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A 3D-Printed Wheelchair Can Be Custom-Fitted for Users

The average wheelchair user spends 18 hours a day seated in his or her chair. But wheelchairs aren’t always comfortable, and if they fit improperly, can lead to pressure ulcers and other painful health issues.

London design agency Layer teamed up with the 3D printing software company Materialise to try to create a better wheelchair. According to designboom, creating the chair took six months of research with wheelchair users and medical professionals; the result, the 3D-printed GO wheelchair, is designed to be more comfortable, flexible, and customizable than standard wheelchairs. They’re lightweight and can be custom-tailored to the user’s measurements.

“One of the ways you can spot a true paraplegic is their feet on the footplate—they tend to pigeon-toe inwards,” one wheelchair user explained to the designers during the research process (according to a press release provided by the company). “For most of us, that is really frustrating because you don’t want to go around looking like that.” Others complained that they couldn’t get enough traction in wet conditions.

The chair is designed with a made-to-measure seat and foot-bay, and customers can choose add-ons like push bars or transfer bars. Layer is also developing gloves that will make it easier for its wheelchair’s users to propel themselves, reducing the long-term physical impact of using a wheelchair, such as shoulder arthritis.

The GO wheelchair is set to debut at Clerkenwell Design Week in the UK later this month. According to the company, it can be custom manufactured and delivered in two weeks.

[h/t designboom]

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
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Design
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

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Douglas Grundy, Three Lions/Getty Images
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geography
This 1940 Film on Road Maps Will Make You Appreciate Map Apps Like Never Before
Douglas Grundy, Three Lions/Getty Images
Douglas Grundy, Three Lions/Getty Images

In the modern era, we take for granted having constantly updated, largely accurate maps of just about every road in the world at our fingertips. If you need to find your way through a city or across a country, Google Maps has your back. You no longer have to go out and buy a paper map.

But to appreciate just what a monstrous task making road maps and keeping them updated was in decades past, take a look at this vintage short film, "Caught Mapping," spotted at the Internet Archive by National Geographic.

The 1940 film, produced by the educational and promotional company Jam Handy Organization (which created films for corporations like Chevrolet), spotlights the difficult task of producing and revising maps to keep up with new road construction and repair.

The film is a major booster of the mapmaking industry, and those involved in it come off as near-miracle workers. The process of updating maps involved sending scouts out into the field to drive along every road and note conditions, compare the roads against topographical maps, and confirm mileage figures. Then, those scouts reported back to the draughtsmen responsible for producing revised maps every two weeks. The draughtsmen updated the data on road closures and other changes.

Once those maps were printed, they were "ready to give folks a good steer," as the film's narrator puts it, quietly determining the success of any road trip in the country.

"Presto! and right at their fingertips, modern motorists can have [information] on any road they wish to take." A modern marvel, really.

[h/t National Geographic]

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