Redesigning Mobility Aid to Function in Challenging Environments and Limited-Resource Settings
By SUNY Korea
Humanitarian crises affect different groups differently, with people living with disabilities being one of the most affected populations. Conflicts also result in increased disabilities caused by injury from shelling, building collapse, or malnutrition. While 1 in 10 people living with disabilities have access to assistive devices, traditional crutches are not well suited to uneven, unpaved grounds often found in conflict or refugee camp settings, and are therefore often abandoned by users. Lack of mobility becomes an increased barrier to their safety and well-being.
SUNY Korea proposes the development and testing of 3D-printed customizable ‘shoes’ for crutches and canes, to provide mobility assistance in challenging terrain. SUNY Korea’s solution is a simple improvement to a universal assistive technology, the crutch. The crutch shoe will be locally produced using 3D-printing, is compatible with existing crutch frames and can be customized for local conditions. Better assistive devices will not only increase the mobility of the user, but improve their activity and participation, which can translate to a great impact on their quality of life in an already stressful environment.