How a wheelchair led to fast cars, aeroplanes and the Hyperloop

When Patrick Hessel was a teenager he remembers standing on the corner of the street in New York behind a man in a wheelchair. The man was struggling to get something out of the backpack that was hung behind his seat. “The poor guy was trapped,” Mr Hessel, now 34, recalls. “He was vulnerable because the only storage space was behind his seat. He had no control. It was not practical.” Mr Hessel, who was announced as the Slovak country winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year earlier this year, set about designing a new type of wheelchair with a spokeless wheel that made it possible to access storage space underneath the seat. He designed it using carbon fibre which made the wheelchair stronger and lighter as well as much easier to fold up. Mr Hessel entered his innovative wheelchair design in a competition and came second.

By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.