GO wheelchair / Layer Design


Go wheelchair is a made-to-measure, 3D-printed wheelchair that has been designed to fit the individual needs of a wide range of disabilities and lifestyles.

Designed by Benjamin Hubert of design agency Layer, the GO wheelchair prototype is the first project under the in-house new research division LayerLAB, and has been created in collaboration with 3D-printing company Materialise.

GO wheelchair - Layer Design

The Go wheelchair. © Layer Design

The GO wheelchair is the result of a two-year research period conducted by Layer. During this time, the London-based studio investigated “how to remove the stigma associated with wheelchairs as medical devices and create a more human-centered vehicle to improve the everyday lives of users”.

“We listened to the stories of wheelchair users and medical practitioners and then translated those stories into insights that helped us to transform the wheelchair as we know it today.”, says Hubert.

GO wheelchair - Layer Design

Regular wheelchair compared to Go wheelchair. © Layer Design

He and his team set about creating a custom-made wheelchair that could accurately fit each individual’s body shape, weight and disability in order to reduce injury and increase comfort, flexibility, and support. Therefore, they chose 3D-printing technology to create customisable wheelchair components, including the seat and foot-bay. Both of these elements are 3D-printed according to each user’s biometric information.

Two materials are used on the seat – a semi-transparent resin with integrated thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) that acts as shock-absorption – while the foot-bay is made out of titanium.

GO wheelchair - Layer Design

Go Gloves system. © Layer Design

One of the concerns of wheelchair users who took part in the research conducted by Layer was the stress and strain involved in self-propelling.

So, the studio developed wheels with carbon-fibre spokes and over-moulded high-grip push rims designed to lock into custom-made gloves. Together these deliver a higher power-to-push ratio, especially in wet conditions.

Layer has also designed an app to accompany the GO wheelchair, which allows users to participate in the design process by specifying optional elements, patterns and colourways to fit a wider set of needs and desires.

A prototype of the GO wheelchair was launched on May 2016 during Clerkenwell Design Week at Clerkenwell London as part of an exhibition of Layer’s recent work.

See diagrams
GO wheelchair - Layer Design

Diagram of the 3D-printed seat. © Layer Design

GO wheelchair - Layer Design

Variations of the seat. © Layer Design


Edited by City of Future’s staff.

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