Softwheel uses inner suspension arms to re-invent the wheel for bikes and chairs [video]

softwheel bike suspension

Considering all of the technological advances made in bicycles, cars and trains; the humble wheelchair hasn’t advanced very much since the first one was invented for King Philip II of Spain in 1595. An Israeli startup SoftWheel is about to change that with a bike and wheelchair wheel that is more comfortable and more efficient.When an unfortunate accident left Gilad Woolf  with a broken leg and dependent on a wheelchair, the farmer had first hand experience of how uncomfortable wheelchairs can be for the millions of people who rely on them for everyday transportation indoors as well as outdoors.

softwheel chair

 

In fact, this varied terrain is one of the factors contributing to wheelchair discomfort and inefficiency. A wheel designed for the smooth floor inside a house or a public building is completely inappropriate for traveling on a rocky field or bumpy road.

Daniel Barel, the CEO of SoftWheel, told the Jerusalem Post that his company’s new suspension technology is an integral part of the wheel that is selective and symmetric.

softwheel diagram

 

It remains static on standard floors or smooth pavements but shifts to an active response mode when the wheel encounters obstacles. The wheel’s hub symmetrically expands or shrinks to absorb the transmitted shock.

This active suspension preserves more of the forward motion energy that would normally be lost as the suspension allows the wheelchair to bob and sag. It also allows the wheelchair to ride over curbs and bumps that might have stopped traditional wheelchairs, giving users better access to places where ramps haven’t yet been installed.

Watch the video to see Softwheel’s “Acrobat” wheel in action:

YouTube Preview Image

The new company has financial backing from the RAD BioMed Accelerator group and is in collaboration with the Ziv-Av Engineering group. They are initially designing these wheels for wheelchairs, city bicycles and aircraft landing gear but the company says the technology would be used for other wheeled vehicles.

This is not to be confused with the Israeli designer Ron Arad and his Soft-Wheel invention from 2011. He’s invented, though probably not for commercial reasons, a bike wheel that will never go flat. See below.

Ron Arad's soft-wheel designer bike

::Softwheel 

About Brian Nitz

Brian remembers when a single tear dredged up a nation's guilt. The tear belonged to an Italian-American actor known as Iron-Eyes Cody, the guilt was displaced from centuries of Native American mistreatment and redirected into a new environmental awareness. A 10-year-old Brian wondered, 'What are they... No, what are we doing to this country?' From a family of engineers, farmers and tinkerers Brian's father was a physics teacher. He remembers the day his father drove up to watch a coal power plant's new scrubbers turn smoke from dirty grey-back to steamy white. Surely technology would solve every problem. But then he noticed that breathing was difficult when the wind blew a certain way. While sailing, he often saw a yellow-brown line on the horizon. The stars were beginning to disappear. Gas mileage peaked when Reagan was still president. Solar panels installed in the 1970s were torn from roofs as they were no longer cost-effective to maintain. Racism, public policy and low oil prices transformed suburban life and cities began to sprawl out and absorb farmland. Brian only began to understand the root causes of "doughnut cities" when he moved to Ireland in 2001 and watched history repeat itself. Brian doesn't think environmentalism is 'rocket science', but understanding how to apply it within a society requires wisdom and education. In his travels through Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, Brian has learned that great ideas come from everywhere and that sharing mistakes is just as important as sharing ideas.

6 thoughts on “Softwheel uses inner suspension arms to re-invent the wheel for bikes and chairs [video]

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  2. Pingback: Softwheel Shock Absorbers Are Inside The Bicycle Wheel For Better Ride – Jewish Business News

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