Getting around on a wheelchair isn’t easy. Having to travel on a plane, though, makes it even tougher, since you’re going to have to check-in the wheelchair and hope it survives the flight’s cargo hold. The Revolve Air is a folding wheelchair design that can collapse into a size that fits into a plane’s overhead compartment.
That’s right, it’s a travel-friendly wheelchair that can fold down into a much more compact size, allowing you to not just carry it to the plane during flights but take it, pretty much, anywhere without any trouble. And it deploys into a conventional wheelchair size, too, with a large seat sized to accommodate grown adults and large wheels that should be able to navigate through uneven terrains.
The Revolve Air Wheelchair achieves its unusual feat by literally reinventing the wheel, which has long been the main component that kept the size of folded wheelchairs pretty large. Specifically, the 24-inch wheels are made up of six separate segments instead of spokes, all of which are connected via a central hub, allowing the segments to collapse all at the same time to create a compact bundle. This bundled form taking significantly less space than the standard wheel, allowing you to fit them not just inside the overhead cabin, but even inside backpacks and other smaller spaces.
A locking mechanism in the hub ensures the wheel doesn’t fold down accidentally while you’re using the chair, so you can safely get around without worrying about any unfortunate incidents. Once you’re ready to fold things down, though, simply release the locking mechanism to allow the sides of the hub to spread apart and make it possible to collapse the whole thing into a compact pile.
The Revolve Air Wheelchair has a tubular frame that also folds down, of course, albeit in a way that allows you to mount the two bundled wheels on the folded frame, so you can carry them all as a single unit. It even has the two small wheels touching the ground when collapsed, which makes it possible to tow the whole thing like rolling luggage. According to the outfit, the collapsed wheelchair takes up 60 percent less room than its fully deployed size – small enough that it can actually fit on a plane’s overhead compartment. The whole thing weighs a reasonable 23.8 pounds.
In wheelchair mode, it looks like the typical mobility device. You get those two large wheels in the rear, a pair of smaller wheels out front, a seat with customizable cushioning to suit a patient’s individual requirements, and a foot rest at the front. For moving around, wheelchair users can use the rims on the wheels to push it around comfortably, although there’s also a push handle on top of the back rest to have someone help you along the way. It’s available in a variety of seat widths (starting from 15.8 inches), all of which are designed to support users up to 220 pounds.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the Revolve Air Wheelchair. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at €2,838.