Electronics wheelchairs have made a distinct difference in the mobility and independence of people with more severe disabilities. However, moving around and traveling is not all that simple, even with the convenience of a wheelchair. Especially the size and wheels of the chair make travel by train and plane difficult. In particular, there are many restrictions on the use of wheelchairs at airports.
As a solution to this, an Italian designer, inventor Andrea Mocellin has designed a new wheelchair with folding wheels that can fold down to fit perfectly inside an airliner’s overhead baggage area. Called Revolve Air, the wheelchair aims to give whole new independence to active wheelchair users who commute and travel daily.
The concept of a folding wheelchair is not new. There are several models, some of which can even be folded up to the size of luggage, but none of them have foldable wheels to make the wheelchair 60% more space-saving.
The Revolve Air’s wheels feature a central hub, six folding aluminum structures that replace traditional spokes, and an aluminum rim that’s divided into six interlocking sections, each of which is lined with a foam-filled tire. A locking mechanism on the hub keeps the assembly in the shape of a conventional wheel when in use.
When it’s time to stow the wheel, the release of that mechanism allows the two sides of the hub to separate from each other so that the spokes and rim sections can be folded and stowed between them as if they were the ribs of an umbrella.
Revolve Air wheelchair can be reduced to a compact size by completely folding the 24-inch wheels. It is a size that is suitable for placing it in the trunk of a car as well as in the passenger seat, and it fits in the luggage compartment of an aircraft.
Thanks to the folding mechanism, the wheelchair used as hand luggage in airplanes will save people by not having to wait for hours to check out at airports. It will also avoid the risk of returning with a damaged chair. Knowing that you can have your chair just above your seat means that the user is happy with his chair’s safety while traveling.
The inventor is preparing to commercialize actual products in order to supply wheelchairs as soon as possible. The revolutionary new Revolve Air aims to improve wheelchair service at the airport – which is why it will be available for rent as needed from kiosks at locations such as airports. A single chair will be available for around $2500. The first prototypes should be ready for testing and certification by 2022.