Tactile cues improve proprioception in individuals with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. This decreases the chance for falls and injury, which increasingly lends itself to decreased mobility, diminished confidence, minimized independence and social isolation.
Lise Pape, an engineer at Innovation RCA at the Royal College of Art in London, was inspired to build a walking system by her father, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more than 10 years ago. Pape engineered tactile and visual cuing into inserts that can be fitted for footwear.
Walk with Path has been developing and testing this invention in hopes of curbing the deficits endured by pathological misguidance in ambulation. Research indicates 38% of individuals with Parkinson’s sustain injurious falls each year.
Until this product is available for consumer use, laser lights offer visual cues to improve the gait patterns of disabled individuals to prevent falls and maximize independence. One such product available now is the U Step II Laser Light, which attaches to the U Step II Walker.
This innovative product projects a light to cue maintenance of gait and minimize freezing episodes. It also offers an auditory beep, which can be activated to assist in rhythmic motion.