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On the streets of San Francisco, one can often see elderly people using a walker to help them stabilize their gait. You may also see tennis balls attached to two of the bottom legs to reduce friction with the ground. If you watch for long enough, you might notice users hunched over their devices. In additional to the need for personal adjustments, we noted that poor posture and the location of the walker created social and physical barriers.  These simple observations inspired us to ask the question - how might we redesign the walker to better meet the physical and social needs of its users? 


Design and Market Research​


Iteration, Prototyping, Testing


Geriatric Mobility.jpg

We approached a variety of people with mobility issues, primarily focusing on those who used walkers. We casually approached people on sidewalks and interviewed people we knew. We observed their movements and preferences.

We drew inspiration from Oxo Goodgrips kitchen tools, Herman Miller chairs and cycling handles to learn about best in class grip and posture solutions. We used these to inspire our designs.

We reviewed existing solutions to uncover gaps in the market.


We conducted synthesis weekly and allowed brainstorming to arise into each session. Once we finished our research, we:

  • Developed personas of the users of walkers

  • Honed in on who we were designing for - the Resigned and the Resilient 

  • Generated as many ideas as possible, iterating off of each idea that came to light

  • Drew inspiration from extreme users - athletes and veterans with mobility issues

  • Prioritized design principles and features


Once we settled on our end user, we continued to refine our designs. Eventually, we settled in on a  design that met our users' needs. We created a life size functional prototype. 

We drew inspiration from Patricia Moore, a designer and gerontologist who pioneered the universal design movement. I served as the official tester and simulated physical ailments to test the product. I impaired my hearing, grip and sight to see how well the model supported me. Once we made adjustments to the functional prototype, we created a 3-D appearance prototype and a  2-D folded prototype. 


  • Product Pitch Deck

  • Life Size Functional Prototype

  • 3-D Appearance Prototype

  • 2-D Folded Prototype

Veronica Testing_edited.jpg
Geriatric Mobility_edited.jpg

Pitch Deck Visual Design: Roseann Stempinski

Functional Prototype.jpg

Functional Prototype: Albin Louit, Eric Oishi, Roseann Stempinski, Bert Vick, Veronica Vela

Appearance Prototype.jpg

3-D Appearance Prototype: Roseann Stempinski

2-D Folded Prototype: Albin Louit & Roseann Stempinski

Folded Prototype.png


Our prototypes were used for over 15 years as a model outcome for the flagship New Product Development class University of California, Berkeley (UCB). Our course professor, Dr. Sara Beckman, kept the life size prototype in her office to demonstrate the power of design. After a decade of teaching the course, Dr. Beckman went on to found the Jacobs Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary institute to expand design beyond the business and engineering schools at UCB. This course, changed the trajectory of my career. I spent the next ten years finding ways to integrated design into my working style and eventually found myself in roles where I could exclusively practice design. 

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