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Interview questions for new walking aid idea

Hi Everyone,

Im currently working , for my A Level in product design, on a product that can allow the user to sit down when necessary in a public environment whilst also making the product easily transportable and sturdy so it can hold an average weight fully.I am focusing on tackling issues facing people with MS and would be really grateful if you could answer the questions seen below.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Ben

Do you ever find carrying added weight to be a contributing factor to the symptoms of MS?

How often on average would a walking aid, such as a portable seat, need to be used?

How much of a priority is discretion in the design of a walking aid? For example if a product was bulky and possibly brought attention to the user would it put you off a purchase?

How much would you be willing to pay for a high quality walking aid?

If you need to sit down in a built up area what is the procedure?

Do you currently use any walking aids already on the market?

What do you look for in a product such as a walking aid? (e.g discretion, sturdiness)

Where is a common place that an aid would be useful?

How large would you expect a product such as this to be?

Would a product that could allow you to sit down at any time outdoors be useful to you currently?

Would using Environmentally friendly materials make you any more inclined to buy a product?

What is currently your largest problem with mobility that your face on a regular basis?

Hi Ben, A very good idea is for the handles to have a layer of cork around them. In summer our walking aides can get very sweaty. Alight carbon frame like those used on racing bikes. Reflectors for night time. Don’t forget that there is no vat on most disability aids. There is also in GB a team of engineers that can help people with disabilities . cant remember how to get in touch but they will be out there on the web. I,m sure they would be only to pleased to help. You need to keep all your ideas from start to finish as you will get more points. Good luck Ben. domesticgoddess.

Ben, i realise you are an A level student, but there are many types of these products on the market already. Know and walkers or strollers. (except in US where a stroller is a baby buggy!)

https://www.chums.co.uk/products/aw034/steel-tri-wheel-walker-with-seat?gclid=CjwKE

https://www.themobilityaidscentre.co.uk/buggies-pushchairs/walking-aids/rollators-and-tri-walkers

The reason for many of these items is with MS and many others conditions, the ability to walk far is compromised. Balance is affected, strength in the legs so 2 legs become no longer enough to get you from A to B. The need for a seat is cuz the legs get tired and standing in a queue, or for a bus is incredibly painful. The need for a little way to carry thing is cuz you can’t carry and walk at the same time!

It needs to be light and foldable, because the rollators work fine untill - steps; escalators, getting on a train or bus. You only have to get a wheelchair, a buggy and then one person with a rollator and you have a jammed bus!

Something to look at it peoples height. Taller ppl need a higher rollator, cuz they don’t bend so far down (if you see what I mean)

Thanks for the help, I am looking to make a less bulky version of products currently on the market to therefore increase the amount of discretion and decrease in public attention. I was just looking to have the questions seen above answered so I can get some feedback at the early stage and I need to include a client interview into my project.

thanks again,

Ben

Hi CC

Have you tried using a crutch rather than a stick? They provide a bit more stability than a stick, plus, you can loop them over your arm when out shopping. Thus the ‘stick hitting the floor’ thing doesn’t happen. You can buy quite jazzy sticks now, not just the NHS type. I used https://coolcrutches.com/ when I was a regular walker. (They are currently taking up residence in the overcrowded with junk garage along with my useless sticks!) Or a cheaper pair: Adjustable Economy Crutches - PURPLE - Crutches : Complete Care Shop There are many different types about in prices ranging from the step up from NHS Complete Care Shop variety to the more blingy expensive types.

Sue

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Hi Ben

I know that many people are bothered about looking more visibily disabled when they first use a walking aid. But they soon get over it as falling over is much more embarrassing than using a stick, crutch, walker, chair, etc.

What slightly bothers me about your questions is the inference that increased discretion and decreased public attention are both desirable attributes of a walking aid.

Many people in direct contrast actively add extra sparkly bits to their walking or wheeling aids. If you like, they ‘pimp’ their wheels or sticks. That’s why there are so many makers of brightly coloured sticks and crutches.

We (users of this site) tend to encourage people to use aids to enable more independence. Not to be worried about ‘looking disabled’, or cool, and not to worry about either discretion or public attention.

So from my perspective, while the weight of wheelchairs is an issue, equally the weight of a walker, what’s more important is how safe and useable they are. There are, as Reddvine pointed out, many walkers with seats available in addition to shooting sticks and any number of other devices for use by the disabled. I’m not completely convinced that you can come up with a design that’s radically different from other products already available.

In terms of walkers with seats, the best available is probably the Topro brand: https://www.topro.co.uk/ (they are available from other suppliers as well as direct from the company - often for lower costs too). Some of theirs come in different sizes and colours too: https://www.mobilitysmart.co.uk/topro-troja-2g-premium-rollator-pink-small.html

Sue

Hi sue, thanks for the links will have a mooch later. I agree with you too about jazzy and noticeable. I am proud to be disabled not ashamed and want people to view me as a happy person not a miserable old codger ha ha.

actually had visitors yesterday to look at my scooter i am selling. the lady was using a freestanding stick which i loved and she gaved me the link so buying one.

Premium Freestanding Pivoting HurryCane Walking Stick Tripod Foot | eBay (something so simple and obvious lol.

she didnt even try my scooter but her hubby did he loved it we had to drag him off it lol.

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Hi, There is a lot of equipment available on the market but in my opinion it is almost all rubbush. It looks too institutional, is clumsy, heavy and impractical. Another case in point is that the requirements of each person differ. I cannot walk unaided so carrying anything is a no-no. Indoors I use a Topro Troja rollator designed to b used indoors. It has four wheels, is very manoeuvrable, basket to carry things, you can buy a tray and a non stick mat I do not need a wheelchair because I can walk a few steps with a stick I hope that helps you

i manage fairly well with a stick.

when i go to the local co-op i always go to the lovely little coffee bar opposite to wait for a taxi.

i have found that if i carry two bags of equal weight i don’t need my stick so i fold it up and put it in one of the bags.

good luck with your A-levels.

they are hard exams. harder than a degree in my opinion.