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3D-Printed Wheelchair Will Be World's First to Offer Customizable Design

The GO wheelchair offers a 3D-printed chair and a made-to-measure titanium foot bay

Benjamin Hubert and his experience driven design agency Layer will release the world's first 3D-printed consumer wheelchair at London's Clerkenwell Design Week later this month.

Layer is devoted to creating human-centered designs, and the GO wheelchair, which is the first project under the firm's new research division, LayerLAB, is a step in the direction of that goal. "With the Go wheelchair, we saw an opportunity to really progress the manual mobility category for users with disabilities, and to use 3D-printing technology to solve significant and meaningful problems," Hubert told Dezeen.

Made in collaboration with 3D printing company Materialise, the GO wheelchair was developed over six months, during which designers worked with wheelchair users and medical professionals to ensure that users' needs and concerns were addressed.

GO will be entirely customizable to the user's specifications, which will be based on the individual's biometric information. That data will be used to create the 3D printed chair that will be made with semi-transparent resin and shock-absorbing thermoplastic polyurethane plastic. The made-to-measure foot bay will be fashioned in titanium.

Layer hopes to address the issue of self-propelling in wet conditions, a common concern among wheelchair users who participated in the research, by creating wheels that would lock into custom-made gloves.

In addition to these customizable elements, Layer will allow users to select colors and other options on an app through which the wheelchair can be ordered.