Papi has had an idea in mind for a radically different chair for
some time, but until recently there were no materials in existence
that would make it possible to realise the design.
In 2004 Dr Ian Ward from Sandvik Materials Technology presented
Sandvik’s newly developed tube called NanoFlex® to a Nanotechnology
interest group at the University of Western Sydney.
is produced using an ultra-strength stainless steel material reinforced
using nanotechnology. The NanoFlex® combines ultra high strength
with excellent toughness. The characteristics of the material were
1. Excellent mechanical strength and toughness;
2. Good corrosion resistance;
4. Dimensional stability after heat treatment;
5. Good wear resistance.
NanoFlex® can achieve a tensile strength between 1,700 and 2,000
MPa and offers yield strength of 1,500 t0 1,800 MPa.
is the raw material that makes it possible for us to achieve the
design of the wheel chair that we want without any compromises.
A carbon fibre seat and specially formulated, nanoreinforced polymers
are features of the chair which contribute to its lightness and
There are many design features which place the Freedom Wheel Chair
in a class of its own:
The design of the chair allows the user to select between the Street
mode and the Commode/Shower mode. The main difference between the
two configurations is the difference in height of the seat and the
angle of the seat with respect to the horizontal plane. There is
also a removable section of the seat to allow easy hand access.
The Street mode has the seat positioned at 380mm from the ground.
The Commode/Shower mode has a 430 mm clearance under the seat in
order to roll over a standard W.C. No other wheelchair has a dual
seat height, and the street height can be adjusted to suit the user.
We believe that the absence of the rear wheel axle in a street chair
is unique. The design also allows for independent wheel suspension.
Because of the independent wheel suspension we have been able to
introduce shock absorbers. No other chair has a shock absorption
capability on the main wheels.
Wheelchair - Commode / Street / Shower.
more information.There are many ways in which the chair can be configured
to suit the user. It is possible to adjust the height and width
of the chair, to adjust the camber and to change the centre line
position to increase or decrease the degree of tipping. The user
can also select the angle of the seat relative to the ground. The
seat angle will return to the horizontal plane when the chair is
in the Commode/Shower position. The back rest height is variable
and can be selected by the user. The angle of the back rest in relation
to the seat is also adjustable. It has a lumbar support which can
be adjusted to fit the individual user. The angle of the foot plate
relative to the seating position is variable as well.
The brake system mounted on the wheels is a ‘fail safe system’
and must be released to allow the chair to move. This is another
unique feature of the chair. Other brake systems rely on the strength
of the user to place sufficient force on the tyres to hold the chair.
The Freedom Wheelchair will not roll away from under a user who
leans a little too far forward.
Another very unusual feature of the chair, though not unique, is
that it does not fold like a conventional chair. Once the quick
release wheels and upholstery have been removed the Freedom Wheelchair
folds down like a book. The seat fits between the bars of the tubular
frame and the backrest folds down over the seat. The folded chair
has the smallest dimensions available in any wheelchair, 800 mm
x 450 mm x 350 mm (31.5 inches by 17.7 x 13.7 inches). This is small
enough to fit in the overhead luggage bins of larger commercial
It is the extraordinary lightness of the Freedom Wheelchair that
is the most remarkable feature. The lightest frame weight chairs
available vary from 7.7.kg to 10.5 kg, (17 to 23 pounds) for rigid,
non folding chairs. Folding chairs weigh much more, even the lightest
are over 12 kg (26.5 lbs) The Freedom weighs in at 5.1 kg (11.2
lbs), and it folds up!
We are at present at work on the second prototype and we hope to
have the chair in production and available for purchase before the
end of November 2010. If you are interested in receiving updates
on our progress please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review by AZ
Review by Fairfax