News / Product Design

World’s first 3D-printed consumer wheelchair released


Benjamin Hubert is launching the world’s first 3D-printed consumer wheelchair, called Go, tomorrow at Clerkenwell Design Week. The prototype is a collaboration between Benjamin’s design agency Layer, under its research arm LayerLab, and 3D-printers Materialise, which can scan, translate data and build 3D-printed components.

With two 3D-printed elements — the seat and foot-bay — the wheelchair can be made to fit a user’s specific body measurements, weight and disability. Using the Go app, users can also take part in the design process by specifying optional elements, patterns and colours.

The chair has been two years in development, including six months of research with wheelchair users and medical professionals. Layer says the hope is to create “a more human-centred vehicle” that improves users’ everyday lives. The agency also says the chair can be manufactured and delivered in two weeks, compared with the average six to eight week lead-time of existing customised wheelchair designs.

The seat is made from semi-transparent 3D-printed plastic, while the foot-bay is 3D printed in titanium. These are combined with standard Go wheelchair components, like the carbon-fibre wheels and titanium frame. Go is now launching publicly with the hope of drawing interest from companies who can support the project with further manufacture and routes to market.

Layer has also designed Go gloves to be used with the chair’s tactile push rims, to decrease risk of injuries common to wheelchair users by giving a greater power-to-push ratio.