Inspired by grandparents’ mobility struggles, two high school seniors from Chantilly, Virginia, designed a one-of-a-kind walker and are working toward getting a patent for their invention.
The 17-year-old best friends, Akanksha Tibrewala and Kaavya Karthikeyan, say they designed their device at the height of the pandemic. They call it the AutoTrem.
“[My great grandmother] had a walker, and my parents would tell me a lot about how she had paralysis, and it was difficult for her to complete simple tasks,” Tibrewala said.
Karthikeyan said she knows other grandparents suffering with Parkinson’s disease, which affects the nervous system and can impact movement.
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The AutoTrem walker automatically moves forward at the press of a button and has a sensor that can detect obstacles. It also features a laser and a band that encourage users to lift their feet and walk in a way that builds muscle, the teens told Fairfax County Public Schools.
The teens won $2,500 in a local “Shark Tank”-type challenge and now want a patent. Eventually, the goal is to get the device on the market and help Parkinson’s patients worldwide.
Tibrewala and Karthikeyan are on track to graduate high school this year, and both hope to pursue careers in biomedical engineering.