Alan, we may have a problem with the new main tube position

The orange lines show the new main tube postion, leaving room under the tube for the one remaining joint. But this is bad because it raises up the rear part of the seat by 2". Not what we want to do. Unless we can put the hinge THROUGH the new main tube. Nah. that won't work.

Another approach. Let the new design morph down even more. Then adjust the head tube angle up to compensate. Need to check the result in the up mode. Don't want much negative trail there.
PROBLEM - this may run the gas spring through more of a travel than it has. It's changes like this that are tricky without having a full CAD model running. (Graham, what do you think?) On the other hand, we can just have George hook up the gas springs and lets see. But that can be tricky as well, due to all the weight needed to run the bike through its motions.

So does this look right?

I have eliminated the seat and bracket, and drawn in the new ovalized tube.... in both raised and lowered positions. Note that there is now only one pivot point under the seat area. If this accurately depicts the changes Bill and Rory have directed George to make, I would now like to create some ideas for how the seat assembly would be added.

The Morph III Gets Chopped, But That's a Good Thing

Rory and I met with George Reynolds on Thursday, April 5, 2009, to check on the progress of the Morph. We did some testing, and then made some pretty major revisions to the design, that included a whole lot of cutting! The PDF below explains.

Best way to view the PDF is to click on the "full screen" box on the far right.

PDF Overview of the day. (click on full screen box on upper right to enlarge the picture and view animations.)

Repost: 3D Man Meets President Obama And Queen Using Morphing Wheelchair - Animations

A modified version of the animation with fixed 1-second timing. I think our 3D man deserves clothing, or perhaps a stint at Weight Watchers. Note that previous version didn't show last two slides once it was converted from Quicktime to Flash.

3D man meets the Queen. Check out her truly blue outfit. Our man needs clothes. But at least they do see eye to eye.

3D Man Meets President Obama Using Morphing Wheelchair - Side View Animations - Click to start

Here are side view animations showing a 3D human to scale. This study shows where we WANT the morphing wheelchair to move to. HOW it does this is another question! Click to start the Flash movie. Don't blink, it goes by fast. If you download the original Quicktime movie (1.5MB) you can click through the slides.
Here is the original Keynote file. It wouldn't export to Powerpoint because we used "instant alpha" that Keynote offers.

Here is a PDF of the same file. Lets see which viewer is best. The Quicktime file is nice and small... 1.5MB. This PDF is similar to the Keynote file at about 12 MB.

A New Way to Tilt the Seat on Morph III - A Comparison with our Current Approach

This Powerpoint presentation looks at how we currently handle tilting the seat on the Morph III, and how we might modify the mechanism. The new idea is a way to allow the seat to tilt independently of the frame. This has some advantages in that it lets the rider move closer to the pedals as they tilt, rather than further away in the current design.

Stop Motion Animation of Morph III - A sequence of photos shows you how this frame transforms and how it fits together.

We took a ton of photos of Morph III and posted them earlier. Many were made to be combined into a stop-motion animation. Here it is. You can see the frame morph up, and then adjust seat angle. The animation at the end shows George Reynolds in Morph II.
George has been hard at work on the Morph, and now has a seat mounted, he's figured out how to adjust the seat back (using that old standby the bicycle quick release). He's also got a mechanism for adjusting and locking the seat tilt (also with bicycle quick release), and a mechanism to lock the frame in (both?) positions.

George is also working on mounting the locking gas spings, shown here on the scale, weighing in at 1lb, 12.8 oz. The locking mechanism is very important. As I understand it, the bike has about 600 lbs of gas spring force when it is in the low rider position. Currently, we have no locking mechanism on the Morph II gas springs, and this means that we cannot keep the bike in the low rider mode unless a rider is holding it down by sitting in it. For example, if a rider got out of the Morph in low rider mode (fell, or purposely got out, say to get on the grass), then the bike would "pop up" with some force.
The locking gas springs fix this. They won't move unless the rider is pressing the release button.

Improved, lightweight bushings. Take a look at this design. It's very clever, invented by George. These are off-the-shelf aluminum collars with set screws. Inside the T-shaped tube is a plastic bushing. It looks like the bushing provides side-to-side positioning and rotational friction reduction. To locate the two parts together, there is a thin steel tube that goes into the collars and is captured by the set screws. That's it. A lightweight, very strong joint. Nice design.

Another angle on the bushings and set screws.

A first Look at the Morphing Wheelchair

Below is an email between Alan Ball, our industrial designer, and Rory McCarthy. This is a very early sketch of the Morphing Wheelchair. The drawing shows the various seating postions that are desired. It goes from 30" bar stool height, to about 6" off the floor to get on the ground. In between is a high speed cruise height of about 17". At the extreme high end, is a 34" "reach mode."

More later on this, and look for its own blog at

From: Alan Ball <>
Date: January 8, 2009 9:17:41 AM EST
To: Rory McCarthy <>
Cc: Bill Warner <>
Subject: Fwd: mode overlay

Begin forwarded message:

From: Alan Ball <>
Date: January 8, 2009 9:16:41 AM EST
To: Rory McCarthy <>
Subject: mode overlay

Hi Rory,

Check out this photoshop document. I have overlaid all of the modes we discussed yesterday.

Any luck finding the Solidworks human you mentioned?


Alan Ball

Alan Ball Industrial Design
50 Francesca Ave
Somerville, MA 02144

617 718 9342 studio
617 733 2663 mobile

REPOST: Morph III Independent Seat Tilt Study - Test of various posting techniques

During our recent visit to George Reynolds shop to view the progress on Morph III, Rory McCarthy and I discussed the current approach to seat tilt correction. When the bike morphs up, the seat tilts forward. This is more pronounced on Morph III because it morphs through a larger range, and because we expect to start with the seat in the fully tilted-forward position. On Morph II, we have the seat fixed in one position because the tilt mechanism was very difficult to change. This leaves the seat tilted back even when you morph down, which hurts ergonomics significantly.
This presentation looks at how an independently-tilting seat might work. The current design integrates the seat and rear morphing frame. To adjust seat tilt, you essentially pull the wheels further under you, and that tilts the whole rear frame, including the seat.
This repost will look at various ways to post the information on Posterous. In the earlier post, we used .pptx but that had problems with fonts.

Here is the PDF version of the file

This is the .pps version of the file. This is a Powerpoint Show file, which should embed the fonts.