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The Morph Wheel folds in half to make wheelchair travel easier

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March 25, 2013

The wheel size is reduced from 24 inches in diameter, to 32 x 12.5 inches when folded

The wheel size is reduced from 24 inches in diameter, to 32 x 12.5 inches when folded

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Getting from A to B in a wheelchair is enough of a challenge in itself, without considering the hassle of stowing the chair away each time its user wishes to travel by car, plane, or train. The Morph Wheel aims to make life a little easier in this regard, by providing a wheelchair wheel which folds into almost half its original size.

The Morph Wheel was initially created by Vitamins Designed under the moniker "The Folding Wheel," and conceived for use with folding bicycles. However, the firm received such a vocal response from the disabled community that it felt compelled to channel its efforts to providing wheelchair wheels instead. The concept has thus been taken up and manufactured in this guise by U.S. company Maddak.

Originally created for use with folding bicycles, the designers changed focus in response ...

When folded, the wheel takes up a total of 12 liters (0.4 cubic feet) of space, compared with the 22 liters (0.7 cubic feet) it would usually fill when fully circular – a saving of almost half the volume. Put another way, this enables its size to be reduced from 24 inches (61 cm) in diameter, to the more manageable dimensions of 32 x 12.5 inches (81 x 32 cm).

Each Morph Wheel tips the scales at 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg), and when used in a pair can support up to 300 pounds (136 kg). It's constructed from glass filled nylon, with a polypropylene hand rim, and solid tire.

Maddak states that the Morph Wheel can fit into overhead bins, closets, car trunks, and even under an airplane seat during flights. It features a safety mechanism which prevents folding unless desired by the user, and will fit to any existing wheelchair able to accommodate a wheel with a quick release axle. The folding mechanism is said to be easy to master, not requiring any special tools.

The Morph Wheel is available now, and sold as a pair from US$950.

Sources: Maddak, Vitamins Design via Designboom

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road.

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5 Comments

Its a big enough pain to disassemble a wheelchair to transport. Wishing for a smaller wheel has never been a need in my book. The chair frame itself tends to be the biggest, bulky item. And forget trying to get it on a airplane. The airlines have their own wheelchairs that are designed to fit down an aisle. They require all wheelchairs to be checked luggage. Some airlines will allow it to be loaded under neath last and will retrieve it for you and have it ready at the top of the gateway, while others require you to pick it up in baggage claim. Unique approach to a problem that doesn't really exist from my use/perspective.

Dekarate
25th March, 2013 @ 12:29 pm PDT

Brilliant! Is the wheel used in this design solid rubber or air pressured?

Edison Ong
25th March, 2013 @ 07:25 pm PDT

If it is easily, quickly removable from (and reinstallable on) the chair, there isn't much further advantage to being foldable.

townkid
28th March, 2013 @ 07:22 am PDT

It would be useful for some caregivers like my sister in laws and I were. Trying to dismantle my mother in law's chair to get it in and out of our cars for years would be a lot easier with smaller, lighter weight wheels. We had four different vehicles she may be in, and getting a common van for transport didn't make sense. I agree about not much use for air travel though, taking as little as possible on board is usually the best choice.

Deborah Gregson
29th March, 2013 @ 07:13 pm PDT

As a wheelchair user I see the benefits, but as stated above it solves a problem that doesn't really exist.

What really needs to happen is a total redesign of wheelchairs. The basic design/concept hasn't changed in over 100 years.

Here's a thought........does anyone remember the original "Thunderbirds"? The puppets that sitting in chairs in their headquarters got calls for rescue, then they went to their vehicles, chair included. When they got to their vehicle the chair they were in was an integral part of the vehicle. They never got out of their chair. That's what we need to do. No more delivery vans, or soccer mom vans. And as an added bonus, no one could steal the car, the drivers chair wouldn't be there. lol.

Mivoyses
3rd April, 2013 @ 03:58 pm PDT
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