Ambulatory Aids for People with Mobility Impairments

Problem: The market for disabled-person aids has great potential for improvement. This project is to improve design, materials and manufacturing processes for aids such as a forearm crutch. Between 1993 and 2000, the crutch market is projected to experience a compound annual growth of 5.2% and by 2000, 3.8 million pairs of crutches will be sold per year.

Solution: The Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/ML) scientists will assist in the design and development of disabled-person aids such as crutches, walkers and canes. This improved equipment will be ergonomically engineered, aesthetically pleasing, and made of strong but lightweight, advanced fiber-matrix composite materials.


  • Both military and civilian disabled persons will benefit from the improved disabled-person aids being developed under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).
  • Military biomedical research will also benefit from the data generated under this (CRADA).
  • The main attributes of these new disabled-person aids are:
  • Low weight and durability of carbon fiber materials
  • Cost effective because it will last much longer
  • Ergonomically designed which provides more comfort and less stress to the user.

Current Status:

  • The original CRADA was for the development of a superior forearm crutch.
  • This CRADA between Ergonomics, Inc. and the AFRL has been extended and expanded to include the production of prototypes.
  • The extended CRADA will cover the final development phase of the forearm crutch and will be extended to development of other ambulatory aids such as canes and walkers.
  • Building on the technology identified in developing the forearm crutch, these devices will be designed with the goal of providing users with a more ergonomically correct product than those presently available.
If you have any questions about this Cooperative Research and Development Agreement or are interested in getting more information about technology transfer and CRADA projects, please contact Jim Singer at Wright Technology Network (937) 253-0217 or CRADA@wtn.org

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