelchair components. Both of these customisable components are created using 3D-printing manufacturing technology so that they accurately fit the user’s body and disability to reduce injury and increase comfort, exibility, and support.
The first step when creating a new GO wheelchair order is to body map the user’s biometric information and translate it to 3D digital data. This data drives the geometry of the user’s bespoke GO wheelchair so that it accurately fits their body shape, weight and disability.
Layer has also designed an app to accompany the GO wheelchair, which allows users to participate in the design process by specifying optional elements and colourways to fit a wider set of needs and desires. Once the wheelchair has been designed, users simply place the order via the GO app. The GO wheelchair can be manufactured and delivered in under two weeks. This is in contrast to the 6-8 week lead-time it takes a typically customised wheelchair to be manufactured.
The GO wheelchair will be presented during Clerkenwell Design Week, taking place in London during 24th to 26th May this month.
all images courtesy of Layer Design