Core77 Design Awards
- Other Years
Many individuals need mobility assistance due to old age, disease, disability, or temporary injury. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are often overlooked by the design community and most walkers available exhibit numerous safety concerns, functional shortcomings, and are generally difficult to use. They are also heavy and bulky, with limited folding capability, making them difficult to transport. Despite these issues, the most cited reason many people forgo the use of a walker is fear of stigma and embarrassment.
Foray came to ION Design to develop a game-changing alternative to what is currently available to help empower these individuals. The goal was to improve quality of life by encouraging the use of a mobility assistance device through enhanced safety, functionality, and aesthetics. The result is the Foray Spring Mobility Device.
The Foray Spring is a collapsible, lightweight personal mobility device for individuals who require mobility assistance and still aspire to be dignified and independent. Through several functional innovations, this product delivers a unique and pleasurable experience while shedding the clinical aesthetic of most walkers.
The Foray Spring differentiates itself through improved safety features, elegant functionality, and a minimal design language. Unique features include:
Height Adjustment – easy-to-reach triggers located on the handlebar control on-the-fly height adjustment using a novel adjustment mechanism integrated inside the tubing and the central hub.
Collapsing – completely lowering the handlebar automatically releases the rear legs so they can be swung forward, effortlessly collapsing the device into less than half the size of most walkers.
Passive Braking System – the passive braking system, which is always engaged, automatically releases when weight is applied to the handlebar. The wheels roll only when the user wants them to, but brake when the user stops applying weight. This ensures that the device does not roll away on an inclined surface as soon as the user lets go of the handlebar. User research confirmed that this type of passive braking better meets real-life demands.
Stowable Seat–a tensioned fabric seat evokes the comfort and sophistication of an office chair. The handlebar doubles as an adjustable backrest. The seat can be easily stowed away to provide ample room for walking. The seat frame can also be easily swapped with several other seat designs.
Parking Brake – deploying the seat automatically activates a parking brake to stabilize the device for sitting. A common complaint with conventional walkers is that users often forget to manually deploy the brakes before sitting, which is hazardous. Also, all cables are hidden inside the tubing to reduce the possibility of getting snagged while walking.
Storage – a zippered storage compartment for small items is incorporated into the seat bottom.
Aesthetics – a project goal was to avoid visually intensive solutions. The result is a minimal design language with contoured shapes and visual accents to promote better user interactions.
The Foray Spring also offers a new and satisfying user experience. Below are some unique aspects:
The continuous handlebar gives you total flexibility. Spring’s continuous, multi-grip handlebar allows you to engage the device as you want, including one-handed operation - critical for people who don’t have full use of both hands. The shape of the handlebar and its relationship to the seat also make it a comfortable backrest and allow the device to be pulled up to a table when you are seated - which is awkward with most walkers.
The seat is there when you need it, gone when you don’t. Deploying the seat is easy and satisfying and the tensioned mesh seat offers more comfort than conventional walker seats. The seat then folds away when not in use, leaving you plenty of space for walking.
You don’t have to think about braking. Spring’s passive brake system only activates when you want to stop, making it completely intuitive. Similarly, the parking brake automatically activates when the seat is deployed making the seating configuration sturdy and secure.
Adjusting and collapsing the device is a breeze. The handlebar triggers control both the height adjustment and full collapsing making personalization and transport/storage simple. The device locks in its collapsed state, including braking and locking the front caster wheels, making it easy to carry or lift the device into a car without worrying about it opening accidentally or pinching your fingers.