HEALTHY AGEING CASE STUDY
This new and revolutionary design for a walking cane came about via a joint venture between Singapore Nanyang Polytechnic students and myself via a team project offered by the University of Canberra. The New Colombo Grant is a federal government scholarship that offers students from the University of Canberra to travel overseas and work with other students from other disciplines to generate solutions to design problems.
For this design task, we were required to enter a elder care centre in Singapore, and discuss with nurses, doctors, and the elder patients themselves about daily problems they have that can be solved, as well as promoting healthy ageing in Singapore.
The chosen elder care centre for the assignment task is the Thye Hua Kwan Hospital. The hospital is dedicated to providing rehabilitative care for patients recovering from stroke and other medical conditions that leave people debilitated. Many of the elders we talked to mentioned their issues with mobility in the hospital and also in their daily lives after they leave the hospital. From this our team decided to re design a walking cane from the ground up. Early concepts ranged form a redesigned handle to a new self levelling foot, but the final design after tweaking was a radical but feasible build proposal.
In its base form, the Medical Multi-Cane (MMC) is designed to be a completely new and unique walking cane that solves common issues associated with walking aids. The compression foot is a rubberised base that provides supreme grip on any surfaces wet or dry compared to the normal bases. The handle is designed to support the entire arm of the user, rather than them having to adopt an uncomfortable position while using other canes. The full arm support allows for a straight posture, more control when using the cane, and less strain being placed on the wrist. The frame features quick release folding components that allows the MMC to fold up and be stored away while not in use. Crutch height, handle location, and arm rest height can all be adjusted to tailor fit each user perfectly. A small screen is also included which shows date, time, and step count and allows the user to access the small-inbuilt front flashlight when walking in dark conditions.
The two in one design of the MMC is its main feature. The design can be split in half and a single walking cane now becomes a set of crutches. The two halves are held together by a number of magnets down the shaft and in the arm supports. The two halves are locked together by rotating the locking ring around.
The finished design was put on display at the Singapore National Design Centre as part of their exhibition night. The design did peak interests with a few people who have had family members complain of uncomfortable walking aids in the past. Sadly with time constraints playing a large part in this project it wasn’t possible to have a model assembled for the exhibition. With more Research and development the design has the potential to become reality.