An Invention Whose Time Has More Than Come -- Wheelblades

Patrick Mayer - Inventor
Have you ever seen the debut of a new invention and wondered why it hasn't shown up sooner? It could even be a case in which the new invention seems so obvious and functional that this can't be the first time it has come to market. Well, this is one of those inventions.

Patrick Mayer, the inventor of Wheelblades, had dreams of becoming a pro-snowboarder. Those dreams were cut short, however, when during a competition in the year 2000, the young Mayer fell and was partially paralyzed due to a back injury suffered in the fall. This meant that he would have to use a wheelchair for the rest of this life.

Nowadays, there are more than a few options available to those who are disabled so they can still enjoy the thrill and fun of downhill skiing and riding. It could be said that we are in a golden age of adaptive ski technology. But, what about getting a person's day to day wheelchair through the snow? It isn't easy keeping the small, front wheels of the chair from sinking into the snow and just being a pain. So what does one do? Mayer came up with the answer in the form of Wheelblades.

Like with many things in life, the right answer was the simplest one. As you can see in the video, one just snaps the skis onto the front wheels of the wheelchair. This functions in two ways. First, by putting the smaller, caster type wheel on the ski the weight of the chair on that wheel is distributed more evenly, thus keeping the wheel from sinking into the snow. Second, as with any kind of ski, there is very little friction. This makes it much easier to move the chair over the snow and requires less effort to do so.

To look at one of the skis up close to is to see the genius in the simplicity of the design. A simple one lever binding, making it as simple of a mechanism as a step in ski binding. One snap of the lever over the caster bolt and the Wheelblade is attached. This binding is also moved to the front part of the ski allowing for the ski to turn effortlessly in the direction the user wished to go. The binding is also designed to fit wheel widths from 1.8 to 6 cm (.7 to 2.3 inches), which should cover a decent amount of chair designs.

Now, what could make such an awesome and simple product any better? Well, this product is not just limited to wheelchairs. It can be used on other mobility devices, such as walkers. Mayer also designed a set to do one better than that. The Wheelblade XL is designed to be used with even larger wheels, like the wheels found on strollers. That's right, these can be used to make it even easier to take the baby for a walk across the snow.

Simple design and a lot of function. This really does make for a wonderful product that could solve an issue that must be quite common for those who use mobility assistance devices. For more information, or to purchase a ser of your own, head to the Wheelblades website or to @wheelblades on Instagram to see more of them in action.

All photos and videos are courtesy of Wheelblades


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