You may love riding bikes, but you would never approve of the back pain that comes with it. Softwheel Technology just reinvented the wheel with shock absorption benefits allowing the riders to adapt, be flexible, and be adventurous.
The Softwheel is the gift of an Israeli farmer Gilad Wolf who broke his pelvis in 2008. His love for his crops forced him to turn his wheelchair into a workhorse. He began to develop new wheel designs to allow him to travel on his wheelchair off the roads, without the severe back pain that comes with a conventional wheelchair.
The lack of suspension in a traditional wheelchair results in uncomfortable and fatiguing rides. The Softwheel website describes their technology very simply with the Newton’s third law. In a traditional spoke and hub wheel, all the forces exerted due to the obstacles cause vibration in the frame giving discomfort to the rider while slowing him down. The wheel, engineered and designed by Softwheel, provides reaction to these external forces from within the wheel.
The SoftWheel uses symmetric and selective technology, placing three suspension arms inside the wheel, that not only reduce vibration to the frame but also preserve the forward momentum. Four advanced techniques have to be incorporated in the wheel which the creators have named as; In-wheel suspension, Adaptive Rigidity, Rapid Shock Reset and the Single Piece Rigid Rims. The rider can traverse down the stairs as effortlessly as a ramp if the wheels can bear the worst of the forces.
The best part about the SoftWheel is its backward compatibility. You do not need to get a new wheelchair or a bicycle. You can replace the traditional wheels with the SoftWheel in no more than 10 minutes, like a plug and play device.
The SoftWheel CEO Daniel Barel said about the typical wheel, “Most of the time, the user is driving a rigid wheel with no suspension, and it breaks your back and shakes your filings loose.” Barel believes that ultimately their product could be applied to anything that has a wheel like cars, trains, cranes or even the airplane landing gear.
While the advanced applications may take a long time to develop, the SoftWheel is already in action to save the riders from the substantial fatigue of bike riding and wheelchair propelling. This technology may not exactly be a wheel reinvention but a significant step forward nonetheless.