May 11, 2005: Rory McCarthy Very Early Email about “Transforming Wheelchair”

This is one of the earliest emails I could find about the Morph. Julian Groeli worked with Mike Augspurger at One-Off.



Subject: Re: Fw: transforming wheelchair

Date: May 11, 2005 11:28:45 AM EDT



Hello Julian,

Over the years, when Bill and I have been out handcycling (on a Hall handcycle, though the circumstances would be the same on a Top End / Invacare or Freedom Ryder handcycles)  I wished it would be possible when we got to a destination  - to enter a building or home - by converting or morphing the handcycle into a more compact, maneuverable, wheelchair-like vehicle which could allow the rider more accessibility to more places - more interior spaces and more exterior places with tight maneuverability.   Handcycles, like the ones I noted above (road bikes designed for longer distance and faster speeds) usually have a wide turning radius and lower seating position. This design is not optimal for other activities and mobility.  Thus the intent to have this morphing vehicle - "Morphing Mobility! "

The desire has been there to have / design / build a morphing handcycle/wheelchair for some time and as Bill noted - our intent is to develop one.

We should get together and discuss the possibilities.


Rory McCarthy

Bath, Maine


At 06:35 PM 5/10/2005 -0400, you wrote:


----- Original Message -----

From: "Julian Groeli" < 

To: "Bill Warner" < 

Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 10:58 AM

Subject: Re: transforming wheelchair



If possible I would like to help with the design and engineering of

this vehicle. This would extend from early concept development through

to a complete CAD model in SolidWorks for prototyping.


Currently I would like draw up a kind of spec sheet to detail all of

the required characteristics of each mode of operation (Turning Radius,

etc.) and the means of transformation (quick release, lever action,

etc.). This will help us find relationships and illustrate where our

most serious challenges will be.


The next stage would be to come up with a few concepts of how the

vehicle could transform, and to mock them up in CAD to see how they fit

together. This would then give us the preferred direction, that would

then be further refined for prototyping and testing.


I would like to talk more about this with you and with everyone else

involved to get to know the team.




On May 10, 2005, at 5:32 AM, Bill Warner wrote:




The bike wouln't have the mountain bike mode.


Three modes:


Upright handcycle ala New England Handcycles (blue bike on loan to

Mike) Racing bike, ala Bobby Hall...low, legs in frontWheelchair mode - somehow get rid of drive mechanism.


The world of transforming vehicles of any sort is quite small. Most

never attempt this because a special purpose vehicle is so much better than a

general purpose one.


However, if you can only take one vehicle with you, and you can't get

out of it, then a vehicle that can transform, even though it would be much

heavier, makes sense.


searched for "transforming bicycle" ...  Shows a rear

wheel approach that would allow slow speed stability, but titlt cornering!


One design that does transform is the folding bicycle. A little

different because it is active only when unfolded, and when folded, it just sits

there. Nevertheless, instructive:


Julian... what would you like to do on this project? Its not very well

formed yet, but the intent is there!


-- Bill


----- Original Message -----

From: < 

To: "Bill Warner" < 

Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 10:44 AM

Subject: transforming wheelchair


 Dear Mr. Warner


 My father-in-law, Charlie Brenner, just told me about your project to

 develop a transforming wheelchair. I understand that your ideal

 solution would encompass the roles of a wheelchair, a mountain bike

 and a street bike. While working at One-Off I was also thinking of a

 similar design, except without the "street-bike" mode. Either way,

 this presents a substantial design challenge, but the resulting product

 would make a world of difference.


 I would like to learn more about your project, and would welcome the

 chance to contribute to the design and engineering process.


 Thank you,

 Julian Groeli