What's the best wheelchair hack

mobilityThe wheelchair tune

Additional light or more transport options on the wheelchair? In the case of the cash register model, it is mostly nil. So it is important to lend a hand yourself. Participants pimp their wheelchairs in open source workshops. Our reporter stopped by.

There is still a lot to invent when it comes to wheelchair tuning. Important tools such as lighting or a means of transport for shopping are usually missing. The problem: Most wheelchair pilots don't own their wheelchairs - they are owned by the health insurance companies. So you can't just tinker with it. In short: Little is happening with innovations and hacks and there are hardly any custom-fit accessories.

The Berlin project "Made for my Wheelchair" wants to change something with open source workshops. Participants can recreate previously missing add-ons that were developed by and with wheelchair users. Thanks to the 3-D printer, laser cutter and soldering iron, the things can be tinkered with by everyone. Everything the participants need to build a product is given as a set by the organizer at the workshop. There are also step-by-step instructions.

The lighting for the wheelchair: Open Lights

Our reporter Moritz Metz attended a workshop with a dozen participants. The goal this afternoon: to build lighting for wheelchairs. Two versions are possible: a ring lamp and a rod-shaped lamp. Just like with a bicycle, it is of course very important to have lighting for a wheelchair. Participant Marlon has so far helped himself with bicycle lights. However, its construction only worked to a limited extent.

"It doesn't really hold up. That's not the real thing. Especially the visibility."
Marlon about his lighting problems

It is therefore clear why Marlon came to the workshop: He wants to see better and be seen better when he is out and about in the dark in a wheelchair. And at the end he leaves the group with his new, self-made lighting.

Great need for improvement

Raul Krauthausen, one of the co-organizers of "Made for my Wheelchair" and a wheelchair user himself, sees a great need for improvement. He describes the current situation as "hospital-heavy". Raul wants a product range that is just as large as that of mountain bikers.

"I would like to see as many accessories, spare parts and tuning options as there are with mountain bikes."
Raul Krauthausen, co-organizer of "Made for my Wheelchair"

background

"Made for my Wheelchair" started in October 2016 at the Berlin Make Fair. Wheelchair users, technicians and designers have gathered their first ideas here. A test and optimization phase followed, and the FabLab Berlin produced prototypes. The instructions for the lighting, which we reported on in the report, are now published here in German for replica.

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