There is a surprising dearth of options for mounts that connect assistive mobility devices with users via a tablet computer or smart phone. Many users, especially the elderly, find it challenging to see and use these kinds of devices, especially when they are already encumbered by the use of a walker. Our solution was to mount a tablet directly onto the walker, so that users could easily connect with others, and adjust it to their comfort and preferences.
We realized that the problem we were trying to address wasn’t one of mobility (see early motion test here), which the walker already addressed well. It was one of connection and relationships to other people, and by creating a hands-free interface onto an object that users were already familiar with and understood well, we could make a bigger leap towards our goals of achieving improvements in mental and physical health outcomes.
We also added a front facing camera and projector, which further enhanced users’ ability to make an image larger, more immersive, while also bringing the proximity of others into spaces adjacent to the user. In this way, friends, family, and caregivers could be brought closer to the user, whether they were physically in the same space, or interacting through video conferencing software. In addition to these features, this approach also gave the users a heads-up display and connection to the internet.
The Walkerbot Project
(PI) Ian Gonsher