The inventor has gone into debt with the launch of this company, but says that giving people the ability to walk again and see them embrace their freedom makes the effort worth more than words can say.
Rob Karlovich’s vision for a revolutionary new walking aide was inspired by a story about disabled veterans returning from Afghanistan. These service people, who were once able to move with agility, were now struggling just to walk safely with the traditional walkers available to them.
As a longtime technology innovator, Rob knew he could help. The San Jose, California designer recognized that all available mobility devices had two fundamental problems.
First, they pulled people out of their center of gravity by forcing them to lean forward, making them unstable and more likely to fall. Second, they required using the hands to operate them, limiting daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, dancing, and even hugging.
To solve these problems, he reversed the traditional concept of the walker, or the other way around, to be exact.
Solve the balance problem by working backwards
Traditional walkers place the device in front of you, forcing you to bend over to grab onto the grab bars. This promotes poor posture, unbalances, and occupies the hands. Instead, the LifeGlider is placed behind the body. It secures you with a pelvic belt, which has two benefits. You can have your hands free and are supported at your center of gravity, a concept from physics that explains how ice skaters and ballet dancers can lift a person into the air while moving, without falling.
“It’s a major safety concern for people at risk for falls,” said Dr. Bruce Adornato, associate clinical professor, neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford School of Medicine. “Anyone who uses a walker today is a candidate for this device, but they must have the coordination to put the belt on and tighten it correctly or someone who can help.”
After five years of real-world testing by more than 2,000 users, LifeGlider was officially launched in Fall 2020.
Although inspired by veterans, the idea of being able to walk safely, upright, and hands-free has appealed to all types of people who have suffered from loss of mobility.
Personal stories demonstrate the impact
Josie Ingber, who worked in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley, was one of the first to try LifeGlider.
He had become increasingly unstable on his feet due to multiple sclerosis and his cane was not doing enough for him. He had fallen down a couple of times and was beginning to think he had no choice but to get a walker or use a wheelchair.
“I chose not to go out or accept social invitations as I always had to rely on someone’s arm to grab me. I was starting to feel very isolated, ”Josie said.
But LifeGlider was nothing like the walker experience she feared. It allowed her to keep working until she was ready to retire.
“I’ve been able to do so much more for myself,” Josie said. “This device has changed my life.”
Nancy Troger also had a life changing experience with LifeGlider. He broke his back 12 years ago and endured difficult physical therapy to be able to walk with a cane. But Nancy wanted more stability than a cane could offer and wanted to get back to working in her garden.
The LifeGlider, which is FDA approved as a mobility device, didn’t just make gardening possible for Nancy. He was finally able to enjoy a daily walk.
Her neighbor told Nancy that as she watched her walk to the dock using the LifeGlider, she was able to see the person Nancy must have been before the accident.
“When I walk like this, my brain remembers how it used to walk,” Nancy said. “It’s hard to explain the feeling of that memory, but it’s like putting on your favorite clothes. It just feels good. “
Margaret Fisk did not appear to have a disability, but because she suffered from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, the excessive flexibility of her joints made walking painful and dangerous.
No longer. In recounting her first time walking without having to focus on not falling, Margaret said: “I was speaking more coherently, I was committed to things. I was walking confidently for the first time in at least two years without each step being the ultimate torture. “
“Changing life is not exaggerating,” he said. “Being locked in my house without nature is a nightmare. The LifeGlider gave it back to me. “
Whether the cause is a neurological disorder, injury, or simply aging, we no longer have to accept mobility limits.
A new LifeGlider costs $ 695, but the company sells refurbished devices for $ 495, plus shipping, at www.mylifeglider.com.
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