South Dakota Patent of the Month – July 2021

Many people around the world have limited mobility as a result of surgeries, injuries, or other causes. They interact with a few different support devices to try and improve mobility often with physical therapy. There are typically three versions of these supporting devices: anterior, stationary, and posterior devices. Anterior devices include the traditional “walker”, where the user is behind the device and leans on it for support. Stationary devices include parallel bars, treadmills, stationary bikes and so on. The posterior devices refer to gait trainers – they are positioned behind the user and focus on training and mobility. KB Balance Products Inc. has designed a new posterior gait training device that will bring better balance and mobility to the users.

The device looks similar to a traditional walker, though it would be positioned behind the user. The device has 6 wheels, with two offset from the main four. The hind two wheels are lifted above the ground when walking. The user is positioned with their hips in line with the center wheels, while their arms can rest on handlebars. The user presses down into the handle bars, lifting their upper body up and holding an upright posture. They designed this with the idea of Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion in mind. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. By lifting the torso upright and back, it rocks the pelvic girdle forward, simulating the leg swinging forward to begin walking. It has shown great effectiveness for those suffering from neurological disorders, helping them to walk rhythmically and retrain their gait. This can also help in rehabilitation and strength training for the elderly.

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