Reasones behindfor that the shape of the Paralympic wheelchair

Country/area: Japan

Organisation: Nikkei

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 27/08/2021

Credit: Satoshi.Kimura,Kento.Awashima,Kaori Noka,Kosaku Mimura,Gaku.Ito,Hiroshi Kunou,Akihiro Tojo


This project was created in collaboration with a reporter from the sports department and an engineer/designer from the Data Visualization Center. The Data Visualization Center was launched in 2021 and is working on content creation using new digital technology.

Project description:

Wheelchairs support athletes at the Paralympic games, but why are those bodies of those used by athletes so long? Why do those used for tennis have tilted wheels? This project explains the wheelchairs used for each event with 3D models.

Impact reached:

The 3D models clearly show that even wheelchairs for the same Paralympic Games have different shapes depending on the event. The project explained the reasons behind these differences through narrative writing. Readers were able to gain a deeper understanding of the Paralympics while viewing the 3D models.

Techniques/technologies used:

We developed a unique editing system that enables interactive 3D representations of the wheelchairs. We used a technique called photogrammetry to create 3D models using photographs taken from multiple directions. This enabled readers to view the 3D model and other visual content on their web browsers.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Modeling the 3D models to appear correctly on web browsers proved challenging. It was also difficult to address restrictions on web content, such as data capacity limits.

What can others learn from this project?

This project demonstrates how to effectively use 3D models. The technique can express various “shapes,” such as buildings, terrain and sports equipment. Furthermore, this technique enables content to be created in a short time through the use of templates.

Project links: