I am constantly inspired by the individuals who use wheelchairs. Their determination and problem solving capabilities to overcome different physical limitations to fulfill their dreams amazes me every day.
As a development engineer in the power wheelchair department at Swedish MedTech company Permobil, I am lucky enough to hear the stories of those who use a wheelchair.
With this build I wanted to celebrate inclusivity by building a fully functioning Permobil F5 Corpus VS power wheelchair in Lego. In so many ways, Lego is the perfect match to make a high functioning wheelchair re-creation because anyone and everyone can build with Lego.
A power wheelchair is a very advanced electromechanical product and I think that there are lots of people out there that are fascinated by wheelchairs and their capabilities. What better way than to build your own to learn how they work and function. As a bonus, you get an insight into the challenges and lives of wheelchair users.
I chose an F5 Corpus VS since it’s a high-end product and one of the best-looking wheelchairs out there! (maybe I am a little biased on that). I wanted to include all the features and moving parts in the build because there is no point in having a model of this chair if no-one can see the cool stuff it does.
This model measures 160 mm long, 120 mm wide and 170 mm tall, made up by just over 400 pieces.
The model includes a combined anterior & posterior tilt mechanism which allows the seat to be tilted backwards for pressure relief to prevent bed sores and forwards so the person can reach things easier.
The build also moves the seat into a full standing position. The VS in F5 Corpus VS stands for Vertical Stander, which means that the wheelchair can go all the way to a standing position, with working parallel linkage for leg-, back- and arm rests. On the real thing this is electronically controlled through your joystick and enables the person to interact and participate better with others and their environment.
On the Lego model it is controlled by inserting and rotating a shaft from behind so you can see how all the intricate linkages and mechanisms work to enable this function.
Being able to stand and move in your wheelchair means that people can be a part of those major life moments such as escorting your daughter at a wedding or being at eye-level when you want to have a dance with friends in your living room.
Just as the actual F5 Corpus VS, my Lego model has individual suspension on all four wheels to provide a comfortable ride on uneven surfaces and working rear caster wheels so that it maneuvers smoothly
I included many of the small details on the build both to make it as interactive as possible but also as accurate as possible. So the model wheelchair has foldable arm rests and foot plates, which in reality would help the person when transferring, for example, between a bed and the wheelchair.
I’ve done my best to include many of the features that the real wheelchair has in this reasonably sized creation. I struggled quite a bit with getting the geometry of the standing feature to work, but that's also what's so rewarding with Lego, once you finally figure it out.
I hope that you all enjoy it and would like to support it!