Low-Cost, Open-Source Rehabilitation Device for Kids

AREA Health Design has created an open-source gait trainer design that families can build at low cost, with plans to release later this year.

Example of a Pediatric Gait Trainer

AREA Health Design is developing an open-source children’s gait trainer. Gait trainers are assistive devices that enable children with mobility limitations to learn or relearn to walk. Despite their importance for mobility and overall health, gait trainers are often priced at thousands of dollars. At AREA we understand the financial hardship this poses on families, particularly the uninsured, and are excited to present a design to cut costs and promote access for all.

The design, complete with instructions for device assembly, will be found online and guide users in purchasing affordable parts from their local hardware store or 3D printing hub. AREA hopes to put the designs on an open-source platform, enabling community collaboration to improve and modify the designs for individual children’s needs.

Gait trainers are intended for people with physical disabilities, such as those caused by cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or brain injury. In addition to promoting the ability to walk, gait trainers are associated with increased independence, decreased pressure ulcers, and improved digestion and blood flow. Families can customize the device with added features such as armrests or chest supports depending on their child’s mobility needs.

AHD is working with University of Colorado’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic to address critical legal details associated with open-source licensing and patenting, as well as limiting product liability exposure. The board is also finalizing an instruction manual for device construction and assembly.