HomeDLSU Engineering Journalvol. 18 no. 1 (2006)

Ergonomically designed walker for the Filipino elderly as an Assistive Device

Alma Maria Jennifer Gutierrez | Rogelio Estrella | Charmelaine Gador | Patricia Salomon

Discipline: Engineering, Technology



Assistive devices available in the market are designed to give stability to the user by increasing the base of support. They are expected to increase lateral stability and support the weight of the user. Analysis of the different available walker in the market namely: regular walker, swiveling walker and rollator walker paved the way in establishing the need of developing a new design of the walker. Quality function deployment (QFD) was used to systematically identify the needs of the disabled elderly population. The house of quality revealed the needs of customers that were not tackled by current walker designs. Some primary functions not addressed include ease of moving the walker both horizontally and vertically, lack of stability to support the elderly when walking, difficulty of holding the walker and not being anthropometrically fit to the users. Secondary needs identified from the use of QFD involve affordability of the walker, durability, aesthetics, and adequate clearance. A new design was conceptualized that considered these needs and a working prototype was manufactured. The design was evaluated though user testing and obtaining the feedback of doctors and physical therapists. Questionnaires were used during user testing and interview was used to get the feedback of experts. Results of product testing suggest that all primary functions identified by the users were satisfied by the new design. However, the weight of the prototype needs to be improved because the heaviness of the material used hindered the mobility of the users. A lighter material needs to be used to make the product lighter.