Making the Difference: Design and Construction of a Prototype of a Gait Trainer
Francisco Ramos Mendoza, Industrial Engineering Senior Student
Francheska Reyes Acevedo, Industrial Engineering Senior Student
Roberto Madera Soto, Mechanical Engineering Senior Student
Betzabé Rodríguez, PhD
Cristina Pomales, PhD
María Irizarry, PhD
Making a Difference: Design and Construction of a Prototype of a Gait Traineris part of a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that seeks to benefit adults with disabilities. Gait training is a physical therapy that help patients with physical disabilities develop their ability to stand and walk. Gait training patients require the use of gait trainers and using other inadequate medical devices can limit a patient’s development. The main issue is that gait trainers sold in the market can cost around $3K. Non-profit centers and low-income families do not have the funds necessary to obtain such a medical device.
This project focuses on designing and constructing a gait trainer that will cost under $1K, in order to make this medical device accessible. To develop the idea to be constructed, fifteen ideas where generated and analyzed until one final idea was chosen. They were analyzed in terms of their benefit to the user and the manufacturer. The overall goal was to make a design for as low of a cost as possible, but that would also adjust to different sized patients and comply with all of the patients’ needs. The selected design consisted of using a recycled shopping cart as the primary source of material in order to reduce costs. A mechanical analysis also showed that the shopping cart provided the stability and strength required. Once designed, the device was constructed. A set of accessories to help patients in their training where also constructed using the plastic provided by the cart’s basket. After finalizing the construction, the product was tested in order to perform an ergonomic analysis of the prototype. This analysis ensured that the product was safe and comfortable for patients. This project resulted in a gait trainer that costs $438, which represents an 84% cost reduction in comparison to current market products. The developed prototype has similar functionality as the number one product in market and it can adapt to be suitable for 98% of the USA and Puerto Rico population.
The development of this cost efficient medical device can make gait trainers an accessible device for any organization or patient who needs it. This project was supported by the National Science Foundation contract CBET-1403753, “Making the Difference: An Industrial Engineering Capstone Design Experience to Benefit Adults with Disabilities.”
Use the following link to access: Drawings and User Manual
Project Video: Gait Trainer User Testing