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International Runner Up

Gecko Traxx

portable off-road access for wheelchair users.

  • Hero Image - Gecko Traxx

  • Gecko Traxx Overview

    Gecko Traxx Overview

  • Product Rendering - Gecko Traxx

  • Profile Progression - Gecko Traxx

  • Clip Detail - Gecko Traxx

  • Concept and Development Sketches - Gecko Traxx

What it does

Gecko Traxx is a portable and affordable manual wheelchair accessory that enables off-road access. They are a unique, flexible tyre that wraps around existing on-road tyres and allows wheelchair users to access the beach and off-road terrain independently.


Your inspiration

After a personal experience of spending time in a wheelchair, I quickly realised how challenging it was to access the natural environment. Soon after, I saw how hard it was for a good friend and long-time wheelchair user, to access the beach and witnessed him become stuck in the sand. I was astounded that current options available are not portable, expensive and don’t provide an adequate level of independence which many of us take for granted. Hence, Gecko Traxx was born from a goal to create a ‘portable way for manual wheelchair users to access the beach’ and a desire to enable access to the great outdoors regardless of ability.


How it works

The design of the tyre cross section is what makes Gecko Traxx so beautifully simple and effective. The unique cross-section is unobtrusive when fitted to the wheelchair and expands when in contact with the ground, increasing the contact surface area by three times only where needed. It returns to the thin profile allowing for unimpeded use of the push rim and no interference with the wheelchair frame. The simple design is easily manufactured, is robust and thus more affordable than any other solution. Gecko Traxx works across a wide range of terrains including; sand, snow, soft grass and gravel. The simple, integrated clip can be used even with limited dexterity and enables the individual to fit the tyres to their wheelchair independently without the need to transfer out of the wheelchair. Gecko Traxx allows travel and access to the outdoors and natural environment to be easy and spontaneous; enabling positive social engagement within the wider community.


Design process

The problem realisation began from personal experience in a wheelchair and then was fuelled after witnessing the difficulty a friend had in accessing the beach with his wheelchair. 1. Firstly, the problem was broken down. Wheelchairs didn’t work on sand and soft, off-road terrains due to do a lack of surface area, causing them to become bogged. 2. To generate a range of concepts and gain inspiration for how to creatively increase surface area, I turned to the natural environment. The most promising concept was inspired by a gecko foot. 3. I then translated what a gecko foot might look like in a tyre format. 4. A range of flexible 3D printed TPU cross-sections were produced to determine if it would fit onto a standard wheelchair. 5. These profiles were tested and iterated until the performance was optimised. 6. Lots of the same cross-section were printed in TPU and glued together to create a full tyre. This process repeated multiple times. 7. A prototype mould was designed and machined to enable Gecko Traxx tyres to be moulded. 8. Market demand was validated through online presales and enquires. Finally, extrusion manufacturers are now being selected and gearing up for production.


How it is different

There are currently no products like Gecko Traxx. The closest product is an off-road wheel-set fitted with chunky tyres, which one individual likened to ‘carrying a drum kit with you.’ Unlike any other method, people can use their own wheelchair to access the off-road environments and do not have to transfer out of their chair to fit the tyres. Gecko Traxx is fully recyclable. The final product is extruded from TPU, hence once the product reaches the end of its lifecycle, it can be returned, shredded and re-moulded into a new tyre Gecko Traxx is extremely scalable and has enormous potential for impact in developing countries where environments are typically challenging and inaccessible for people with a disability. Gecko Traxx enables people to be independent and mobile in environments that otherwise are extremely challenging and inaccessible for standard wheelchairs. Due to the unique design, Gecko Traxx has been patented in both Australia and the US.


Future plans

Having pre-sold 12 sets of Gecko Traxx and validated the demand for the product, I am working towards manufacturing and commercialising the product. By creating a for-profit, for-impact business model, I am wanting to maximise the impact Gecko Traxx can have for people with disability. This is just the beginning, eventually, Gecko Traxx will just be one product of a whole range of outdoor products that enables people with limited mobility to access and enjoy the great outdoors. This range will be sold through mainstream outdoor brands such as Patagonia, Columbia, North Face for example in a bid to normalise assistive technology products.


Awards

Good Design Australia – Best in Category – Next Gen: Social Impact; Good Design Australia – Best in Category – Next Gen: Product Design; Melbourne Accelerator Program 2019; Foundation of Young Australians Pitch Winner; Most Outstanding Graduate–Industrial Design; Graduate of the Year–Nominee–Design Institute of Australia;


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