SK8OPIA – Skate Ethiopia

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These are great news from our Ethiopia-based partner iceaddis: a student recently designed a new wheel for skateboards that can be produced in Ethiopia – made and designed in Africa. Reinventing the wheel? Eh!

Bauhaus product design student Daniel Scheidler presented his bachelor project on affordable and locally appropriate vehicles for individual transport in Ethiopia. Through extensive field research in Addis Ababa, Daniel concluded that new roads of good quality have been built across the city and the country, but owning a car is still far too costly for the great majority of the population, while the public transport system (buses & taxis) on the other hand is overcrowded. Derived from personal experience in the skateboard scene, Daniel’s proposed solution is a locally adapted type of skateboard, as a viable option for the daily transport needs of the urban masses.

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Of central importance to the concept is the wheel, which was especially designed for easy production with locally available materials. Up until now, any complete wheel on the Ethiopian market, be it for bicycles, wheelchairs or skateboards, has been an expensive import from abroad. Daniel’s prototype relies on a core out of spray foam insulation, cast with a reusable mold and supported by a fiberglass coating and leather or rubber from used tires. The wheel design is meant to be gradually enhanced and adapted through the iterative process of small-scale local manufacturing.

See it all in action here (@ 01:33):

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(via icebauhaus, thx!)

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  3. Good wheels can make a major difference in riding a skateboard, but I bet this new wheel could also be very interesting for other implementations, like steps and bikes.