Foldable rolling walker
Wheel chair with provisions for patient walker
Combined wheelchair and walker
Combination wheelchair and walker
Wheeled apparatus for use as walker and wheelchair
Configuring frame of walker
Walking frame for disabled persons
Motorized walker/wheelchair and method
Walker with movable carry basket
ApplicationNo. 11552177 filed on 10/24/2006
US Classes:280/87.021, Occupant-pushed280/87.01, Coasters280/23.1, Push280/32.6, Repairman's creepers280/29, WHEELED280/7.1, CONVERTIBLE (I.E., VELOCIPEDE TYPE)482/68, Rolling280/87.041, Standing occupant280/87.051Baby walker
ExaminersPrimary: Dickson, Paul N.
Assistant: Collado, Cynthia F.
Attorney, Agent or Firm
International ClassB62M 1/00
The present invention relates to a rolling walker, and more particularly to a rolling walker which can be can be temporarily converted to a transportation chair.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Rolling walkers or wheeled walkers are widely used by elderly people and/or other people experiencing difficulty walking without a walking aid. A rolling walker typically has a frame mounted on four rollers or wheels and a pair of rearwardlyextending hand grips to be gripped by the user for support while walking. Rolling walkers permit the user to be positioned behind the hand grips and to push and roll the walker forward over the ground. Rolling walkers usually include a seating surfaceto allow the user to rest in a sitting position with the user's feet typically resting on the ground, which requires the user to turn around and sit down in a rearward-facing direction, opposite to the direction of travel. Such a sitting position of therolling walker cannot be used to temporarily transport the user when the assistance of a care-giver is required because there is very little space between the user and the care giver when the user is seated in the rearward facing position between thehand grips. Furthermore, the conventional rolling walker does not have dedicated feet support elements which are required to support the user's feet when seated for transportation.
Therefore, there is a need for a rolling walker which provides the functionality of assisting people in walking and is temporarily convertible to a wheeled transportation chair.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
One object of the present invention is to provide a rolling walker which is temporarily convertible to a wheeling transportation chair.
In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a walker device for assisting an individual with mobility comprises a frame structure including two front legs in a substantially parallel relationship, each having an upper end and a lowerend thereof, two rear legs in a substantially parallel relationship, each having an upper end and a lower end thereof, the rear legs being connected at the upper end thereof to the respective front legs. Means are provided for rolling the walker devicealong a support surface. A seat is attached to the frame structure and extends between the front legs and between the rear legs. A detachable backrest is adapted to be selectively attached to the front legs in a front position or to the rear legs in arear position.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a walker device for assisting an individual with mobility and convertible to a transportation chair comprises a frame structure supported on rotatable wheels, including two front legs ina substantially parallel relationship, each having an upper end and a lower end thereof, two rear legs in a substantially parallel relationship, each having an upper end and a lower end, the rear legs being connected at the upper end thereof to therespective front legs. A seat attached to the frame structure extends between the front legs and between the rear legs. A backrest is attached to the frame structure and is adapted to be selectively disposed in a front position for a rearward seatingcondition or in a rear position for a forward seating condition. A footrest assembly is attached to the frame structure and is adapted to pivot about parallel first and second pivoting axes, between a folded position and an unfolded position.
Other aspects and features of the present invention will be better understood with reference to the preferred embodiments described hereinafter.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, showing by way of illustration the preferred embodiments thereof, in which:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a walker device for assisting an individual with mobility according to one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the walker device of FIG. 1, converted to a wheeled transportation chair;
FIG. 3 is a partial isometric view of a footrest assembly attached to a frame structure of the walker device of FIG. 1, showing in an partially exploded view, the folded position of the footrest assembly;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the footrest assembly taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a partially isometric view of the foot assembly of the walker device converted to a wheeled transportation chair, as illustrated in FIG. 2, showing in a partially exploded view, the unfolded position of the footrest assembly;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the footrest assembly taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a partial front view of a hinge device used in the footrest assembly shown in FIG. 3; and
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the hinge device taken along line 8-8 in FIG. 7, showing means incorporated to the hinge device for restricting the pivoting motion of the footrest assembly.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a walker device generally indicated by numeral 10 which is normally used as a rolling walker for assisting an individual with mobility, as shown in FIG. 1, can be temporarily converted into a wheeled transportationchair, as shown in FIG. 2. The walker device 10 generally includes a frame structure 12 which has two sides symmetric about a central vertical plane (not shown). For clarity and convenience of illustration, components which are identical on therespective sides of the walker device will be indicated only on one of the sides.
The frame structure 12 includes two front legs 14 disposed in a substantially parallel relationship on the respective sides, each having an upper end 16 and a lower end 18 thereof. The front legs 14 are preferably made of metal tubes and aredisposed in a slanted orientation with the lower end 18 thereof preferably slightly bent in a vertical direction.
The frame structure 12 further includes two rear legs 20 in a substantially parallel relationship, each have an upper end 22 and a lower end 24 thereof. The rear legs 20 are connected at the upper end 22, preferably through a hinge device (notindicated), to the upper end 16 of the respective front legs 14. The rear legs 20 are also preferably made of metal tubes.
An interconnecting frame, preferably a folding frame assembly, is provided with two foldable rods 26 which are pivotably fastened to the front legs 14 and the rear legs 20 at the respective sides of the frame structure 12. The foldable rods 26are provided about a bracing rod 28 which extends transversely across the frame structure 12 and is pivotably connected to the respective foldable rods 26. Therefore, the frame structure 12 preferably presents an A-shaped configuration in a side viewthereof. However, due to the foldability, the frame structure 12 can be collapsed into a packing condition for storage and/or transportation.
Rollers, castors and/or small wheels 30 are rotatably mounted to the lower ends 18, 24 of the respective front a rear legs 14, 20 for rolling the walker device 10 along a support surface, for example, a ground surface. The two small wheels 30attached to the front legs 18 are preferably fastened to the vertical lower ends 18 such that the two small front wheels 30 are capable of a 360° rotation, which is well known in the industry and will not be further described herein.
The frame structure 12 is reinforced by cross members 32, 34 and 36 preferably made of metal tubes, which extend transversely across the frame structure 12 to interconnect the two sides of the frame structure. In particular, cross member 32 isconnected at opposed ends thereof, for example by fasteners (not shown) directly to the lower ends 18 of the respective front legs 14, and extends therebetween. The cross member 34, preferably in a U-shape, is attached to the respect front legs 14 at amiddle section thereof by a pair of brackets 38. The brackets 38 which can be made of a small section of tube or can be formed as a sleeve, for example, are attached to the front legs 18, for example by welding, and define a hole (not shown) extendingthrough the respective brackets 38. The two ends of the U-shaped cross member 34 are inserted into the respective brackets 38 from a lower end thereof, and are affixed to the brackets 38 by fasteners (not indicated). It should be noted that the ends ofthe U-shaped cross member 34 are received only half way into the mounting hole of the brackets 38, and therefore the upper portion of the mounting hole in the respective brackets 38 are still available for receiving a tubular connection member therein.
The cross member 36, preferably in a U-shape, is connected to the rear legs 20 by a pair of brackets 40 in a manner similar to the connection of the cross member 34 to the front legs 14, and therefore the description thereof will not be repeatedherein.
A seat 42 is provided with the frame structure 12 to extend between the front legs 14 and between the rear legs 20, and is supported on the cross members 34, 36. It is preferably to pivotably attach the seat 42 to one of the cross members 34, 36(such as to the front cross member 34) and detachably rest the seat 42 on the other (such as the rear cross member 36) such that the seat 32 can be pivoted about one of the cross members 34, 36 to allow the rear legs 20 to pivot towards the front legs 14when the frame structure 12 must be collapsed. The cross members 34, 36 are disposed at substantially a same height relative to the support surface such that the seat 42 is disposed in a substantially horizontal orientation. A cloth bag 43 isoptionally provided under the seat, for example by being tied to the respective cross members 34, 36.
A pair of hand grips 44 are provided to the frame structure 12. Each of the hand grips 44 is preferably made of a metal tube which can be slidably received in the upper end 16 of the tubular front legs 14 such that the height of the hand grips44 can be adjusted relative to the support surface in accordance with the user's requirements. The hand grips 44 can be locked in a desired position by a variety of locking means (not indicated) which are well known in the industry and will nottherefore be described herein. Each of the hand grips 44 includes an upper end which is bent at an angle relative to the slanted orientation of the front legs 14 in order to form a grip portion 46 to which a lever assembly 48 is attached to activate abrake 50 mounted to the lower end 24 of the respective rear legs 20 through a cable (not indicated). The lever assembly 48 and the bracket 50 are conventional and will not be further described in detail.
A backrest 52 is detachably and selectively mounted to the frame structure 12 in a front position, as shown in FIG. 1, or in a rear position as shown in FIG. 2. The backrest 52 is preferably made of a metal tube having a upper portion 54extending between two arms 56 which are configured so as to position the upper portion 54 to comfortably support the back of a user seated on the seat 42 when the back rest 52 is attached to the frame structure 12, either in the front position or the inthe rear position, depending on the way the user is to be seated. The upper portion 54 is preferably wrapped with a cushion material.
In particular, when the backrest 52 is disposed in the front position as shown in FIG. 1, the ends of the arms 56 of the backrest 52 are received in the upper portion of the mounting hole defined in the respective brackets 38. Fasteners areoptional to further secure the backrest 52 in position. In contrast to the attachment of the cross member 34 to the brackets 38 which do not require frequent detachment, the attachment of backrest 52 to the brackets 38 requires both reliability andconvenience for detachment. Therefore, it is preferred that enough length of the attached ends of the arms 56 is received within the respective brackets 38 to ensure secure attachment of backrest 52 to brackets 38, without the need for additionalfastening means.
The backrest 52 can be conveniently detached from the brackets 38 and, in a similar way, can be attached to the respective brackets 40 on the rear legs 20 to permit a rear seating position as shown in FIG. 2. When the backrest 52 is disposed inthe rear position, the upper portion 54 of the backrest 52 may extend between the grip portions 46 of the hand grips 44 and the lever assemblies 48, depending on the adjusted position of the hand grips 44. Therefore, the upper portion 54 of the backrest52 should be sized appropriately and the arms 56 should be configured accordingly to avoid interference between the upper portion 54 of the backrest 52 and the hand grips 44 and lever assemblies 48.
Further referring to FIGS. 1-7, a foldable footrest assembly 58 is attached to the frame structure 12 and is adapted to pivot about first and second pivoting axes 60, 62 (see FIG. 2) which are parallel to each other and extend transversely acrossthe frame structure 12, between a folded position as shown in FIG. 1 and an unfolded position as shown in FIG. 2. The footrest assembly 58 is preferably made of metal tubular materials. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, thefootrest assembly 58 includes a pair of arms 64, each having first and second ends 66, 68 thereof. Each of the arms 64 is pivotably mounted at the first end 66 thereof to one of the front legs 14, preferably by means of a hinge device 70, and is adaptedto pivot about the first pivoting axis 60. A foot rest bar 72, preferably configured in a U shape, is pivotably connected at each end to the second end 68 of the corresponding one of the arms 64, preferably by means of a hinge device 74, and is adaptedto pivot about the second pivoting axis 62.
The arms 64 are bent at a location near the first end 66 thereof at an angle substantially similar to the angle between the vertical lower end 18 and the slanted major portion of the front leg 14. In the folded position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and3-4, the arms 64 of the footrest assembly 58 are pivoted about the first pivoting axis 60 such that the arms 64 extend upwardly in an orientation similar to that of the slanted front legs 14. The U-shaped footrest bar 72 is suspended downwardly from thesecond end 68 of the upwardly extending arms 64, preferably pivoting slightly towards the cloth bag 43 and is releasably attached to the cloth bag 43 for example by a strap fastener 76. Therefore, when the footrest assembly 58 is disposed in this foldedposition, the footrest assembly 58 is somewhat hidden within the frame structure 12.
When the footrest assembly 58 is disposed in an unfolded position as shown in FIGS. 2 and 5-6, the arms 64 extend forwardly from the frame structure 12 with the U-shaped footrest bar 72 suspended downwardly from the second end 68 of the forwardlyextending arms 64. The footrest bar 52 is positioned above and spaced apart from the ground surface to allow the walker device 10 to move along the ground surface without interference. The hinge device 70 which pivotably connects the first end 66 ofthe arm 64 to one of the front legs 14, is preferably attached to the front leg 14 at a location slightly above the cross member 32 such that a section of the arm 64 near the first end 66 thereof rests on the cross member 32 when the arms 64 extendforwardly in a substantially horizontal direction, as more clearly shown in FIG. 6. In such a configuration, a load from a user's feet to the footrest bar 72, is transferred to the frame structure 12 through both the cross member 32 and the hingedevices 74. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, the cross member 32 preferably has two end sections (not indicated) reinforced with sleeve sections therearound to support the respective arms 64 resting thereon. The U-shaped footrest bar preferably includes asection of sleeves (not indicated) loosely therearound to provide a comfortable rest element for the user's feet. The hinge devices 70 and 74 are similar and preferably include means for restricting the pivoting motion of the footrest assembly 58.
In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the hinge device 70 (as well as the hinge device 74) is illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. The hinge device 70 includes a pair of hinge elements 701 and 702 affixed to the respective lowerend 18 of one front leg 14 and the second end 66 of one arm 64 and rotatable relative to each other about a bolt 703 which extends through central holes defined in the hinge elements 701, 702 to be secured to the front leg 14. Each of the hinge elements701, 702 has a flat end surface 704, 705 with an axial protruding member 706, 707. Each of the protruding members 706, 707 takes up a circumferential section of the flat end surfaces 704 or 705 to allow the hinge elements 701, 702 to rotate or pivotwithin an angular range to a point at which the two protruding members 706, 707 meet together at either side thereof. In this embodiment, each of the protruding members 706, 707 takes up a circumferential section of about 1/3 of the respective flat endsurface 704 or 705 such that the pivotable angular range indicated by A in FIG. 8 is limited to about 120°.
It should be noted that any desirable pivoting range can be obtained by choosing the circumferential dimensions of the protruding members 706 and 707. It should also be noted that in order to have the footrest assembly 58 pivotable between thedesired orientations (the folded and unfolded positions as shown in the respective FIGS. 1 and 2) the circumferential position of the respective protruding members 706, 707 should be properly determined when the hinge devices are affixed to thecorresponding connecting members such as front legs 18 and arms 64, or arms 64 and the U-shaped footrest bar 72.
In operation, the frame structure 12 is fully extended from its collapsed storage condition to form a stable A-shaped configuration which can be pushed and rolled on the ground or other support surfaces. When the walker device 10 is used as aroller walker for assisting an individual while walking, the backrest 52 is placed in the front position and the footrest assembly 58 is disposed in the folded position and is secured to the cloth bag 43, as shown in FIG. 1. Optionally, the backrest 52can be removed from the frame structure 12 entirely, if desired. The user grips the grip portions 46 of the hand grips 44 and pushes the walker device 10 on the support surface while therebehind. When the user wishes to rest, the user can press thelever assemblies to brake the rear wheels 30. The lever assemblies 48 preferably has the function to lock the braking condition. After the rear wheels 30 are locked in the braked condition, the user can turn around and sit on the seat 42 facingrearwardly. The user can lean against the backrest 52 which is placed in the front position.
When the walker device 10 is temporarily used as a wheeled transportation chair, the backrest 52 is detached from the brackets 38 and the arms 56 thereof are then inserted into the brackets 40 on the rear legs 20, thereby forming the rearposition of the backrest 52. The upper portion 54 of the backrest 52 extends between the two hand grips 44 behind the seat 42, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The strap fastener 76 on the cloth bag 43 is released to allow the footrest assembly 58 to bepivoted about the respective pivoting axes 60, 62 from the folded position (shown in FIG. 1) to the unfolded position (see FIG. 2). In the unfolded position, the U-shaped footrest bar 72 is suspended downwardly from the forwardly extending arms 64, andis spaced apart from the support surface. The footrest assembly 58 is prevented from pivoting far enough to cause contact between the U-shaped footrest bar and the ground surface, by the axial protruding members 706, 707 of the hinge device 70 and/or bythe cross member 32 which prevents the further pivoting motion of the arms 64 about the pivoting axis 60. The user can then be seated on the seat 42 facing forwardly, with his/her feet resting on the U-shaped footrest bar 72, and the walker device 10which is now temporarily converted to a wheeled transportation chair can be pushed and rolled on the ground or other support surfaces by a caregiver who walks behind the walker device 10.
The above description is meant to be exemplary only and one skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made to the embodiments described without departure from the scope of the invention disclosed. For example, the present inventioncan be applicable to a walker device having a frame structure different from the described frame structure, such as one which is not collapsible, and/or not presenting a general A-shaped configuration. The hand grips, brake system and wheels may beconfigured differently from those of the described embodiments and the cloth bag is optional. Still other modifications which fall within the scope of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of a review of thisdisclosure, and such modifications are intended to fall within the appended claims.
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