Revolutionary Walker That Works “Backwards” Is Helping Disabled People Move Around Hands Free
Although the inventor that created this ‘life-changing’ chair has reportedly spent all his money launching his company, he explains that it doesn’t matter because seeing his customers “walk” again is more rewarding than anything else.
The inventor of this groundbreaking new walking aide, Rob Karlovich, shares that his invention came after seeing a news story about returning veterans from Afghanistan that were now disabled. Unfortunately, these soldiers were once strong abled men and women who gave their lives for love of country, and many were returning home without the ability to walk on their own and using subpar walkers.
Karlovich, who hails from San Jose, California, has been around the block when it comes to innovating new technology, which is why he knew that he could come up with something brilliant. What he figured out that from the already available mobility devices on the market was that they had two fundamental problems that he needed to fix.
One main problem was that the readily available walkers tend to throw people off of their usual center of gravity since they force their users to lean forward. This causes them to be unstable and feel like they will fall over. The second is that they are required to use their hands to work the devices, which then limits their ability to do other needed activities such as cleaning, cooking, gardening, dancing, and sadly, even hugging!
In order to find a solution to these issues, he managed to flip the traditional walker concept upside-down- or backward, to be exact.’
Working Backward To Fix the Problem With Balance
Most of the traditional walkers on the market tend to position the device in the front of the user, but this makes the user hunch over the front and hang on the front grip bars. The problem with this is that it tends to encourage poor posture, which can throw off a person’s balance while forcing them to continually use their hands.
With the LifeGlider, as the revolutionary walker is called, was built to sit behind the body to make it easier to use. It works by using a belt that is wrapped around the pelvis, allowing the user’s hands to be free, while also holding up their center of gravity. This is a physics concept which also explains how ballet dancers and ice skaters can lift others into the air while moving, and managing not to fall.
Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Neurology and Neurological Sciences at the Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Bruce Adornato, said, “It is a major safety issue for people at risk for falling. Anyone using a walker today is a candidate for this device, but you have to have the coordination to put on the belt and tighten it up properly or someone who can help.”
LifeGlider underwent at least five years of real-world trials by at least 2,000 users before it was officially launched closer to the end of 2020. Although it was inspired by veterans and thought to help disabled veterans, it has found popularity amongst many disabled people, or those that have suffered a loss of mobility that are looking for safer ways to walk upright and hands-free.
Positive Impact From Users’ Personal Stories
Josie Ingber, who works in Silicon Valley, happened to be one of the first users of LifeGlider. Due to multiple sclerosis, she was having an increasingly difficult and unstable time on her feet, and her cane was no longer giving her the stability she required. She had fallen quite a few times and began to think that she would need to use either a walker or a wheelchair when she had to go out.
Ms. Ingber shared, “I chose not to go out or accept social invitations since I always had to depend on someone’s arm to hold on to. I was starting to feel very isolated.”
But thankfully, LifeGlider gave her an entirely different lease on life. Believing that she was doomed to a life in a type of contraption that would probably force her to end her career, she shared that it was nothing like that. She explained, “I have been able to do so much more by myself. This device has changed my life”
Meanwhile, another user that had a proclaimed “life-changing” experience using LifeGlider is Nancy Troger. Unfortunately, she had broken her back 12 years prior and had to undergo painful and difficult physical therapy to learn to walk with a cane. But like Ms. Ingber, she also wanted to use something more stable than a cane that would allow her to work in her garden once more.
Her FDA-approved LifeGlider mobility device not only allowed her to get back to gardening, she was also able to go on daily walks once again.
According to Ms. Troger’s neighbor, she shared that watching Nancy walk down the pier while using her new mobility device gave her a peak into what Nancy’s life must have been like before.
“When I walk like that, my brain remembers how I used to walk. It’s hard to explain the feeling of that memory, but it’s like putting on your favorite clothing. It just feels right,” Ms. Troger explains.
Another user, Margaret Fisk, is yet another LifeGlider user. Although she doesn’t seem to have a disability, Ms. Fisk is diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome which is an over-flexibility of her joints that makes walking both painful and dangerous for her.
Thankfully, by using the mobility device, she no longer has to worry about focusing on walking without fear of falling over and hurting herself. Ms. Fisk also said, “I was speaking more coherently, I was engaged with things. I was walking with confidence for the first time in at least two years without every step being ultimate torture.”
She added, “Life-changing is not overstating it. Being locked in my house without nature is a nightmare. The LifeGlider gave that back to me.”
Now, regardless of whether anyone suffers from an injury, a neurological disorder, some form or paralysis, or simply due to aging, there is no reason for anyone to just accept being immobile. By purchasing a LifeGlider, they can change their life.
While a new LifeGlider is priced at $695, the company also sells refurbished devices at a cheaper price, at $495 plus shipping. Just go to the website www.mylifeglider.com.