Entrepreneurs are people who are known to “reinvent the wheel”. Sam Pearce took this seriously and reinvented the wheel. Sam is the British designer who created Loopwheel, a spokeless, wheel that is being used on bicycles and wheelchairs. Sam is a design consultant and an inventor. He has worked on 3D folding mechanisms, motorbikes, non-invasive surgery equipment, and early handheld personal computers of the Palm Pilot era.
Sam always has something new. In 2007, while he was sitting in an airport in the Netherlands waiting for his flight, he noticed a woman pushing a baby stroller. As the woman reached the curb, she didn’t lift the front wheels, the stroller hit the curb, and the child moved forward. After observing this, Sam started thinking of including a suspension in the wheel.
Strollers have shock absorbers underneath the seat to help reduce bounciness, but this doesn’t keep the wheels from bouncing backward when they hit a curb. In a matter of about five seconds, Sam had a new idea. He began thinking of a system that could incorporate shock absorption directly into the wheels to make them capable of rolling flexibly over bumps instead of just rebounding. Sam then drew a sketch and put it aside for two years.
During that time, Sam couldn’t see how he could make one, but he had lots of ideas, and this one kept coming back to him. Come 2009, Sam took some rubber piping from a rain gutter, cut it into strips measuring six inches each. He then looped those around inside a plywood wheel and started running it over a tabletop while using his fingers as dummy speed bumps. Sam got so excited that something important could come out of this prototype.
Sam has been working hard on shock-absorbing wheels, and after about 70 iterations, he came up with the right design that he describes as a “carbon composite construction”.
Shock-Absorbing Wheels Are Very Crucial To Wheelchair Users
The wheels first debuted on bikes, and later wheelchair manufacturers got the wind and started sourcing them from Sam. The suspension in the Loopwheels gets rid of the entire road buzz and smoothens out any traveling over bumps. That’s crucial to wheelchair users, whose bodies are in full contact with the vehicle, meaning they often absorb road shock right along with the chair.