Innovation for Independence

The Louis Project

Publish date:
16/01/2015 - 11:55am
Last updated:
16/01/2015 - 12:08pm

Our idea is to design and implement a childrens all terrain posterior walker in a sustainable way. In both the UK and developing countries, there is a complete lack of posterior walking aids suited to uneven terrain. As a leisure product in the UK this would unlock the countryside and enhance quality of life. In many developing countries, because of the lack of infrastructure; this would unlock the opportunity to walk anywhere independently. We intend to encourage a continuous co-design culture within our user-base. Working with physios, product designers, and patients, we are developing a frame. Our community of users will adapt their frame to meet their needs and desires, and share innovations and options for others to follow and choose; potentially solving one of the largest challenges facing assistive devices in low-resourced contexts: Ensuring that devices are appropriate for individuals. To make our walker widely accessible without compromising on quality, we plan to use variations on buy one give one schemes, donations, crowdfunding and microfinance. Fostering a giving attitude within our users, and building up a self-supporting network is core to our vision.

Insight & Impact

Our first prototype was co-designed with a teenager living with cerebral palsy. This is a quote from Louis’ grandmother: “Louis has just used the prototype all-terrain walker to do a tough walk to Marlow’s beach and back along the cliff path. These tough walks and beautiful scenery are having a great impact on Louis’s life” This prototype was named after Louis’ and taken to SEN schools around the country; to gather feedback from potential users with other disabilities. Working with a University of Sheffield medical research team and patient groups with similar needs will inform all future stages of design. Early therapeutic intervention is essential to gain the ability to walk. Provision of an appropriate walking aid for users in their daily setting would progress their mobility further; unlocking more leisure activities and an education outside of the home. Cerebral Palsy Africa train and provide therapy in low-resourced settings and have expressed interest in working with us. They currently provide sitting and standing aids, so a walking aid would have maximum impact. Their Assistive Equipment Director explicitly identified a need for off-road walkers at Montfort College in Malawi, saying of their special needs teachers; “They are making an effort to get children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities to school”. We will test our prototype there with individuals

Skills needed for this project

  • Marketing
  • Photography/Videography
  • Social Media Management
  • Manufacturing/Distribution Expertise
  • Physiotherapy Expertise
  • Medical Certification Expertise
  • Network within healthcare in developing countries
  • Accountancy

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Christopher Hughes's picture
Thanks for checking out our idea! If you're interested supporting us you can get our updates here: And to find out more, use the links below :)