Cara O'Sullivan

Cara O'Sullivan

Industrial Design and Technology BA

Evolvable Walking Aid Kit

Affordable solution to mobility rehabilitation across developing regions of the world

Over 18% of the global population has moderate, severe or extreme difficulty with walking. The global need for walking aids is set to keep rising as the population grows and ages. Whether it's a walking stick, crutches or a walking fame, it is important that people are provided with the correct type of support as their conditions change in order to prevent further injury or falls. Existing walking aids and the systems for distributing them are inefficient and unsustainable, and generally focus on short-term relief rather than long-term development. This is particularly noticeable in rural developing regions of the world where access to walking aids is extremely limited, particularly for children, which can prevent them from getting an education or participating in their community. The Evolvable Walking Aid Kit offers a long-term and affordable solution to mobility rehabilitation across developing regions of the world in the form of a range of parts which can be easily assembled to create a walking frame, crutches or a walking stick; once assembled, it can be adjusted and personalised to suit the user. To ensure the design is appropriate for such a widespread need, crucial contextual insights were gathered throughout the design process by collaborative partners in Africa and India as well as by visiting a rehabilitation centre in rural Peru. By utilising globally available materials and tailoring the manufacturing methods to use only hand-tools, the whole kit can be locally produced in a sustainable manner for just 68 pence, making it accessible to people in developing regions of the world living on less than $2 a day and hence reducing their dependence on charity aid. A visual diary and further information about the project can be found at www.facebook.com/meru.llama .