Walking sticks/ canes are a necessity for many people but they are, for the most part clunky, obtrusive, unwieldy and heavy items. Over the past years they have become lighter and more fashionable. More colours, patterns and different types of handles are now available but the perfect stick/cane has yet to be developed.
Looking at the above pictures you can see that walking sticks have progressed from the traditional silver heavy walking stick to a lighter more colourful cane. but the flaws are still there. The handles are uncomfortable if your hands are small or large. As they are made out of aluminium they get slippy if your hands are sweaty and I am sure they could do more than just be a traditional disability walking aid and be a device that enhances a person's life even more than just enabling them to walk.
1. The Handle
The handle would not be made from the same material as the stick itself as this can result in the handle being slippy and uncomfortable and they are definitely not one size fits all as assumed by manufacturers. the handle would be foam which can be moulded to the user's hand, thus enhancing comfort and reducing the potential for sweatiness.
There would also be both a panic button/ tracking device on the side of the handle which would improve the safety of the user, as they could be tracked or call for help if they had an accident/were hurt/ were attacked.
On a more fun note there would also be a wifi hotspot so the user could surf the web/check emails etc and a usb charger and portable charger so they can charge items on the go. There would also need to be a charging port so the handle can be charged when necessary. The charger would also power the lights (see 2, 3 &5).
2. Light in Handle.
This light would shine straight ahead as a warning to others that there is someone walking along using a stick and may not have the necessary mobility to leap out of the way of oncoming people (I added this feature after years of having to zig zag out of other people's way or risk getting knocked over).
3 Light in the Stick
The lights in the stcik itself ate positioned quite high up. This is so they can be positioned at a 45 degree angle so the user can see bumps, kerbs etc that are coming up.
5. Light in the Ferrule.
The light in the ferrule would shine across the ground, highlighting any immediate dangers, dog poo etc.
The addition of so many lights would enable the user to go out in the dusk or dark, when immediate dangers such as kerbs, raised pavement flags cannot be seen but could cause huge problems for someone with limited or restricted mobility. The lights would illuminate such dangers and hopefully make someone with restricted mobility who has to depend on such a stick more confident to go out during the evening and not feel restricted to venturing out just in the day time.
The lights would also warn others, be they in cars or walking along, that there is someone coming along who cannot walk very quickly or get out of their way and that they should take this in to account and move themselves.
there would be 3 sizes of stick aimed at children, women and men. This consideration would take into account height, weight etc when determining how much adjustment the stick will allow, how much weight the stick will take.
As all the additions would all be an added expense and cost more than a basic walking stick. Latex covers with different designs could be produced to pull on the stick to make them fun.
My design incorporates both safety features and items seen as a necessity (wifi) bringing a medical aid that is needed by many in to the 21 Century.