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20 Bizarre Custom Wheelchair Modifications


A range of impressive wheel chair modifications which are bound to turn heads!

So we’re getting well into the 21st century now and I don’t know what resolutions everyone’s been making over the last decade, but it’s obvious to say that technology has certainly made some fresh starts. Our laptops and PCs are getting slimmer, our iPhones are allowing users to multitask and even the cars are beginning to ditch the ‘bad’ fuel, and switching to electric diets. And for wheelchairs, it’s no different.

Here is a list of 20 innovative designs that could all be part of changing the lifestyles of the wheelchair user. Some of these are designed by the science giants, and some are just homemade, but these are all remarkable modifications on the old 20th century image of a standard wheelchair.

1. Tankchair – More than just a wheelchair

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Don’t be intimidated, this photo was taken from a low angle and those wheels are there for purely practical reasons. Yes, this might look like it’s designed for the army, but it was actually built for love. A gift, from a husband to his wife, Liz Zoden broke her back in a road accident, she was told she would never walk again, and although this restricted her at first, her husband Brad soon sorted that out. This tank allows Liz to drive on all terrains she’s always loved, including snow, sand and even through streams. Her husband Brad can modify the chair to fit just about anybody. What a hero!

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2. RODEM – Half Scooter, half electric wheelchair.

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This is just the prototype version displayed in the Veda Centre, but in the not too distant future i’m pretty sure these things will be just as popular as any other techno-gadgetry and will surely be available in a more full and funky spectrum of colours. With an open back it is easy to climb straight into, with a protective cushion for the chest to lean against. Although this is primarily designed for people with disabilities, it could easily become popular with just about anyone who wants a fast way of getting around the city.

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3. A time before RODEM.

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This mod is half bicycle and half wheelchair. It’s not quite as hip as RODEM. It’s the bog standard chair, with the main frame of a bicycle attaches to the front. This isn’t a futuristic design as such, nor is it a cruel joke, but a very good way of maintaining or building strength in those who are bound to a wheelchair, and may hope to walk again in their future. Personally, I think this bike is pretty cool. It’s got a front frame similar to a chopper, with the added comfort of a chair appose to a saddle. But if you think this is cool, then check this next modification out.

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4. Born to be wild.

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This mod is half wheelchair and half electric motorcycle. So when you hear the motor roar into town at 20mph, move aside. Lock-up your sons and daughters, and anything else you care about. For if a wheelchair can become this wild, then it might just influence everything else to follow in its tracks.

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5. Can you reach the top shelf?

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The iBOT could. This very clever wheelchair allowed it’s user to speak to people at eye level, raise them higher to reach things, and easily go up and down curbs and stairs. And now you ask yourself how did it not fall over? Well that’s where the patented iBalance technology comes in. Lots of clever computers, a bit of nifty software and a lot of gyroscopes (motion sensors) allowed the chair to constantly balance itself no matter where its user was leaning or traveling, a little bit like a super unicycle. The iBot was released in 2003 but was ditched last year (09) because it was too expensive to manufacture and healthcare insurance could only cover about a quarter of the $22k bill.

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6. Trapdoors for toilets

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This chair was developed as a semester project at the University of Applied Arts in the Studio Industrial Design 2 Esslinger. It attends to all the practical needs from walking about, and lifting the user up to reach high shelves, going up the stairs. But the one thing that I haven’t seen in many other chairs is that it allows you to go to the toilet without getting off the chair. There is nothing in the centre, and there is a trapdoor on the seat. That’s very convenient.

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7. How would you like to Roll-a-bout?

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Did you like to live life in the fast lane but hurt your leg? Standard wheelchairs and crutches can make it slow to get around. But if you also like to roll about, have a spare $600, and of course, hurt your leg, then Roll-a-bout, don’t walk about. S.D. was happy to be called “scooter” when they rolled into their local restaurant.

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8. Fuel-Celled Wheel Chair

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Japan are leaders in creating an eco friendly system of life, with the motto Moving Our Future Forward. With their massive development as a country, their life expectancy is also booming. Over 65 year olds are expected to increase to 40 percent from 20 percent by the year 2050. And with this it’s not surprising that they are developing fuel celled wheelcarts and chairs, along with other vehicles such as cars and buses. If only everyone could be as good as the Japanese.

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9. The power of mind control

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I remember when I watched the Riddler sucking brainwaves out his victims in the movie Batman Forever and Bruce Wayne told him he wouldn’t be able to put this technology to any good use. Well this just goes to show that Bruce was wrong. Here we have the mind controlled wheel chair. Japanese researchers at Brain Science Institute and Toyota have figured out a way of reading the electric signals from the brain every 125 milliseconds to give a 95% percent control of the chair. I wonder if the user can think about where they’re actually going to go at the same time as moving the chair? Or if they get hungry and start thinking about food, then can they still move? I suppose many people find this problem in ordinary day-to-day life anyway. This is a brilliant breakthrough though.

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10. The Wrong Trousers

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That is actually a real person in those massive trousers. It does resemble either a Dalek or a man trying to be a Hoover vacuum, but this magnificent wheelchair is actually pretty good. It’s being developed by Exmovere Holdings and is named, the Chariot. The product responds to hip movements and shifting weight, it’s meant to make life a lot easier. At 12 m/ph it would be very easy to chase people. Check out the video on the link, he’s really good at moving the Chariot around. And this really does resemble something from a sci-fi movie that could well possibly become an everyday reality. Maybe the police could use these in riot control. That’d be scary.

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11. Wheelchair: Sitting or Standing?

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Jack Eadie’s wheelchair design offers the user to sit or stand by using large suspension devices. This is another design that may well be used in the future as a mobility device, even for people without disabilities. This guy’s designed quite a few other cool wheelchairs as well.

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12. The Shape Shifter

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This plastic wheelchair bends easily to support the user’s needs. Shifts in weight and centre of gravity means that shapeshifting chair can adapt to different situations. So that’ll be good for getting through small gaps.

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13. Star Wars Episode Seven or Return of the Sith II

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So Vader lives on. And he has a Tie Fighter wheelchair to ride, too. Maybe if he bumps into Luke again, he could chop his other hand off.

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14. A little Mad Max

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Many of the wheelchairs so far have been pretty user friendly. Well this one is too, built from an electric golf cart and with the comfort of a marine rescue helicopter seat, just don’t get on the wrong side of it, or ask the driver for a light. He’s got a fifteen foot flame thrower to warm things up and can chase you at speeds of 20 m/ph. Most of the other electric wheelchairs on here can’t even go a third of that speed, so if there’s ever was a Mad Max situation, you better make sure you get the right wheels.

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15. Back to the Wild Wild West

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This is completely fictional, but the idea of a steam powered wheelchair shows that Dr. Loveless is a man with a plan. It was the Doc from Back to the Future who built the first steam powered time machine at a similar time. Dr. Loveless ends up building a giant steam powered spider to attack the North of America. But if you think this is a madman in a super wheelchair, check out the next guy from Texas, this one’s for real.

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16. Armchair Fire

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I’ve seen a few fire safety videos in my time. Normally after they catch their first flame, they can light up the rest of the house within minutes. Good job this crazy Texan had the sense to keep his flame behind his couch, and outdoors too. That would suggest he’s not completely crazy, wouldn’t it? It’s just good to see people are doing all they can to make more innovative wheelchairs.

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17. And in the UK…

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And at the other side of the Atlantic. A Brit attaches a jet to his mother in laws wheelchair. Don’t worry Mr. Cannella is only riding on the chair himself. She just got herself a new one. He’s now the star at the British Model Flying championship and is raising money for his mother in law who has Parkinson’s disease.

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18. Desert Creature

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This is Electrobite, a converted electric wheelchair that’s been turned into rideable bug. It looks a bit like one of Dr. Loveless’ creations from Wild Wild West. But be assured, this is a lovely bug. It’s been to the Burning Man festival where I’m sure it amazed quite a few hippies. Those antennas our actually little joysticks so you can take it for a spin.

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19. And the beat goes on

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For many, the restrictions of being in a wheelchair have meant many ordinary opportunities would have been missed out on. The same could have been said for those who would have liked to play the hit game ‘Rock Band’. As a drummer, he pedal would have been impossible. But here, a solution has been found.

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20. Creature Comforts

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This poor pup was born without its two front legs. There’s been many wheel aids for dogs, but this is quite an unusual case. Engineering students at Reedley College manufactured a new set of wheels so this dog could move again. What better reward for man’s best friend then new motorized legs?

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  • Muhammad Hussain

    Mine is an electric X-treme Scooter. It looks like a motorcycle and can pop wheelies (if you’re not careful) doing up to 30 mph

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    I think the iBot is my favourite, purely due to its functionality.

    Such a shame it’s no longer being manufactured.

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    The wrong trousers I think was my favorite! It was the tank chair, but then I saw the link and the video of the dude going through his office in that chair. Your right! Does look like it came right out of a sci fi movie!

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