Walking sticks and canes.
Having observed a
wide range of people using walk sticks with varying degrees of
success; I decided that I would try to come up with a stick that
is an improvment over existing designs.
I chose to take a
scientific approach and sourced research material that would help
me in the design process. I soon found that most generic
walking stick designs have been around for many years and are
simply copies of earlier designs. I also found that a lot of
advertised 'ergonomic' improvements were simply gimmicks that
added very little or nothing to the overall effectiveness of the
sticks or comfort of the user.
The key factors
considered in the design process were to produce something that
would be generically suitable for most users; whilst at the same
time still retaining the ability, if necessary, to make minor
alterations to the stick during the assembly process so that a
better fitting product could be provided to an individual user.
Good quality parts should be easily available.
The sticks needed to be constructed
in a manner that allowed the downward force to be applied
centrally through the shaft (to ensure maximum stability), have
handles that distributed pressure over as large an area of the
hand as possible, and have some effective shock absorbing
The results are two
designs for general use which have to be 'fitted' to the customer
- badly fitted sticks can effect posture and lead to unintended
consequences such as wrist, shoulder and back pain. Many users
purchase cheap, 'off the shelf' adjustable sticks and set them up
incorrectly. My sticks are not user adjustable and therefore have
a bespoke element to them - they have to be produced to order.
My 'cane' style,
general purpose walking stick has an aluminium shaft and a ball
knob to fill the palm of the hand, it also incorporates a shock
absorbing system based upon the novel use©️ of some standard
My other product
resembles a 'ski stick', again uses an aluminium shaft, has a
large tubular handle, and shock absorbing system©️ - this stick is
better suited for those with more serious balance and posture
Martin Swan 2020
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