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Improved Design of Mobility Devices

Michael Beech, Dionsse Carti, Chase Craft and Leah Fiedler

Aging populations and individuals with physical limits often transition from the relative freedom of using a walker to the confinement of a wheelchair quickly. Our project goal was to design an improved assistive mobility device that helps the user maintain physical activity to help stay out of a wheelchair. The NewWalk improves three key features of the traditional walker: posture influence, adjustability and weight transfer. 

Current walkers require users to reach out in front of them causing bad posture and potential back problems. The NewWalk, however, features forearm supports at roughly elbow height that allow users to stand upright with adequate support. These arm supports also feature height, width and angle adjustment, an improvement over current walkers that allow height adjustment at best. This wide range of adjustability allows for a perfect fit for every individual. 

The direction and weight placement between the user and device also poses a problem. Most walkers require the user to bend over and transfers weight to their hands, which can be tiring and cause joint stress. NewWalk transfers weight directly to the shoulders. To relieve stress on joints, NewWalk includes gas shocks for the two forearm supports. These improvements mean NewWalk provides more mobility and relief to a wide range of users and improves their overall quality of life.

Team Members (L to R):
Michael Beech, Dionsse Carti, Chase Craft and Leah Fiedler
Michael Devine, Ph.D.
FAMU-FSU Engineering