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Simple device lets motor impaired kids know what it's like to walk

Work & Lifestyle

Upsee is a harness that lets parents use their own legs as a support, in order to give their disabled children the sensation of walking.

For centuries now, those with neuromuscular disorders have had to rely on the wheelchair to get around and many spend their whole lives seated. In the past we’ve seen AMS Mekatronic’s Tek RMD wheelchair add-on make strides to help paraplegic people get up and stand unassisted. Now opting for a much more simple solution, Upsee is a harness that lets parents use their own legs as a support, in order to give their disabled children the sensation of walking.

Created by UK-based product designer Firefly — which develops postural solutions for children — the kit comes in three sections: a hip belt that goes around the adult’s waist, a child harness that is attached to the hip belt, and specially-adapted sandals that connect the child’s feet to their parent’s. The support enables kids to stand upright while also facing the world, and when their parent walks, their legs follow the same action. While Upsee doesn’t provide complete upright independence for children with motor impairments, it could enable them to experience the world in a way denied to them because of their muscular disorder. For example, they could for the first time walk hand-in-hand with their friends, or give them a hug without their chair getting in the way.

The Upsee kit costs GBP 269. With rapidly advancing robotic technology, could we eventually see a system enabling much more independent movement for those with paraplegia?

Email: enquiries@fireflyfriends.com

Website: www.fireflyfriends.com

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