Sixteen-year-old innovator Mohammad Sayed decided that his wheelchair needed to be more useful.
Having previously designed and added an interchangeable laptop tray and canopy along with classmates for a school project, Sayed felt that the chair could use some more design modifications to make it easier to use. Taking the redesign one step further, he ended up rebuilding the wheelchair by changing the entire principle of how it works; the wheels, instead of being propelled by the traditional forward pushing motion, now work through a rowing motion that’s easier to maneuver and propel.
Sayed, a student at NuVu, an experimental high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was given a design problem that included his wheelchair. The young product designer and his friends used 3D printed parts to make the final installed components of the rowing wheelchair, with each costing no more than a couple of dollars and thus, making the whole project very affordable for others who previously may not have been able to move their own chairs but now can with the new rowing mechanism.
While Sayed’s 3D printed rowing mechanism is certainly among the more innovative ways of using a 3D printer to create modifications for an existing product, it’s not the first rowing wheelchair concept. The first rowing wheelchair is suspected to be have been around since at least 1990 and has made a comeback of sorts after being reengineered by NASA engineer Salim Nasser’s for his Rowheels Project as well as another product called the GoGrit, which is designed for off-road use.
Sayed, who presented the chair to President Obama at the White House earlier this year, further explains how the rowing wheel design is beneficial for those who would actually depend on it:
“If you are someone with atrophy and the muscles you would use to push with your biceps are getting weaker, allowing for different types of movement could mean the difference between continuing in a manual wheelchair or being forced to convert to a power wheelchair”.
Needless to say, this kid’s got a bright future ahead of him.