The winning design by Greg Hurley, Michigan

The winning design by Greg Hurley, Michigan

The winning design by Greg Hurley, Michigan

The winning design by Greg Hurley, Michigan

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Kyron, a 14-year-old boy who has Muscular Dystrophy and lives in Florence, Massachusetts, has asked ModVic to Steampunk his Quantum Q6 Edge wheelchair.

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Tan Wei Kok, Singapore

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Tan Wei Kok, Singapore

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Stefan Varga; Maribor, Slovenia

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Stefan Varga; Maribor, Slovenia

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Stefan Varga; Maribor, Slovenia

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by REIS, Portugal

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Dave Hardcastle, U.K.

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Celt, U.K.

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Wheelchair Command Concept by 3DNag, France

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Tibor Rak, Croatia

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Adrien Liotard, France

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Leon Maryasin, Israel

Original wheelchair from the manufacturer

Submitted Design by Stephen Raj, India

Co.Create

See Wheelchairs Reimagined As Tricked-Out Steampunk Rides

A steampunk design contest makes for fascinating chairs, and maybe a new conversation around their occupants.

Wheelchairs usually demonstrate steely devotion to form-follows-function efficiency, but a recent contest invited designers to get fancy. On behalf of 14-year-old Massachusetts Steampunk fan Kyron Cheek, who has muscular dystrophy, entrants from around the world created tricked out wheelchair concepts embellished with knobs, gears and coils inspired inspired by Victorian era retro-tech.

Quantum Q6 Edge wheelchair

GrabCAD/ModVic Steampunk Wheelchair Design Challenge winner Greg Hurley says, "The kid wants to draw people in and use the chair as a tool—'Hey come check me out, I got personality. Come talk to me.' It's supposed to be an ice breaker and when I learned about that, my heart melted." A Michigan packaging designer, Hurley used ZBrush and Keyshot software to render a photorealistic model that would incorporate Cheek's plain-vanilla Quantum Q6 Edge wheelchair as its foundation.

Steampunk Conversation-Changer

New England Steampunk impresario Bruce Rosenbaum got rolling on the wheelchair initiative when file-sharing service GrabCAD contacted him after he did a Steampunk makeover of Cheek's bedroom. "I’d been exploring the idea of building medical assistive devices such as Terminator-like’ prosthetics and Star Trek-like hearing aids," Rosenbaum says. "With these tricked out Steampunk wheelchairs, the conversation changes from 'How did you lose the use of your legs?' to 'Where did you get the cool chair!?'

Winning Design by Greg Hurley

Rosenbaum and his team plan to make two prototypes based on Hurley's design. "This is a great opportunity to have Kyron be our ‘test pilot’ for the design and fabrication of a Steampunk Wheelchair," he says. The second chair will be exhibited at Steampunk Springfield: Re-Imagining an Industrial City starting March 22, 2014.

Check out an international array of Steampunk wheelchair designs in the gallery above.

[Image courtesy of Greg Hurley]

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