Morph folding wheel
by Vitamins Design

| 4 comments
 

The world's first folding wheels can be collapsed to take up about half the space so they're easier for wheelchair users to store and transport.

Morph folding wheel by Vitamins Design

Initially designed for bicycles, the Morph folding wheel by Vitamins Design measures 60 centimetres across and has a volume of 22 litres. When folded down, the 3.4 kilogram wheel measures 80 centimetres by 32 centimetres and has a volume of only 12 litres.

Morph folding wheel by Vitamins Design

"The glass-filled nylon material that the Morph Wheels are made from is a composite that allows them to be incredibly tough and strong, without becoming prohibitively heavy or expensive," said designer Duncan Fitzsimons, who first started working on the concept while studying at the Royal College of Art in London.

Morph folding wheel by Vitamins Design

"The material gives elements of the stiffness and strength that you would get from a composite such as carbon fibre, combined with the robustness and lower cost that you would get from a plastic part."

Morph folding wheel by Vitamins Design

The wheel was developed to fit with an industry standard quick-release wheel axle and also uses the same solid rubber tyres as most other wheelchairs. "This is great, because it means that if someone wants to change their tyres or replace them after the tread starts to wear, they can go to their local supplier to get it done," he added.

Morph folding wheel by Vitamins Design

The design has been licensed to Maddak, a company specialising in home healthcare, and is also available to buy from the Morph Wheels website.

Morph folding wheel by Vitamins Design

The folding wheel was recently shortlisted as one of the Design Museum's Designs of the Year alongside a library in south London, a stool shaped by magnets and a new website for the UK government, among many others – see the full Designs of the Year 2013 shortlist.

Morph folding wheel by Vitamins Design

The category winners and overall winner will be announced next month. All nominated entries will be on display at the museum until 7 July as part of the Designs of the Year exhibition, which includes one controversial nominee presenting 3D-printed copies of two of the other finalists' work.

Morph folding wheel by Vitamins Design

Above: three prototypes pictured next to the final design

We previously featured a bespoke racing wheelchair used by Paralympic athletes and a concept for an airline seat with a detachable wheelchair.

Photographs are by Colin Ross.

  • Thomas

    This is a really interesting product and a great example of good design engineering, but it’s slightly disappointing how little the size is reduced. Yes, it is reduced by about a half in one direction but increased by about one third in the other.

    Also, having seen some examples of lightweight wheelchair wheels, I suspect that the extra weight (components and material) required greatly increase the weight. If I’m right, it kind of contradicts the portability feature. Nevertheless, a good contender in the competition.

  • Concerned Citizen

    I don’t see the advantage of such a wheel, especially considering the size of the wheelchair to which it attaches. We know it could be done, but should it have been, with so little to gain?

  • beatrice

    What does one gain?

  • katewilliam

    Wow. This would be easy to carry with me wherever I go.