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Revolution on wheels

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 4:21pm
Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern

Morph Wheels sounds more like a rejected children’s toy idea than a legitimate advancement in mobility technology, but it’s real, and it’s going to have a huge impact. It’s one of many new foldable, space-saving inventions coming into the market. People tend to crave convenience in whatever they purchase and anything that they can slip into their pocket will fit the bill. A tablet that folds up to be the size of a wallet is the new update for a society that already demands “mini” alternatives for every new electronic device. Duncan Fitzsimmons’s Morph Wheel, however, can vastly improve people’s lives rather than just simply enhancing them.

Originally slated to be a foldable bicycle wheel, Fitzsimmons’s new take on a classic invention is now primarily used in wheelchairs. The wheel can be detached from the frame of the chair and then collapsed down to half of its original width, opening up a whole new range of storage options for wheelchair users.

Those involved in the project recognize the potential for their product in underdeveloped countries as well as wealthier ones. Disabled people in third-world countries who may not have a lot of space where they live, or really just anyone in cramped quarters, would be able to fold their wheelchair up and tuck it away instead of having it take up valuable space when it is not in use. People can also travel with ease as they stow away their chair in a car trunk or even the overhead bin on an airplane. Because of this, public transportation is now a much more viable convenience for the disabled.

In addition to helping out the wheelchair-bound populace, Morph Wheels can also aid the average cyclist. People often want to go on biking trips, but are reluctant to put up with the necessary hassle of strapping them to roof racks. Fitzsimmons’s wheel permits an alternative to those travelling with bicycles who don’t have a roof rack or similar structure on their car. And we’ve all had that roommate who insisted on keeping their “ride” in the house when it rained. Or the guy on the subway who immediately regrets his decision to take the bike to work. Morph Wheels just makes everyone whose lives are affected by wheeled transport far more convenient and enjoyable.

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