A designer used 3D printing to prototype a multifunctional walker for disabled people who want to remain active in their life.
Partially disabled people use walkers to move around their homes, for rehabilitation, less often for outside activities that may prove tiresome and hard to perform. Designer and biomedical engineer, Eliza Wrobel, decided to improve the widely popular walker design and make it more functional, in order to help those, who want to stay active despite their disability. She used ZMorph 2.0 SX multitool 3D printer to materialize her idea.
Inventing the multifunctional walker
Activity as simple as walking becomes a challenge when someone struggles with old age or limb disabilities. These constraints don’t mean they’re lesser people that shouldn’t be allowed (and enabled) to perform everyday grocery or to walk with their beloved children and grandchildren. But often they’re unable because there are not enough inexpensive medical solutions that could help them. Fortunately, there are people who want to change that, and now have tools to do so.
The multifunctional walker features switchable add-ons like a shopping cart and a baby seat giving disabled people means to perform everyday tasks. At the same time, it retains the basic functionalities of a walker, including a regulated height. ZMorph 2.0 SX was used to create a prototype model of its design in a 1:2 scale to prove the idea, so one day it can go into mass production.
Shaping the idea into a prototype
Built from 3D printed elements, handmade cushion, wire, straps, and screws, the prototype of the multifunctional walker consist of over 100 parts. Most of them were printed using various types of plastic filaments.
Silver ABS was used for the frame because it made it easy to clean off the support from the tubing, while yellow and black PLA parts proved to be more durable. Black rubber-like Flex filament was also used for wheels, brakes, and arm pads at the top.
The prototype is quite fragile, which means that it can be used only as a proof of concept and a showcase model. It would require some additional work to make it into a test-ready functional prototype, which could be achieved and easily 3D printed on ZMorph 2.0 SX too. A wide range of printing materials supported by the machine would allow the designer to choose the materials with characteristics similar to the final materials.
Quick way to materialize your idea
Serving as a proof of concept and a showcase model, this multifunctional walker prototype can be used during design meetings, business and investor meetings, and even trade shows. It’s also a fine example of how 3D printing can be used to reinvent and innovate in product development. Relatively low costs and short production time give additional advantage especially to young creative minds wanting to help the ones in need.