Steampunk Wheelchair cruises into Fast Company and Indiegogo

There has been more attention recently for the GrabCAD and ModVic Steampunk Wheelchair Challenge. "See Wheelchairs Reimagined as Tricked-Out Steampunk Rides" was featured on Fast Company, and then ModVic successfully launched their indiegogo campaign for making the chair a reality.

steampunk wheelchair

Originally posted on by Hugh Hart:

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.

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!?'

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 the article and a gallery of Steampunk wheelchair designs on

From the SteamAble Wheelchair Indiegogo Campaign by ModVic: 

Great design can change a life, let's make it real! Help us construct a retro-futuristic Steampunk Wheelchair for a 14 year old boy with Muscular Dystrophy and begin construction of other assisted living devices.

We want to modify a wheelchair to take it from 'functional' to 'awesome'.  It is our belief that this highly customized wheelchair will help the recipient Kyron, the 14 year old boy with Muscular Dystrophy who inspired this project. We will customize a second wheelchair to help raise money for other adults and children who also depend on assisted living technology.

ModVic works with clients all across the country to take personal, meaningful objects, creatively combining them with relevant and cool period objects and machinery to transform the ordinary into incredible Steampunk functional art. The Steampunk art and design process celebrates history, while setting a path for a re-imagined better future -- telling the personal stories of individuals, families, organizations and places.

Check out the full project and make a donation- visit the campaign page.

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