The walking cane has seen hardly any change over hundreds, or even thousands of years, but Kineticane LLC (Caldwell, NJ) is now aiming to take the biggest leap forward in cane technology by developing a walking aid called Isowalk that is able to adapt to its user. Unlike conventional canes that create concentrated loads on the wrist that can lead to wrist and arm aches, the Isowalk has a smart force relief system that adapts to the user’s weight, wrist pressure, and gait, providing customized cushioning as the user walks. The Isowalk is also promoted to be self propulsive, having the ability to position itself for each next step with minimal user effort.
This smart walking aid also provides improved ergonomic alignment of hand, wrist, and arm, leading to better weight distribution and reduced pressure concentration on the wrist. Ergonomics is further optimized through a handle inspired by sports bicycle handles and is reversible for lefties and righties. The improved ergonomics leads to a reduction in stresses to other areas of the body which is common while “favoring” the walk when using conventional canes. The bottom tip of the Isowalk has a novel foot-like design that provides improved ground contact and aids in both acceleration as well as braking. The shaft of the Isowalk is made from an advanced composite material that is stronger than steel but lighter than aluminum. The company aims to improve the “smartness” of Isowalk further in future versions through the use of wireless and Bluetooth technology to provide real-time gait feedback, location information, and the ability to talk to motion sensors at home, and is working with UCLA Wireless Health Institute to make that happen.
The Isowalk intelligent walking aid is set to make its public debut in January 2014 and is scheduled to be available on the market in the spring of 2014. The company is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to commercialize the product and get it ready for volume production.