Horses inspired a device, that's helping people walk again, thanks to a small business in Fremont.
A few months ago, Forrest Schall didn't dare take a walk down his own block.
"I can't... Walk on the street, because I'd wander. I would go into traffic,” said Schall.
Forrest has multiple sclerosis - impacting his balance and gait.
He used to consider is a nuisance until he heard about a new device called the Kickstart - inspired by a horse's anatomy. Specifically, their long leg tendons that act like springs.
"And this is one of the reasons why horses can run all day long and I get tired after a couple of miles, because the tendons do most of the work for the horse, whereas the muscles do most of the work for the humans,” said Cadence Biomedical’s Brian Glaister.
"We took that idea and built a hardware store prototype in my basement with hand tools and a couple thousand dollars’ worth of parts we got up the street at the hardware store," said Glaister.
Cadence Biomedical in Fremont turned the prototype into the Kickstart Brace. Designed to help patients with neurological conditions re-learn the ability to walk.
The brace fits around the waist and connects to the leg. And it didn't take Forrest long to feel the Kickstart difference.
"It forces me to walk better,” said Schall. "I had it on for less than five minutes and I was sold."
Within weeks of his fitting, Forrest joined the MS Walk and made it seven-tenths of a mile. The furthest he'd walked in years.
"You know, this is a business but there's something that really pulls on the heartstrings with this product and makes getting up every morning and going to work worth it," said Glaister.
"Best thing since peanut butter,” said Schall.
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