Gallery: Rocky Roads are No Match for the Shape-Shifting Roadless Wheel


The shape-shifting Roadless Wheel is a one-size-fits-all solution for different vehicle types and road conditions in rural Africa. Student of Innovation Design Engineering at London’s RCA, Ackeem Ngwenya used the principle of a scissor jack to make the wheel grow shorter and wider, or taller and narrow, to adjust to rough roads in areas with no infrastructure.

Ngwenya grew up in a farming community in Malawi, where he witnessed how the absence of infrastructure affects the economic development of an entire area. Even today it is not unusual to see people carrying head loads of up to 25kg of goods for more than 10km.

The Roadless Wheel aims to address with a cheaper alternative to actually building up a decent infrastructure network. The shapeshifting wheel comprises the first step towards an infrastructure-independent means of transportation that targets the mobility needs of farmers and rural households.

Ngwenya was supposed to graduate last June, but his tuition money ran out, which is why he started the IndieGogo campaign. The funds collected through the campaign is expected to help him complete his studies and continue working on this innovative project.

+ Roadless Wheel IndieGogo Campaign

Via Core77


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1 Comment

  1. Eletruk October 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Two things: IndieGoGo campaign has ended, so you won’t be able to contribute.

    As far as the wheel goes, there’s going to be some real difficulty finding a suitable material to use for the wheel covering. Something stretchy enough to handle the diameter change would more than likely be too flimsy when fully stretched out (assuming you can even find a material that stretches that much).
    The other option is forgo the covering and terminate each section with wire mesh or something similar.

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