Introduction: Motorized Walker

There are 8.7 million handicapped, injured and elderly people in the United States that are dependent on assistive devices such as walkers, canes, crutches and wheelchairs. These devices are limited in their capabilities and are expensive which acts as a physical and economical obstacle for the users.

Our project allows the user to walk normally with the assistance of the walker for balance, like an average walker. Or, the user can decide to step onto a foldout platform and be propelled forward at varying speeds. This feature allows the user to vary their amount of physical involvement and grants them greater mobility.

Step 1: Design Process

Step 2: Gather Materials

Step 3: SolidWorks

Step 4: The Electrical System

Step 5: The Walker

Step 6: The Platform

Step 7: The Electrical Box

Step 8: The Control Panel/Dashboard

Step 9: The Potentiometer Case

Step 10: Wiring

Step 1: Design Process

Picture of Design Process
  • Brainstorm
  • Research Patents, Technology, and Materials
  • Sketch original designs / Figure out measurements

Step 2: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials
  • Four legged walker
  • Single-Wheel Axis Motor and Electrical System from an electric scooter
  • Two 12 volt lead acid batteries
  • Potentiometer Case
  • Leg Braces
  • Box
  • Planks of wood
  • 3 wheels for wood platform
  • Control Panel
  • Two hinges
  • Screws
  • Two brackets
  • Zip-ties

Step 3: SolidWorks

Picture of SolidWorks
  • 3D Model all parts!

Step 4: The Electrical System

Picture of The Electrical System

We will need an electrical system to motorize the walker. We used an electric system from an old electric scooter.

  • Take apart electric scooter for the motor and electrical system
    • Document all parts (what they are and where they were)
  • Bench-test electrical system
    • Make sure we re-wired everything correctly and everything is working
  • Sketch schematic of electrical system
    • This will be used later, when integrating the electric system with the walker

Step 5: The Walker

Picture of The Walker

The standard, store bought walker will act as our frame and base for the project.

  • Take off all legs of the walker, replacing the back two with the front two
    • We did this so the back two legs have wheels attached and will be able to move/roll when the motor is on)
  • Create a long wooden platform for the walker legs to attach to the motor frame
    • Drill holes for the legs to fit into
    • Screw it into the motorframe
  • 3-D print plugs to fit the inside of the walker legs (make sure it is a snug fit)
    • Hammer these into the walker legs
  • Place legs into the holes in the wooden platform
  • Drill into the plugs from the bottom of the wooden platform, securing the walker to the motor frame
  • 3D model a clamp and brace to create more support for the legs in SolidWorks
    • Print it out
    • Attach and drill it into the wooden platform

Step 6: The Platform

Picture of The Platform

The walker will need a platform that can be folded out of the way. This will be used when the user wants to take a break from using the walker normally, and wants to use the motorized function.

  • Cut out a thick and stable piece of wood that will fit on the inside of the walker and is big enough to fit two feet onto
  • Drill holes into the front of the wood plank for the hinges
  • Drill holes into the motor frame for the other side of the hinges
  • Drill holes on the back of the wood plank , enough for three wheels
    • The wheels will be placed on the back corners and in the top-middle
  • Screw in the wheels and hinges

Step 7: The Electrical Box

Picture of The Electrical Box

We need a box to keep the batteries, battery charger, and electrical system all together and contained.

  • Measure out five pieces of thin wood
  • Nail it together, adding wood glue to any junctions for extra support
  • Screw it into the wooden platform on the motor frame
  • Place batteries and electric system inside
  • Create a cardboard cover to keep everything contained and tape it on top

Step 8: The Control Panel/Dashboard

Picture of The Control Panel/Dashboard

The control panel will be created in a dashboard style, making the user interface easy and simple.

  • Take note of all components needed on the control panel
  • Measure out dimensions and spacing
  • 3D model the control panel in SolidWorks
  • Use a laser cutter to cut the control panel out of acrylic
  • Place all components into the control panel, and hook it up to the electrical system
  • Drill holes for the brackets, and screw brackets into place on the walker

Step 9: The Potentiometer Case

Picture of The Potentiometer Case

In order for the user to move forward on the walker (when using the motorized function), the user will need access to the potentiometer.

  • Measure the dimensions of the potentiometer
  • 3D model a case that molds to the right-hand handle of the walker, in SolidWorks
  • 3D print the case
  • Place the potentiometer into the case and drill it into the handle
  • Hook up the potentiometer to the rest of the electrical system

Step 10: Wiring

Picture of Wiring
  • Make sure all wiring is connected and in the right place
  • Double check using the electric wiring diagram
  • Shorten and extend any wiring that needs it
  • Zip-tie all wiring to the walker frame, out of the way

Step 11: Test It!

Picture of Test It!

There are a couple of small items to take care of but it works! The obvious next step is to take this concept to the next level and make the next version with a scratch-built frame and perhaps individually driven wheels to aid in steering. Thanks for watching - Go Tillers!

Comments

LydiaT2 (author)2017-07-27

But, how do you steer it and stop it? Does it have locking breaks? And is the motor strong enough to carry a person who weighs 250 pounds?

AhC5 (author)2016-10-10

i have a few question..i want to try to make this motorized walker. can you suggest me what type of motor that is suitable to be used for this project?

Fermtzz (author)2016-07-21

Y como se bajan de ello?

JosephN49 (author)2016-06-23

Me and my university team are trying to make this as well. But if we do not have a broken scooter to salvage from, which motor should we buy to make it work?

www139 (author)2016-05-16

Congrats on being a finalist!!

JAMESM466 (author)2016-05-06

This is a wonderful idea. I was considering making something similar from a power chair base. It would be so freeing to be able to move around while standing, rather than having to keep getting up and down. I teach, and being able to do so standing up again would be empowering.

YourMagesty (author)2016-05-06

Excellent idea. I know you in the early stages of design and implementation. (I wonder if there is any way to patent the idea, at least. The potential consumer base IS huge as you indicated. Your idea...you should benefit from it, and not some manufacturer. God bless your hearts and efforts for them.

Bhavy41 (author)2016-05-05

nice work.... appreciative..?

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