Crutches, how many people can honestly say they have returned a pair back to the NHS? I for one know I’m guilty of this. However it was not until seeing the final year project of Alexander Williams did I realise the impact of not returning them. On average a pair of crutches will cost the NHS about £20, this might not sound like much, but with hundreds of hospitals nationwide replacing crutches, it can quickly add up. This would mean that over the course of a year the NHS is wasting valuable resources replacing them. Resources which could otherwise be used for much more important things.
The project looked into placing the traditional aluminium crutch with a cheap disposable plastic product targeted at a price of £5 a pair. This would act as a solution to the national crutch shortages and unnecessary spending.
Through extensive research and development Alexander has managed to identify many key structural elements and implement them into his redesign, ensuring the minimal plastic design has the strength needed to support the users weight. Through varying levels of prototyping he has also managed to identify key areas of weakness and strengthened them, ensuring his redesign has similar strength and durability to its predecessor.
Aside from the structural aspects of the crutch, he has also eliminated the need to return the crutches directly to the NHS. As they are made out of nylon, they are easily recycled back into the system. A two part snap fitted cuff allows for a hassle free assembly, which is quickly tailored to the user. Further ergonomic considerations have been made based on his in-depth user research, this included the angle of the handle for comfortable use during prolonged use.
Furthermore the visual structure of the crutch creates a very aesthetically pleasing product. Definitely a product where form follows function.