Unlike the flamingo, crutches cause new problems during their use.
I built different models to find the most ergonomic and comfortable postion for the flamingo.
To push a stroller wouldn't be possible with crutches.
The pivot on the height of the knee allows individual thigh attachment adjustments.
Here you can see some possible color variations.
What it does
The flamingo is a new kind of walking aid for the recovery time after a foot or ankle injury. The innovation here is that hands are free while moving. Compared to crutches, the flamingo increases the mobility and allows a ergonomic posture during the use.
By chance, I have noticed how problematic the recovery time after a foot or ankle injury for many people can be. If a foot is no longer allowed to be loaded and you can only move with crutches, everyday life becomes a real challenge and for some even a problem. In Germany more than 200,000 people are affected by such an injury every year. This problem motivated me to find a solution for it. I wanted to create a product that protects the injury better, is ergonomic in use and especially helps those affected to cope with their everyday lives.
How it works
As you can see on the pictures, the injured leg is bent and attached to the flamingo. The flamingo replaces the lower leg and allows the user to walk normally without using their hands. Using a pivot point at the level of the knee, the thigh attachment can take different positions or even be switched to a flexible mode. This feature guarantees that the flamingo is always perfectly adapted to the anatomy of the user. In addition, the lower leg support is slightly inclined to avoid permanent tension on the muscles. In this way, the flamingo allows an ergonomic posture during use. Another important function is taken over by the foot, which also serves as dumping. The foot is made of an elastomer and only by the recesses a damping is generated. The damping allows a comfortable walk and the compensation of uneven grounds.
I started with an comprehensive research on the topic of foot and ankle injuries and their treatment methods, as well as a market and target group analysis. In particular, I have analyzed crutches in more detail, as they are most commonly used for such injuries. It quickly became clear that there can be a better product than crutches. The result of my research was therefore as follows: The new walker should cause no additional complaints, the injury should be fully protected the whole time, the product should be used multiple times and the hands should be free to create independence. With these criteria in mind and a physiotherapist at my side, I designed functional models of a new walking aid. These have been tested in a variety of positions and situations. With my results I had won from the functional models, I went to other specialists and got me feedback on ergonomics. The result of this process was a novel walker whose position is both ergonomic and comfortable to use. In the next step, I created a design that combines all the necessary functions meaningful and visually appealing. In addition, I have developed a rental system which helps to use the flamingo several times. This system significantly increases sustainability, especially in comparison to crutches.
How it is different
Due to its functions, the Flamingo stands out from all existing walking aids. The defining and innovative feature of the flamingo is the pivot point at the level of the knee, as well as the inclination of the lower leg support. The pivot point is important because it allows an individual or flexible adjustment of the thigh attachment. In addition, the inclination of the lower leg support is important because it prevents the muscles to be permanently on tension. Equally new is the damping on the foot which creates a pleasant walking. These features can not be found on any other walking aid, although they are necessary to make the product ergonomic and comfortable.
Next, I want to find a company or investors who will help to realize the project. With the help of the prize a working prototype could be build to conduct a patient study. This was recommended to me by doctors to extensively test the product and to prove the results of the functional models.