BMW and DesignworksUSA has been leading a crew to build a better racing wheelchair for American Paralympians, aiming to make a faster and more comfortable ride. Most of the traditional racing wheelchairs resemble tricycles, crafted with large wheels in the back. While BMW’s design doesn’t stray far off from this, there are many subtle adjustments that make the vehicle much more advanced.
Firstly, the design team scanned an athlete sitting in his chair, and from there a computer model was built that could simulate various changes in aerodynamics. For an athlete, the drag comes from his/her own body and through science, the designers were able to make tweaks that could save around 15 percent of the drag. In addition to the 3D modeling, the wheelchair was redesigned with new materials. Using carbon fiber, the new design allows for less flexibility, which is helpful in deterring absorption of shocks. Finally, ergonomics were considered, and each U.S. Paralympian will have a custom-made wheelchair to fit his/her body specifications for a perfect fit. What do you think of this futuristic advancement in Paralympian racing wheelchairs?
- Fast Co.design