Lightweight crutch concept takes inspiration from a flightless but fast bird

In the somewhat distant future, physical disabilities might be fixed with cybernetic implants and limbs. We’re already seeing some of the early prototypes of those today, but most people will still have to live with non-mechanical tools, like crutches for those who are unable to walk for one reason or another. Although they might be the simplest solution available, common crutches are not exactly comfortable or safe to use. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to go into advanced mechanics or complicated machinery to improve its design, as this re-envisioned crutch tries to prove by using a more efficient material as well as a smarter shape that could help make walking less of a physical and psychological burden to already stressed users.

Designer: Hesham El-sheikh

Crutches are long metal rods that are meant to stand in for one or both legs in the event of an injury or disability. Funnily enough, look and work nothing like our legs and are, instead, heavy, stiff, and unyielding sticks that are cumbersome to use. It takes a great deal of practice to get used to crutches, but for those who are new to them, they can become a depressing reminder of their injury or disability and how their mobility is severely affected, perhaps for life.

Carbo Crutsh rethinks the standard crutch design to use more lightweight materials and adopt a more natural form. Of course, they can’t really resemble legs that can bend and fold, so the design tries to use the next best thing. It tries to mimic the general shape of the legs of an ostrich, one of the fastest two-legged animals on the planet. That curved shape isn’t just for show, though, as it actually helps distribute the weight evenly to reduce the stress on arms and shoulders, unlike a very straight crutch.

The curve also makes it easy for users to wear the crutch the right way, increasing the safety of the tool. The design is also useful when climbing stairs by sticking the tip to the end of the stair and just leaning forward. This increases the user’s mobility and ability to get around places unassisted, which is a sure way to boost their confidence and brighten up their day.

Of course, the design’s name comes from the use of carbon fibers as the primary material that makes up the crutches. Carbon fiber is known to be lightweight yet durable, making the crutches more comfortable to use yet also safer and stronger. Carbo Crutsh’s design also incorporates an adjustable height mechanism so that the same pair can be used by more than just one person, saving resources and money in the long run. The design changes proposed by this concept might not be as astronomical as replacing limbs with mechanized versions or even wearing an exoskeleton, but it does attempt to improve the wearer’s quality of life without going overboard.