With manufacturing plans currently underway for the Enlight Gait Trainer independent mobility device, COO Adrian Rodriguez wrapped up what he described as “a challenging couple of weeks where one small component caused a few too many big headaches.”
As Enlighten Mobility’s lead engineer, Rodriguez advances the company’s human-centered approach to innovation – designing products for patients’ functionality and usability.
“After we have a design that meets the needs of our patients and fits clinical and regulatory parameters, we then address manufacturability – which means looking for ways to make things simpler, more durable and less expensive,” said Rodriguez.
The “small component” was key to the Enlight Gait Trainer’s innovative sit-to-stand feature – but its numerous complex parts required more problem-solving.
According to Rodriguez, as a patient goes from sitting to standing in the device, the Enlight Gait Trainer is designed to bring the hips forward naturally over the knees for proper biomechanics without the help of a physical therapist required for other gait trainers.
“We decided that it was essential for patients to go from sitting to standing in the device completely on their own – the Enlight Gait Trainer is designed to give patients their independence, and that’s something we’re not willing to compromise,” said Rodriguez.
Backed by his experience in robotics manufacturing for Toyota, the gold standard of engineering, Rodriguez brought in several engineers and biomechanics experts to collaborate with him. From refining designs on the computer and sketching concepts on paper to manipulating the physical parts of the device, Rodriguez and his contributing team were able to make the improvements necessary for manufacturing.
“We had a great exchange of ideas and worked until we could simplify the sit-to-stand component,” said Rodriguez. “What started as a component with 64 parts is now down to a very manageable 16 parts. Best of all, we’re able to give patients exactly what they want, without compromising their independence.”