Manufacturers Küschall and Invacare, working in partnership with Formula 1 manufacturers, are hoping to redefine traditional design by using aerospace materials to develop a wheelchair with unprecedented driving performance by using graphene. Graphene is an incredibly lightweight and flexible material many times stronger than steel and is the toughest aerospace material available. The first lightweight wheelchair made from graphene, the Superstar has a frame that is 30% lighter and 20% stronger compared with standard carbon wheelchairs and claims to be the most innovative and best performing wheelchair currently available.
The team began the design process by identifying and analysing gaps in the wheelchair market. They used computer aided drawings (CAD) and the finite element method (FEM), a numerical method for solving problems of mathematical physics and engineering, while balancing the requirements of appeal, aesthetics and capability.
The superstar offers:
- Ultralight frame
- Excellent vibration and absorption capacity
- Exceptional mechanical resistance and durability
- X-shape geometry to provide increased performance and agility
- Correct posture to maximize your propelling performance and reduce upper body injury risk
- Optimum weight to acceleration performance.
- Hand built and specifically adapted.
- Custom-fitted backrest with a tool-less adjustment.
- Integrated seat cushion and backrest.
Currently in preproduction, engineers are working with potential consumers to co-develop the Superstar prior to launch.
At the point of full production, the planned process for consumers will be:
- A visit to Küschall HQ in Basel, Switzerland for bio-mechanical assessment and personalized measurement.
- Pre-selection of components and collaboration with the aesthetic design team.
- An occupational therapy audit of components to choose the right build for the consumer’s budget and riding style.
- Production of the wheelchair and seating using unique carbon molds.
- Shipment of the finished wheelchair to the customer.
The Superstar should be available to buy in 2020.
Lewis Reed Group
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