This project aims to address the problems faced by the disabled who need a prosthetic aid, particularly the problem of an incorrect gait pattern. Gait is a person's manner of walking.
I collaborated with patients, physiotherapists, and technicians at BMVSS – the world’s largest organization for prosthetic fitment and rehabilitation, based in India to conduct first-hand research.
Result: Redesigned rehabilitative devices to improve gait cycles of patients through frugal methods.
These include the Gait Controlling Mirror designed to make the patient walk without swaying, the spring bearing walking stick designed to reduce the patients' dependence on the walking stick and the multi-texture roll-up surfaces designed to make them comfortable with walking on surfaces they walk on in their daily life.
The final devices have been installed in the first two locations.
GAIT CONTROLLING MIRROR
Mirrors are a fundamental part of the rehabilitation lab. They help the patients see themselves as they start to learn how to walk with their new prosthetic limb.
But due to the wide mirror that the patients walk in front of, the chances of patients swaying and hence limping, increases.
The Gait Controlling 4-inch wide mirror is designed to restrict the patients' movement and range of vision while walking.
SPRING FITTED WALKING STICK
Patients were often seen applying excess pressure on the walking stick which led to their bad and limping posture.
This redesigned walking stick is fitted with a spring. As the user applies excessive pressure, the spring contracts, alerting the patient to stop applying as much pressure. This is because the contraction of the walking stick makes the user unstable and the user tries to restore that balance by applying less pressure.
MULTI TEXTURAL ROLL-UP SURFACES
Patients using the Jaipur Foot prosthesis at BMVSS are at the bottom of the pyramid. They often work and walk on surfaces which are irregular.
The users need to practice walking on surfaces similar to what they walk on every day. So, the patients were asked which location they were from and their profession and consequently made roll-up surfaces which are surfaces similar to what the patients will walk on. For example - pebbles, grass (artificial grass sheets used) and even sand (thick foam used to simulate the feeling of sinking in sand).
These roll-up sheets were successful in overcoming the patients' initial fear of walking on an irregular surface and giving them a head start for the same.
Lack of exercise was one problem which prosthetic users could use to help the way they walk. I figured that as they were not regular with that at home, maybe god could help with that.
There are about 100 or more posters of god all around the institute and a big proportion of people praying in front of them.
Faith and religion keep them going, and this seemed like the perfect solution to motivate them to do these exercises.
This is a calendar that consists of an exercise manual, motivational quotes, and images of God - which is the reason that keeps them going.
In addition to the Gait Controlling Mirror, the Roll-Up surfaces and the Spring - Fitted Walking Stick shown here, this calendar would, like all things at the institute, be given away for free.