The elderly population in many countries has been rising rapidly, and falls are a serious event many elderly people experience. Assistive equipment is actively used to reduce falls among elderly people. Popular types of assistive equipment include canes, electric wheelchairs, and wheeled walkers. Wheeled walkers support the body of elderly people, making their gait comfortable as they age or recover from injuries. Wheeled walkers may be equipped with hand brakes; however, frail older people may experience difficulty using such hand brakes, as they require force to operate. Thus, in the present study, a braking method using a wire connected to a user’s belt or clothes was designed and implemented; if the tension of the wire connecting the safety device and the user exceeds a critical value, the wheeled walker brakes, which can prevent the rapid motion of walkers. Two feasibility tests of the wheeled walker with the braking device were conducted: one with 10 healthy adults in their 20s and the other with 10 elderly people over 65 years of age; the tests measured the braking time and speed control using a speed measuring device. The results of the first and second feasibility tests demonstrated that the average braking time of participants was 50.3 ms and 50.7 ms, respectively. All participants in the feasibility tests succeeded in the speed control test. Thus, based on the results, the braking device on the wheeled walker worked properly.
Research funding: Authors state no funding involved.
Conflict of interest: Authors state no conflict of interest.
Informed consent: Informed consent is not applicable.
Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animals use.
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