Innovation Helps Parkinson’s Sufferers

Walk With Path, a London based company, approached CBM to help develop a device to aid the mobility of people suffering with Freezing of Gait (FOG) a common symptom of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD).

FOG occurs in up to 53% of PD patients and is a major reason for falls by causing an inability to initiate or continue walking, when a patient attempts to lift a foot to step forward, the foot is felt to be ‘stuck’ to the ground, sometimes with trembling of the legs.

Research has shown that visual cues on a walking surface can make a considerable difference in overcoming FOG and the team at Walk With Path had the idea to develop a wearable device that would provide this vital visual cue. Walk With Path asked CBM to work with their industrial designer to develop this product, otherwise known as ‘Path Finder’.

Path Finder is a laser light cueing device which attaches to a shoe, and projects a horizontal line on the ground in front of the user, at a set distance from the feet. This gives the wearer a visual cue to step across, and acts as an external stimulus to trigger walking.

A simple prototype had already been made which proved the principle and CBM were asked to help develop this in to a commercial cheap Accutane product.

CBM’s experience of manufacture and taking products through to market proved invaluable whilst defining the Product Design Specification. Working closely with the Walk With Path team and potential users the device operation was defined and refined to ensure the final design was fit for purpose.

CBM detailed each component in 3DCAD before manufacturing 3 sets of working prototypes which were used for extensive user testing.

Feedback from the user trials allowed the design to be refined before a full set of 2D control drawings were produced for manufacture.

Less than 12 months after our first meeting, Walk With Path have launched the Path Finder, an innovative, affordable product to help Parkinson’s disease sufferers overcome walking difficulties.

“CBM helped us to prototype multiple iterations of our product, carrying out user testing at each stage by using their rapid prototyping services to make devices our users could interact with.

Once we moved to mass manufacture the support did not end, and we were able to count on CBM to offer advice & opinion during the DFM stage of tool design.”

Lise Pape _ Company Founder