An Integrated Climbing/reaching Device for the Elderly

Period of Performance: 09/30/1991 - 03/31/1992


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Comsis Corporation
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION: (Applicant's Abstract) Reaching and-manipulating things above normal reach height is important for independent living, especially for many elderly because of reduced functional reach heights. Yet, current products (e. g., step stools) are poorly designed to meet the needs of many elderly and themselves present a fall hazard that could result in injury and greater needs for assistive care. This project will develop more appropriate reaching aids and climbing devices and integrate them into a single product that will be easier and safer to use without assistance. Phase I will identify and evaluate current devices and technologies; define user needs and behaviors; delineate functional requirements for climbing and reaching devices; and identify, develop, and evaluate alternative product concepts. Phase I will thus derive a small set of most-promising design concepts and also identify key research needs. Phase II will address the needed research, refine evaluate design alternatives, and develop the most promising version. Obvious potential for technological innovation comes from related developments in other areas (e.g.,stairway design), absence of systematic redesign efforts, and opportunities to integrate existing products. The proposed product would be marketable to elderly with wide range of capabilities, and addresses a concern recognized by both elderly and family caregivers.