ICU MOVER AID: This device makes it easier for patients in intensive care units to get out of their beds and move around. The designers hope it will lift patients' spirits, hasten their healing, and protect them against ailments such as bedsores. It is essentially a walker combined with a rack to hold all their monitoring equipment, along with a supportive cloth seat placed behind the legs to catch the patient in case of a stumble or weakness. It also requires less staff support when patients leave their rooms.
HOW WE WALK: Walking is different from running because only one foot at a time lifts off the ground. During forward motion, the leg that leaves the ground swings forward from the hip, like a pendulum. Then the leg strikes the ground with the heel and rolls through the toe in a motion similar to an inverted pendulum. The motion of the two legs is coordinated so that one foot or the other is always in contact with the ground -- a so-called 'double pendulum' strategy. The process of walking recovers about 60% of the energy expended thanks to the pendulum dynamics and the ground reaction force. (The legs act as long levers that transfer ground reaction force to the spine.)
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.