Mobility Aids & Your Experience - The NEXT Walking Aid Innovation! (Research Project) — Scope | Disability forum
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Mobility Aids & Your Experience - The NEXT Walking Aid Innovation! (Research Project)

AlexHolmes
AlexHolmes Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited April 1 in News and opportunities
Hi everyone! 

Hope you've been safe and keeping a positive mind frame.

Just thought this might be an appropriate forum to reach out to based around a current project of mine...

The intention is to create a walking aid for people in later life (or anyone it will benefit for that matter) which will enhance their independence, without the stigma of using an assistive product and doesn’t restrict the user or conform them to a smooth, flat surface. Allowing them greater freedom and independence for leisure purposes, bettering their quality of life and social well-being.

I would love some feedback about the above statement and questions below if its not too invasive to ask...

• Are there any limitations you have with currently mobility devices? If so, what would you add/improve? Or possibly even remove...

• Do you feel there is a stigma around assistive products in general that may either be embarrassing to use or off putting?
- My opinion is that they look rather medical and mainly focused around frugal principles of making it cheap to manufacture and purchase.

• Would a power assist similar to power steering aid you in any way?

• How about a forearm rest which enables you to apply more weight on the walker and feel lighter? Possibly encouraging longer walks as it may be easier and reduce strain on joints. Could this even promote fitness and motivate you to go out more? Hopefully resulting in a greater mental well being and confidence producing more independency - walk confidently anywhere!

• How would you prefer to steer the product? Possibly using your whole core body strength? How about a moving joystick? Or a fixed handle to have complete control and stability with simple thumb controls? Are there any other options you may prefer?

• Are there any terrains you are unable to venture on? This product would move smoothly through rougher terrains such as; cobbled paths, sandy beaches, uneven surfaces such as; parks, woodland trails and even your garden. This would also slowly glide you up an incline and support you going down a decline. Are there any others you might think it could benefit?

• If you are also able to start off with your mobility condition and age that would be extremely helpful but I appreciate if that's too personal...

If there's anything else you'd like to add that would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Alex


Comments

  • Caz_Alumni
    Caz_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 624 Pioneering
    Welcome to the community @AlexHolmes

    Thank you for the post about your current project. This looks like an interesting innovation and I can understand why you would want to get some feedback about this from our online community.

    Before we allow you to conduct any research on the community, would you mind dropping us an email to [email protected], just to confirm whether or not you will be collecting any personal details from our members as part of this research. It looks like that's not the case, but if so, please could you let us know what type of personal information will you be collecting and how will your data be managed and stored?

    Also, just to let you know that I've moved your original post into our Events, research and opportunities section. 

    Thanks very much. 

    @Caz_Scope
    Online Community Coordinator (she/her)

    Want to give us feedback? Complete our feedback form now.
  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,414

    Scope community team

    edited April 1
    Hi all,

    Just to confirm this research opportunity has been checked and verified as safe to participate in by the community team.  No personal details will be collected and responses will anonymously steer the direction of @AlexHolmes project.  Good luck Alex.

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  • Jean Eveleigh
    Jean Eveleigh Member Posts: 156 Pioneering
    Personally, I would prefer my walking frame to wrap around from behind me and have forearm rests, it may seem vain but people will see me and my clothes not my frame first.

    With the ability to fold down a seat that will clip out of the way when not in use to allow the frame to sit closer to my body for support, as well as footplates that also clip out of the way when not in use and extra handles that can be pushed from behind me so it can turn into a transit wheelchair, much larger wheels than you currently get it, the size of wheels on a children (up to 10yo) pushbike would allow for rougher terrain such as dog walking in the local forest and the ability to carry some bags of shopping - currently all the weight has to be at the front making pushing near impossible and the frame tips if it hits any bumps or uneven paving slabs - so it is easier to use my manual wheelchair as a walking frame than my actual walking frame.


    You said that currently equipment looks as if it is cheap to make and cheap to purchase, it may look and be cheap to make but it certainly isn't cheap to purchase.
  • AlexHolmes
    AlexHolmes Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi Jean, thank you so much for your detailed response! Not vain at all! I can see many benefits of having the frame wrap around from the back, however given if i go forward with the powered assist solution there could be some safety concerns there...

    You mentioned the weight being an issue, maybe having that powered drive could be a solution to that? I mainly thought of this as it relieves the weight of the user even more. But a side effect of this is that it would increase the weight of the product... Is lifting your walker wheelchair device and moving it around more important that having something that makes you walk easier and more efficiently? Another positive side effect to this is that it would add much more stability.

    And you're absolutely right about the cost, they're still a fortune. But i believe most are made as cheap as they possibly can using standard tubing without increasing the price even more for a fancier design.

    Great response, thank you!

    Regards,

    Alex
  • Jean Eveleigh
    Jean Eveleigh Member Posts: 156 Pioneering
    I'm not sure power assist would help with a walking frame as part of the way they hold you up is by bracing your weight and with power assist you would not be putting your weight on that side properly as you have to grip with power assist you do not grip in the same way, also power assist would put more weight on the side it is on which would mean the frame is off balanced.

    Power Assist may help others though just not for me.

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