One month into the project and we’re well under way with the walking aid kit design now. The project aims to offer long term walking aid users with the ideal type of support throughout changes in their condition by providing a walking aid kit which can be assembled like a LEGO® set to form a walking stick, crutches or a walking frame. By eliminating the need to buy more than one type of walking aid the design aims to reduce costs and improve the mobility rehabilitation experience.
The past month has been focused on putting together the project foundations and refining the design specification. As well as analysing health and safety standards and identifying design constraints, there have been some insightful talks with walking aid users, occupational therapists and physiotherapists about their experiences with various walking aids. I visited a mobility rehabilitation centre with several different types of crutches which meant they needed a huge store room to keep them all in alongside all the sticks, walking frames and all sorts of other equipment! The most progressive activity of the project this month has been meeting with designers and engineers to discuss potential manufacturing methods for the kit. Keeping the manufacturing costs low is integral to the final product so these discussions will have significant influence on the design.
We’re moving in to a brand new makerspace for entrepreneurs!
In September the project will move to the Central Research Laboratory (CRL) which is the UK’s first purpose built facility dedicated to entrepreneurial makers. As well as providing workshop space and machinery to assist with prototyping and testing the design, the CRL will also provide mentoring for the business side of the project so there will be lots to learn! A few weeks ago I was invited to talk at an event at The Old Vinyl Factory to introduce the Evolvable Walking Aid Kit to an audience of people who wanted to learn how they could help start-ups to thrive- It was a great evening as well as my first glimpse of the future home to the CRL!
Our design journey is being supported by the Inclusive Technology Prize, you can check out the other finalist’s posts by following this link.