Title:
Ergonomic walking cane
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An ergonomically designed walking cane with the sole purpose of reducing the force of impact and the associated impulses along the longitudinal axis of the cane shaft as generated when the cane tip hits the ground during walking. With a systematic approach taken to treat the interfaces between the cane, the user and the ground as a whole system and then followed by detailed analyses backed by human physiological and ergonomic studies, the resultant optimizations and improvements are made to achieve this objective. The resultant reduction in the force of impact and the associated impulses in said walking cane minimizes the risk of injuries such as the Repetitive Strain Injuries and other potential injuries to the wrist, hand, arm shoulder, back, spine, neck and the head. The immediate therapeutic benefits to a user are the lack of any undue fatigue and the almost effortless sensation associated with extended period of use of said ergonomic cane.



Inventors:
Cheng, Cheng Tung (Mountain View, CA, US)
Shih, Hung Ying (Santa Clara, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/350706
Publication Date:
07/29/2004
Filing Date:
01/24/2003
Assignee:
CHENG CHENG TUNG
SHIH HUNG YING
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45B1/00; A45B9/02; A45B7/00; (IPC1-7): A45B1/00; A45B7/00; A45B9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STERLING, AMY JO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cheng Tung Cheng (Mountain View, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An ergonomically designed walking cane comprising: (a) a handle having the rear end tapered up 30 degrees; (b) a shaft body having a long axis with upper and lower ends; (c) a tip member having a socket portion in which said lower end of said shaft member is received and a base portion which is shaped like a miniature human foot for resting on an underlying support surface.

2. A walking cane as claimed in claim 1 wherein said handle is rigidly attaches to the upper end of a longitudinal perpendicular shaft member which bisects said handle into an 80% of length serving as the handle grip and the remaining 20% length serving as a counter balance weight where said handle is sized and optimized in curvature so as to comfortably fit a user's hand; where the entire length of said handle along with about 2″ of the joint along the vertical shaft are coated with an uniform layer of impact absorbing material. An index finger guard shaped to conform to the contour of a curled up index finger as in holding said handle near the joint between said handle member and the upper end of said shaft member. The far end of said handle grip gently tapers up to make user's hand fit around said handle snug against the joint between said handle and the vertical shaft where the curled index finger is lightly in touch with the impact absorbing material to affect a shifting of the user's primary grip of said handle directly over the Adductor Pollicis Muscle (also known as the Anatomic Snuff Box region of human hand) in between the thumb and the index finger to relieve undue strain on the wrist where the risk of sustaining the Repetitive Strain Injuries is reduced. Furthermore with the user's Adductor Pollicis muscle gripping around said handle results in the intense and continuous stimulation of an acupuncture point named “Hegu” with an internationally recognized identification of “L.i. 4”. The intense stimulation of “Hegu” point results in drastically improved stamina and correspondingly reduced fatigue during an extended period of usage of said ergonomic cane.

3. A walking cane as claimed in claim 1 wherein said shaft member has two shallow and elongated indentations punched to absorb the force of impact and the associated impulses induced by said tip hitting the ground; one indentation on the upper portion near said handle but below the impact absorbing material; the other on the lower portion near said tip member.

4. A walking cane as claimed in claim 1 wherein said tip mimics the orthopedic structures of a human foot with the sole purpose of absorbing and vectoring the force of impact and the associated impulses away from said shaft during the process of walking where the downwardly slanted nose of said tip vectors a substantial portion of the impact force into the ground by digging into the ground; the arch opening across the entire width of the base of said tip member and the sculpted rear of said tip mimics the heel of a human foot are all designed to absorb and vector away the force of impact and the associated impulses similar to that of human foot.

5. A walking cane as claimed in claim 4, wherein the tip member is formed of an resiliently yielding semi-rigid rubber material.

6. A walking cane as claimed in claim 4, wherein said wall portion of said socket portion of said tip member extends upwardly to an upper opening of said socket portion through which said shaft member of said cane extends into said tip member.

7. A walking cane as claimed in claim 6, wherein said socket in the base of said tip member is terminated with a rigid metal disk with larger diameter than the diameter of said shaft where the perimeter of said metal disk is molded into the resiliently semi-rigid rubber material to provide a base support for said shaft member.

8. A walking cane as claimed in claim 4, wherein said tip member with a proportional scaling up to such dimensions and mass to enable the entire cane to stand up freely and yet still retain the ability to reduce impulses and force impacts during walking.

9. A walking cane as claimed in claim 4, wherein said tip member making contact with earthen surface with three rigid rubber or metallic cleats at the bottom of said tip member arranged in a tripod configuration where the linear distances from the center of said tip member to each of the three cleats are exactly equal to further reduce the force of impact and associated impulses when the cleats hit the ground.

10. A walking cane as claimed in claim 4, wherein said tip member alone can fit into any existing can, walker and crutch to achieve a substantial amount of reduction in the force of impact and the associated impulses during walking.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates generally to walking canes, and more particularly to ergonomic walking cane with reduced the force of impact and the associated impulses resulting from the cane tip hitting the ground during walking.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0002] Walking canes, have been known and used for thousands of years in countries like China, India and Egypt. The basic shape has not been changed much although some practical improvements have been made in making the walking cane more attractive to use basically just bells and whistles. One such example is Troyer's “Walking Cane Having A Multifunctional, Expandable Handle”, disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,488,042 B2 which is a walking cane that has articulating element embedded in the handle of the cane. With the articulating elements rotated outward to form a tripod and becomes self-standing when inverted. This apparatus does nothing to reduce the force impact resulting from the tip of the cane hitting the ground during walking. Another example is the “Impact Responsive Extendible Arm Pick-up For Walking Cane or the Like” as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,039,064 describing an “arm extending assembly” attaching to a walking cane to enable user to retrieve a cane on the floor without bending over. Whereas U.S. Pat. No. 6,011,481 is the only prior art involving the measurement of force of impact at the tips of a multi-leg walking cane to warn the user of an impending imbalance situation hoping the user will make necessary adjustment to prevent a fall. This apparatus does nothing to reduce the force of impact at all. An improved and preferred cane would be one that is not only a walking aid and self-standing, but also a cane that has ergonomic features designed exclusively to reduce the impulses and the force of impact in order to reduce the risk of injuries such as the Repetitive Strain Injuries to the wrist, hand, arm shoulder, spine, neck and head associated with the use of a conventional walking cane. Furthermore, specifically, ergonomic features would include a handle that is easy to grip and a grip that could have potential health benefits to the user's hand. A shaft to deflect the sharp impulses and force of impact off the longitudinal axis of the cane shaft as well as a tip member which absorbs and deflects the same impulse and force of impact.

[0003] Another desirable feature is to maintain the relatively light weight as not to burden the user with unnecessary weight.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The Invention is a walking cane having an ergonomic handle which positions user's hand in such a way as to shift the loading point to the anatomical snuff box region of the hand directly under the Adductor Pollicis muscle and the Hegu (L.i. 4) acupuncture point to reduce impulses and force of impact when said cane tip hits the ground and to enhance the health of the user by stimulating an acupuncture point; said straight shaft member with built-in indentation strips on both ends of the shaft to deflect the impulses and the force of impact off of the longitudinal axis of said shaft member and said tip member which mimics the human foot structure with four innovative impulse and impact absorbing components: (1) The first absorbing component is the ground and deep opening socket on the topside of said tip which the lower end of said shaft member is being received. As the cane goes through its motion the said socket wall bends said shaft to deflect the impulses and impact vectors off the longitudinal axis of said shaft member. (2) The front 22.5 degree slant of the nose portion of said tip member deflects the impulses and impact vectors at 22.5 degrees off of the longitudinal axis of said shaft member when the nose of the tip member hits the ground first during each walk cycle. (3) The arch opening at the bottom of said tip member allows a minute amount of flexes along the curvature of the arch to disperse the vertical impulses and impacts uniformly in radial directions from the longitudinal axis of said shaft member. (4) The heel portion of said tip member absorbs the impulses and force of impact via the vertical compression in the “S” shaped region similar to a metallic or plastic “S” spring when the heel first hits the ground and followed by the rolling of said tip member towards the arch opening and eventually uncompressing as said member rolls towards the nose of said tip member. The collection of the four absorbing elements of said tip member represent the bulk of reduction against the impulses and the force of impact between the ground and user-cane interface. Further reductions are made by said shaft and handle members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention, as it would be used as a walking cane.

[0006] FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the tip member showing the arch opening and the cleats.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The walking cane in FIG. 1 is comprised of a handle 1, an index finger guard 5, which is shaped to conform to the contour of the index finger in a curled posture as holding the handle 1, a longitudinal perpendicular shaft member 2, which is the straight portion of a walking cane with one indentation punched on the upper end near the index finger guard 5 and one indentation punched on the lower end near the tip member 3, and a semi-rigid rubber tip member 3 for reducing the sharp impulses and the force of impact. The tip member 3 has four contributing reduction components built-in; the torque socket 10 on the top where the lower end of the shaft member is received; the 22.5 degree slanted nose 9; the arch opening 8; and the heel 7 at the rear of the tip member.

[0008] The bottom view of the tip member 3 in FIG. 2 illustrates the arch opening 9 stretching widthwise across the bottom and the three cleats 11 arranged in equal distance from the center of said tip member 3 to enhance stability in free-standing position and reduction in the force of impact and the associated impulses.