How do we develop a mobility device that maintains the sense of security without compromising posture in order to enable the aging population to maneuver independently and safely?
TIMELINE WEEK WEEK 11
Visit Warm Hearth, begin research
Present research, select groups
WEEK 2 Research independently
WEEK 5 Research as group
WEEK WEEK 13 13
Final form decision, make prototypes 2 and 3
Final model and presentation
Revisit Warm Hearth, determined direction
Talk to physical therapist, begin prototyping process
Group ideationon user and direction
Continue making stronger prototype, procure detailed drawing with measurements, order final model supplies
Enforce next protototype with stronger materials
Start final model and presentation
WEEK 6 Ideation with new research, present ideas to class
PROBLEM One of the greatest problems elders face is exterior mobility. With age, comes problems such as impaired motor functions which leads to falls. The fear of falling causes the aging population to be bound to their homes. Isolation and depression are direct consequences of being homebound. Elders with increased mobility are fitter, healthier and happier.
2 million + senior adults are h omebound in the United States.
95 % of adults 6 5 + do not l i ve i n a r et ir em en t h o me .
4 million adults 65+ use mobility devices.
PROBLEM FRAMING We started by researching all the problems senior adults experience with exterior mobility, and discussed their limits and barriers. Then we analyzed our research in brainstorming sessions. Categorizing issues
Identifying areas of opportunity
KEY INSIGHT WHAT DID WE LEARN? We started by researching exterior mobility and falls. Then we went to Warm Hearth, a retirement communit y in the area and spoke to a focus group of residents and a care-taker. We discovered that people are comfortable with their current devices, but are unknowingly sacrificing their good posture to use those devices. We decided to tackle the problem of poor posture and ask a new question: How can we enable the aging population to use a walker without compromising their posture?
POOR POSTURE lea d s t o f a l l s b e ca u se o f...
B A L A NCE d e creas e d b a la n c e cau se d b y m i s a l i g n e d ce n t e r o f g r a v it y.
d e crea se d o xyg e n to b rain.
decreased awareness of surroundings.
E X P E R T S AY S ... AMA NDA Physic al Therapis t
â€œPeople who use walkers now push the walker out in front of them and adjust them to improper heights which contributes to them developing poor posture.â€?
SCAPULAR RE TRACTION P o s tu re i m provem ent s c an be m a d e b y encour aging scapul ar r etr a c tio n. Scapular r et racti on, or th e lo weri ng of t he shoulder b la d e s c an be achieved by l i f t in g the arms up and out.
CURRENT MARKE T
encourages bad posture habits
heavy components when adding features
encourage incorrect use
Current walkers on the market are used to increase balance and stability, however with extended use of the walker encourages the user to hunch over and develop poor posture habits. Poor posture then in turn decreases the usersâ€™ balance and stability. This contradiction is what our walker addresses. 10
DESIGN OPPORTUNITIES How do we develop a mobility device that m a i n t a i n s th e s e n s e of security w ithout compromising p o s t u r e ?
C O MPACT
We want to create something that fits your car, your coat closet, and your bathroom.
EA S Y TO C A R RY
We want the product to be manageable. It shouldn’t be a hassle to get you from one place to another - even if you’re carrying your walker.
L E S S M E D I CAL We love the playfullness of tennis balls just not at the bottom of your aluminum tubing device.
POST URE We want to help you in the long run (or walk). Giving you bad posture doesn’t help anyone. We’re here to give you confidence and to help keep you upright.
MOODBOARD sporty, ergonomic, bold, confident
I D E AT I O N While iterating, we wanted to genenrate forms that expressed confidence. In addition we focused on developing an ergonomic arm piece which contains visual cues that promote the correct use of the walker.
PROTOT YPES arm condition
center of balance
Initially we used materials such as PVC pipes that could be manipulated quickly and gradually progressed to sturdier mate rials that were closer to what the walker would ideally be made out of. We experimented with shifting the center of gravity for optimal balance and security, added cross bars for strength, and tested wheel conditions to maximize maneuverability. 14
POSTURE CORRECTION Good posture has more than just medical benefits. Standing tall and upright also increases a personâ€™s confidence which makes them feel more comfortable in their surroundings.
F E AT U R E S
B E N D A C T UAT E D B R E A K
A breaking system that is integrated into the form of the handles and is visually hidden.
A crossbar that extends out far enough that doesnâ€™t impede the userâ€™s stride.
Wheels that rotate allowing the walker to be easily manuvable.
MODEL MAKING Prototyping was an extremely important part of our process in pushing ideas forward and refining our project direction. Iterating through physical models gave us a sense of how the users interact with the walker, and how the walker interacts with the environment.
COMPONENT PIECES Materials Bo d y : Al u m i num Ar ms : P o l y p r o p yl e n e Wh e e l s: Po l y u r e t h a n e o n a l umi n u m Po l y p r o p y l e n e Fa s t e n e rs : St a i n l e s s S t ee l
P OR TABI L I T Y
1 Fully extended
2 Arms telescope down
3 Handles rotate inward
4 Completely compact
The foldable components allow for safe handling and easy transport from one location to another.
PRODUC T L IFE CYCLE
PRESCR I BE
Person has trouble walking, goes to physician.
Doctor suggests a mobility device.
RECYCL E When walkers are returned, parts that are usable are recycled + refurbished into new walkers.
This prevents users from adjusting the walker in ways that aren’t conducive to their health.
ME A SURE
RECEI V E
User will be measured and fitted with an Uppo that fits the person’s exact dimensions and experts will recommend one of the three sizes; small, medium, large.
You receive your walker; assemble it, and go about your daily life.
* MA IN TA INENCE Our idea is that when a piece breaks, you shouldn’t have to get a whole new walker - You should be able to just fix the piece that is broken.
The bottom cross bar functions as a handle bar for easy carrying.
The front cross bar has areas for hands to grab while going up or down stairs. The light skeleton al so enables easier lifting.
“The handles make it extremely easy to hold and maneuver. If I was someone with arthritic hands I wouldn’t have a problem holding on at all since there’s so much support for the whole arm. Having the handles elevated makes me want to stand up taller and makes me feel more robust than if I was hunched over a standard walker.”
Walk with Confidence. Walk with uppo.
C ha rle ne L er tlum pr aser t cha rl9 4 @vt.edu E mma Le e emm a le e @v t.edu Ge ne s is Solano sge n e sis@v t.edu Ge rrold Walker III g er ro l dw @v t.edu L ane He ring lhe r i n email@example.com