Fred McVarish

Fred McVarish

Product Design BSc

Step Forward

Treadmill therapy is a new up-and-coming therapy that aids infants with a risk of neuromotor delay at an early age, reducing the risk of their development being stunted. When a prelocomotor (pre-walking) infant is supported on a motorized treadmill, they begin to step and walk automatically with well-coordinated, alternating steps. This method will exercise an infant's muscles for independent walking, which ultimately reduces delay in development time. This project originates from one inspirational mother's determination to make treadmill therapy more accessible to parents after witnessing the positive impact it had on her child who suffers from Spina Bifida. Other conditions such as Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy that result in neuromotor delay create a huge community who can benefit from this therapy. Extensive product research and user observations were analysed to develop an innovative supportive hoop design that helps the child feel more secure and comfortable on the treadmill. The hoop is adjustable in size and height for children from 18 months to 8 years when walking development is most crucial. This impacts the development of a child's cognitive, social and emotional skills.