If Benjamin Hubert gets his way, the days of the one-size-fits-all wheelchair could be numbered.
For millions of users, the essential mobility device can feel clinical, mechanical and uncomfortable. Now the British industrial designer thinks he’s found the answer: 3D-printing.
His agency, Layer, is using 3-D digital data to map biometric information. The technology allows the design team to create a bespoke wheelchair that fits an individual’s body shape, weight and disability.
“This… object performed better, decreased injuries and expressed the individual’s sense of style, movement and emotions,” Hubert said.
The resin and plastic material used for the seat absorbs shocks and the design ensures the user has the best center of gravity.
Layer, which once focused largely on creating high-end home furnishing products, has shifted its attention to projects that have more social impact.
It involved users in the design process by creating an app where they could specify optional elements, patterns and colors.
It also interviewed users to find out about pain points and frustrations before they began developing prototypes.
“It’s a very stigmatized, emotionally charged area of thinking so it became really important for us that it embodied points and views and opinions and voices of the people who we were designing for,” Hubert said.
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