Irish students win design award for device to help elderly rise up to walk
Stryde Tech team from CIT take gold medal at competition in Australia
Students Cian O’Leary, Kevin Hayes, and Muireann Hickey with their mobility aid to assist users stand from a seated position. Photograph: Darragh Kane
A group of Irish students have taken top prize in an international technological design competition for their development of a device which helps older people and those with disability issues get up from a seated position.
The students from Cork Institute of Technology operating as Team Stryde Tech developed the mobility device to assist elderly people and others with mobility issues get up from a seated position to make use of their walking frames.
The Stryde Tech team, under its leader Muireann Hickey, and product advancement co-ordinator, Kevin Hayes took first place and gold medal for the device at the Global Student Innovation Challenge held in Canberra, Australia.
Stryde Tech team member, Cian O’Leary explained, “the mobility device helps people to get from a seated position independently, a feature absent from normal walking frames – its handles lower to the user’s seated waist height and raise to provide helpful upward force while standing up.”
Fellow team member, Jonathan Mullane explained the competition is run as part of the Annual International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology and focuses on devising technical solutions to improve the quality of life for the elderly and people with disability.
Head of faculty of engineering and science at CIT, Michael Loftus congratulated the Stryde Tech team on their success which, he said, reflected CIT’s emphasis on developing highly innovative engineers who are experts at developing products and systems that benefit society and industry.
“Stryde Tech has excelled in this context and achieved global recognition for the outstanding quality of the team’s work. They are a credit to Cork Institute of Technology, to Cork, and to Ireland, ” said Mr Loftus.
CIT president, Dr Barry O’Connor also congratulated Muireann Hickey and Cian O’Leary, who are graduates of the biomedical engineering degree course, and Kevin Hayes and Jonathan Mullane, who are graduates of mechanical engineering, on their success.
“Stryde Tech’s success is further evidence of the strong focus of CIT engineering programmes on applying high-level engineering design tools to enhance quality of life in this case for the many people who rely on assistive technology such as walking frames to maintain their independence.
“The global recognition of these CIT engineering graduates will expedite the uptake of their innovative product design for the betterment of the lives of thousands of walking frame users,” said Dr O’Connor.