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Man develops mobility aid to help his physically disabled friend

Shared by purwar on 2019-08-28 03:46

About the solution

A retired doctor Dr. Hari Pillai suffered from post-polio syndrome, a degenerative effect of polio that includes muscle atrophy, joint weakness and fatigue. He wanted a device to help him get up, stabilize, and walk.

More importantly, he craved for independence and dignity.

Dr. Pillai asked for assistance from Dr. Anurag Purwar, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stony Brook University who works in Machine Design area. As Anurag started doing research, he was surprised to see that there was no device on the market to meet his friend’s need. “Today, in the United States, there are more than two million people over the age of 64 who find it difficult to rise from a chair without assistance. Biomechanically, sitting and standing involve complex movements that require muscle strength greater than other activities of daily life”, he explained.

Using his machine design background, and with the help of some students, the professor built Mobility Assist, a portable, compact, multifunctional mobility assist device that helps the user with standing, sitting and walking independently with support only from the device.

The solution is similar to a traditional walking aid, but has support bars, a pelvic harness and a novel linkage mechanism controlled by the user with a remote, is designed to mimic the natural standing motion of a human body.

"The most obvious advantage of the device is that it gives the opportunity for more independence. It can also help protect patients and caregivers from accidental falls and back injuries”, the inventor expressed.

Stony Brook University licensed the technology to Biodex for use in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, physical therapy and other professional offices. Ed Behan, vice president of marketing for Biodex said the device helps more than the patient. Nurses and therapists who need to help people stand and move spend a great deal of time and risk their own injuries to get patients ambulatory. The product has been in the market since August 2017 and selling well across the country.

However, it’s too late for Anurag's friend, Dr. Pillai. He passed away in August 2018 without tasting much of the success of the device. It’s a situation more than 500,000 people in America face daily – or will face in the future. About 400,000 have multiple sclerosis, another 60,000 with Parkinson’s and 30,000 with ALS. And there’s post-polio syndrome. But, the Mobility Assist could help them.

The project was funded by a SUNY Research Foundation Technology Accelerator Fund award with matching funds from the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence program at Stony Brook University and the NY-state Center for Biotechnology.

http://www.mobilityassist.net
http://www.biodex.com/mobilityassist
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMMA-MrHzIM

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Anurag Purwar lives in the USA and is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stony Brook University. In 2008, a friend of his, who suffers from the debilitating effects of post-polio syndrome, asked him to develop a device to help him with his mobility and autonomy.

Dr. Purwar is an award-winning teacher, researcher, TEDx speaker, and inventor of several technologies, some of which are available as products in the market. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

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