A Filipino polio survivor has developed a foldable crutch system or Adaptive Crutch that utilizes a button for easy folding, features height adjustment and can be used by Persons with Disability (PWDs) who suffer from lower body paralysis.
Inventor James Camacho said the idea started during a plane ride.
There was one time I was boarding a plane to Malaysia, one attendant took the crutches off my hand and assisted me in storing my crutches but she couldnt find a proper space to store my crutches, and decided to wrap it in packaging tape. I knew she was just trying to help me, but that somehow sparked a eureka moment for me but it took years for me to even really sit down and create a design for it, he shared.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said that his experience is shared by many Filipino PWDs. Camacho is a polio survivor who has been dependent on mobility assistive devices all his life.
That experience however, James said, gave him the signal he needed to develop the design of his very own adaptive crutch. He describes it as underarm crutches that have a quick fold and unfold mechanism that allows users to have more freedom in terms of portability, thus eliminating the characteristics of regular crutches that tend to be bulky and intrusive.
Adaptive Crutches are user friendly and have advanced functionality with simplicity. It features height adjustment and folding with a simple push of a button. Adaptive Crutch will be made with recycled materials, light weight, aluminum body with modern finish to remove the clinical aspect of its design, he said.
All age groups can make use of the Adaptive Crutch and it is able to support up to 300 kilograms of body weight.
DOST said that Camacho soon sought help from the DOST-Technology Application and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI) in his desire to provide convenience to his fellow PWDs. He thought that there might be existing programs that are designed for Filipino inventors like him and it led him exactly where he needed to be.
I guess one of the major issues I had in developing this design is the lack of resource and knowledge of how and where I can go to get my idea materialized, and finding the right people to run with your vision is often the most difficult thing to achieve when developing new product ideas, shared Mr. James when asked on the challenges he had to face in inventing the foldable crutch.
DOST-TAPIs granted financial assistance for the modeling of Jamess foldable crutch system under the Industry-Based Invention Development (IBID) Program, one of the premier programs of DOST-TAPI for the development of the first commercial prototype of inventions.
The Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) assisted in the design and fabrication while DOST-TAPIs Intellectual Property Rights Assistance Program (IPRAP) helped in filing the patent at IPOPhil.
TAPI has helped me in not just providing resources in terms of funding but also finding the right people to run with the vision. And that has helped me in getting my idea from paper into an actual product that can really benefit people who are using mobility assistive devices said Camacho.
In partnership with Tahanang Walang Hagdan (TWH), Camacho was able to test his current prototype and was able to get favorable results and inputs that helped him improve his current design.
He is now planning to take a bigger leap by seeking the assistance of DOST-TAPI in the next level of his invention, particularly in the pre-commercialization phase up to full product launch.
His message to young inventors: Do not be afraid to dream, but you have to start. Start with something, anything, do not be afraid to ask for help, and dont forget to share your vision, and if you really believe in that vision pray for wisdom and dont give up!