Good design solves a problem. But how does a designer know which problem to solve? For Jeff Weber, a personal experience related to a foot injury made it clear there was a problem with standard-issue crutches.
After just two days of hobbling around, Weber was suffering from “an all-out assault” on his body. Sore armpits, irritated skin, and numb hands, stemming from nerve compression and restricting blood flow, were impeding his recovery. Clearly a problem to be solved.
Familiar with ergonomics, Weber set out to design a crutch with mobility in mind. Looking to reduce secondary injuries, conserve physical energy, and improve the overall recovery experience, the final design of Mobilegs looks more like a distant cousin of the Aeron chair than a traditional crutch. (Weber worked alongside Aeron designer Bill Stumpf and co-designed the Embody work chair.)
One of the most striking differences is the under-arm saddle. A pliable membrane sling provides suspended support, not unlike the suspension seat of Aeron, and articulates on two pivot points to keep the saddle in constant contact with the underarm. The single-component structure of the shaft “facilitates a better hip-to-hand clearance,” explains Weber, and “allows the walker to move through doorways and narrow passages more easily.”
Had designer Jeff Weber never hurt his foot, the plight of crutch users around the world may have gone unnoticed.