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Arguably after the club, and possibly fire, the next thing to be invented was the wheel. In any case it’s been around, almost unchanged, for a very long time. Like the mouse trap it’s notoriously hard to reinvent. But getting around in a wheel chair in the modern environment is actually pretty hard. Even folding chairs still have large wheels. So London based design firm Vitamins Design decided to do something about that and invented a folding wheel.

After going through multiple prototypes they arrived at a finished design. For makers, the video showing that process is actually possibly one of the more interesting things about the project. It shows how even once you’ve got the big idea you have to continuously iterate away until magic happens and, as Steve Jobs used to put it “..it just works.”

Folding Wheel – prototypes from Vitamins on Vimeo.

The folding wheelchair wheel was short listed by the Design Museum for this year’s Design of the Year award, and won in the “Transport” category. The Raspberry Pi, which was shortlisted in the “Digital” category wasn’t as lucky, it was beaten by the redesigned GOV.UK website which was also the overall winner of the Awards.

Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker and tinkerer, who is spending a lot of his time thinking about the Internet of Things. In the past he has mesh networked the Moscone Center, caused a U.S. Senate hearing, and contributed to the detection of what was—at the time—the most distant object yet discovered.


  • http://twitter.com/dbrunker Dave Brunker (@dbrunker)

    I often wonder what would have happened if there were patents in the time before the Stone Age and the wheel and fire making an hand tools and farming had been patented.

    • http://gravatar.com/brosiman Arno Brosi

      One of Edisons ancestors would probably have bought them….

  • http://technologystemibs2012.wordpress.com STEM TECH 2012

    Reblogged this on STEM – ROBOTICS EDUCATION.

  • http://www.active8me.co.uk Adrian

    How on earth does the redesign of a website, gov.uk or otherwise beet the incredible invention of a folding wheel and all the implications that has. Another “world gone mad” moment?