An Assistive Walking Device for Geriatric Patients
Student Team: WalkNRoll
Shreenu Sivakumar, Fang Shi, Suraj Vuduta, and Asher Sutherland
Falls are one of the most critical health issues; an older adult dies every 19 minutes from a fall-related injury. Many elderly people are prescribed walking aids as a preventative measure for falls and although walkers are designed to provide balance control during everyday walking scenarios, there is a striking incidence of geriatric individuals experiencing repeated falls whilst using a walking aid. More specifically, the walker has been identified to create situations where users are more likely to fall, especially during everyday walking scenarios. Ultimately, elderly patients lack an assistive walking device that reliably meets the breadth of everyday walking scenarios. The overall goal of the project was to develop a walker that provides support, balance and rest for a geriatric user with difficulties walking to a greater degree than existing walkers. We envisioned a device that maintains a supportive functionality for the user when in a form that takes up less space, for easy transition between the stability of the full walker, useful when walking longer distances, and a folded form that helps with navigation in tighter spaces. In addition, we wanted a device whose mechanics enable a flexible base of support that can expand in the direction of motion to provide support if the user needs to lean outside their normal range of motion. Our final concept is a sliding walker with a convertibility from walker to cane. Our device is functional both as a walker and cane, allowing support in both walking and transitioning into or out of walking. Stress and fatigue analysis was also performed on our device using a SolidWorks simulation and we found that our device is safe and reliable.
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