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Project 14: Outdoor Walker

Abstract

Our goal is to construct an off-roading walker for a young boy with RTS syndrome. Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome in a genetic disease that affects mobility because of low muscle tone in the patients. Due to this, our client requires a walker to assist him in moving around.

Emily Hembree, Isaac Walker, Cullan Callahan, Derek “DJ” Jones, Kelby Castleberry

Problem Statement

For our project, we are creating a walker that has the ability to function on rough terrain such as grass, gravel, and tile. The walker also has to be adjustable height and width wise to accommodate his needs for a long time. We plan to make detachable accessories for the walker to help increase the comfort for him.

Design Specifications

  • Mobile – Walker must be on wheels to accommodate the user’s mobility requirements.
  • Stable – Walker must be wide enough to provide stability on uneven ground.
  • Off-road capability – Walker must be able to traverse rough terrain without getting stuck.
  • Adjustable – Adjustable width and height, enough to fit through a 30” door frame as well as to grow with the user, who is currently 40.5 inches tall.
  • Lightweight – Weight should ideally be less than 20 lb, for ease of transport. 
  • Portable – Folding design for easy transport in vehicles.
  • Customizable – Include accessories such as a basket, cupholder, bike horn, seat, and guiding handle.
  • Cost – Keep project materials and processes within budget.

Background Research

 

The photos attached show his current walker, which is a Rifton Pacer. We met with his father to discuss him and the design specifications for the walker. We still have to meet again to see the walker in person and also to see how he uses his current one. However, in our meeting, his father explained the following:

  • He has RTS Syndrome, meaning he has low muscle tone and isn’t able to pick up the walker on his own
  • His current walker is a Rifton Pacer
  • The father requested adjustable height and width for the walker to be able to grow with Wayland
  • The walker should be able to fold up for easy transport as well as be able to fit through a 30 inch door
  • The father said he liked the detachable accessories idea as well as including a cup holder for his sippy cup and a noise maker
  • His favorite colors are red and yellow, so we will incorporate them into our design

The Rifton Pacer 501 is a walker specifically designed to be customized to the needs of the user. In our research, we found that many of its features are customized through locking sliders, knobs, and straps that buckle. In the photos of the Pacer currently used by Wayland, it’s clear that he uses the chest harness, which straps around the user’s chest to give them more support. We found through multiple tutorial videos that it’s common for the chest harness to be positioned too high and too loose. These videos are linked below. 

In the pictures, it also looks like Wayland uses the hip positioner, which acts as a sort of saddle for support of the hips. The straps connecting the positioner to the frame of the walker are extremely customizable and can be connected to pretty much any part of the frame depending on the needs of the user. A video explaining this in further detail is linked below.

 

Rifton Pacer: Tips on how to adjust a gait trainer

Rifton Pacer Gait Trainer Video Part 2 | The Chest prompt

Rifton Pacer Gait Trainer Video Part 4 | The Hip positioner

Concept Design 1

Modify his current walker

Pros: The frame is already built for us

Cons: He wouldn’t have access to his walker while we were working on it

Concept Design 2

Make a walker from scratch with 4 swivel-locking wheels

Pros: Design flexibility

Cons: We have to create the frame from scratch

Concept Design 3

Make a walker from scratch with 3 wheels

Pros: Cut down on the weight of the walker

Cons: It might lose some of the stability

Decision Matrix

Semester

2024 Spring