This shape-shifting wheelchair transitions from seated to standing positions

From autonomous wheelchairs to air-powered ones with no electronic parts, we have covered some pretty nifty innovation taking place in the world of wheelchairs. Another one to add to the collection is a wheelchair called Laddroller, a futuristic shape-shifting design that’s able to neatly transition between seated and standing positions.

It was designed by architect Dimitrios Petrotos, who was inspired to do so after being hired by a wheelchair-bound client a few years ago to redesign an apartment so that it was fit for her use. Petrotos proceeded to carry out tweaks like lowering light switches and furniture, before realizing that this was an inadequate way of solving the problem. Even if he was able to change an apartment, he realized, it wouldn’t be possible to do the same for the entire world.

Jump forward a few years, and Petrotos and his team developed the Laddroller wheelchair. Last year, an earlier version of it was among the entrants in last year’s Cybathlon, the world’s first bionic Paralympic Games. Now Petrotos wants to develop the project further to enter the next Cybathlon race, which will take place in Zurich in May 2020 — just prior to the Olympics in Tokyo.

After that, he hopes to mass produce his unique wheelchair, thereby having the opportunity to potentially change the lives of millions of people.

“The placement of the [wheelchair’s] bigger wheels in the front makes it useful in the city, eliminating the constant need of ramps, where competitive wheelchairs get stuck at the smallest obstacle because of their small caster wheels,” Petrotos told Digital Trends. “Moreover, the modular design makes Laddroller easily portable in the trunk of a car because all its components can be detached easily — something that other standing wheelchair just can’t. All these, along the manual propulsion in case the batteries run low, will make Laddroller the best power standing wheelchair in the market.”

Right now, the wheelchair isn’t available to buy, although there’s still every chance to get involved. On Kickstarter, Petrotos is currently raising funds to support his Cybathlon 2020 campaign.

Should it raise its funding target, rewards will include everything from a chance to get your name on the finished wheelchair’s seat to your own copy of the blueprints right through to an opportunity to be hands-on involved in the final race. You can’t say fairer than that.


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