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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Case Western and VA partner with Pennsylvania start-up to commercialize adjustable walker


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: July 15th, 2020

Case Western Reserve University and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have teamed with a Pennsylvania start-up to commercialize a walker that allows users to better navigate uneven surfaces.

The Self-Leveling Walker (SLW) looks like a conventional walker, but when the user is climbing stairs or ascending a hill, he or she can press a button, and the walker’s front legs shorten while its rear legs lengthen to match the height of a step or the angle of an incline. If the user is descending, it does the opposite.

“Because there’s no safe way to use standard walkers on stairs or inclines, we saw an unmet need for a walker that can be adjusted at any time,” says Stephanie Nogan Bailey, researcher at Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland and project manager behind the SLW. “Many individuals cannot leave a rehabilitation facility and return home if they fail to master the physically demanding strategies for using stairs, which can force admission to skilled nursing facilities or costly home adaptations.”

According to Wayne Hawethorne at Case Western’s Technology Transfer Office, the SLW “helps to give back a level of freedom of mobility to people who would otherwise not have it.”

Case Western and the Department of Veterans Affairs have signed an 18-month option license agreement with the startup LevelMed Technologies. During that time, LevelMed will develop a business plan, evaluate commercialization prospects and attract venture capital.

Source: The Daily

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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