Assistive Shoe for Drop Foot

Project Type: 
Mechanical Engineering
Year: 
2017

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Description

This team, affectionately referred to as the "shoe team," has been working the entire year on a shoe that will help improve the lives of a large population of individuals. The shoe, Cadence, targets those with foot drop, a common neurological condition in cerebral palsy patients or stroke survivors. It is marked by a person’s inability to lift up their toes when they are walking, resulting in them dragging/scuffing their toes and potentially causing them to trip. Most people with foot drop compensate in various ways to avoid tripping or hurting themselves as a result of scuffing. These methods can be uncomfortable and painful, as well as lead to other muscular or balancing problems. Apart from the physical discomfort this condition causes people, their slower, abnormal walking is visible to everyone around them, which can be frustrating to live with. The shoe team’s main goal is to return a sense of normalcy to these people’s lives.   

Through many brain storming sessions and iterations of prototypes, they have conceived a final design that is fully mechanical and passively actuated. The simplicity of the design makes it as lightweight, safe, and sleek as an ordinary running shoe. The team is currently testing their final prototype with a volunteer who has foot drop to refine and improve the shoe as best as they can. Once complete, they will be working with the school and local companies to put together a patent for this device (and thus have chosen not to disclose any images of the device on this public website). This team is excited about the future of this project and hope to make their shoe accessible to many people.