Folding-wheel carry-on Revolve Air wheelchair is now available for purchase
When it comes to air travel, wheelchair users definitely face some challenges. That's where the Revolve Air wheelchair comes in, as it can be folded up – wheels and all – to qualify as carry-on baggage.
We first heard about the Revolve Air two years ago, when it was still in prototype form. Now, it's available for purchase via a Kickstarter campaign. The chair was invented by Italian mobility designer Andrea Mocellin, and incorporates his trademark Revolve folding wheel technology.
Each of the wheelchair's two 24-inch wheels feature a central hub, six folding aluminum structures that take the place of traditional spokes, and an aluminum rim that's divided into six interlocking sections – each of those sections is clad in a length of foam-filled tire.
A locking mechanism in the hub keeps the whole thing securely in the form of a conventional wheel, when it's in use. Once it's time to stow the wheel, though, a release of that mechanism allows the two sides of the hub to spread apart from one another, so the "spokes" and rim sections can be folded down and stored between them – sort of like the ribs of an umbrella.
The tubular aluminum frame of the Revolve Air likewise folds up, essentially acting as a carrying case for the two folded wheels. In this configuration, the wheelchair's size is reduced by 60%, allowing it to be stowed in an airliner's overhead baggage compartment. The whole package weighs a claimed 10.8 kg (23.8 lb).
Ordinarily, wheelchair users have to check their chair as luggage (meaning it could get lost or damaged), then arrange for special airport-supplied chairs for getting on and off the plane. With the Revolve Air, they can just get onboard, pack up their chair and stick it above their seat.
Assuming the wheelchair reaches production, a pledge of €4,681 (about US$4,939) will get you one – the planned retail price is $4,950. It's also possible to just get two Revolve wheels, that can be swapped onto a third-party folding wheelchair. They go for €2,838 ($2,995) a set (retail $3,500).
You can see the Revolve Air in use, in the video below.