Billed as the world’s first ever foldable wheelchair wheels, these Morph Wheels actually started life as a folding bicycle design, but the developers quickly realized that there was a huge market of wheelchair users desperate to make their chairs more convenient to transport from place to place.
The resulting design has been carefully enhanced to ensure that it’s as safe as possible, especially since the last thing a wheelchair user needs is a wheel that collapses without warning. There are safety catches and a structural pin which locks the whole assembly into place when in use.
The big deal, however, is the fact that when folded the wheels can be stowed in a very convenient carry bag, which means that wheelchair users now have the option of using normal public transport or unmodified cars to travel around. Of course there are still other limitations, but this one move opens up a whole new era of possibilities.
The other important point about a collapsible wheel is the fact that it makes all sorts of innovative personal transportation more possible. Folding bicycles, scooters and other electric vehicles can become much more flexible and appealing if they can be popped into a small bag and slung over the shoulder when not in use. The growing use of lightweight composite materials makes this even more desirable and likely in the long run.
The wheels are currently priced at $950 a set and should fit most wheelchairs with standard quick release axles. Each wheel weighs around 3.4 kg, and the stowed bag is small enough to fit into overhead luggage lockers on aircraft. [Via]