The Cheetah Walker serves as a training device for children with mild Cerebral Palsy, for use by the client coordinator at a hospital. It provides a child-friendly device with which children with cerebral palsy may transition from a traditional, follow-behind walker to hand canes, and thereby improve their quality of life and independence. The Cheetah Walker helps children develop the upper body movement necessary to walk with a cane, while providing the stability of a four-leg walker.
The prototype has two basic components: the drive-side and the non-drive side. Both are contained in rectangular boxes with a tube steel frame and are enclosed by 1/2-inch plywood. Each box is painted with a jungle theme and a cheetah, leading the children at the hospital to name the device the “Cheetah Walker.” The drive-side of the device has a 3/4-horsepower Baylor Industrial DC electric motor with a gear reducer and runs at a speed of 68 rpm. The motor is attached to the frame using 1/8 inch steel. Sprocket 1 is attached to the gear reducer and is powered by the electric motor. Sprocket 1 turns the chain, resulting in the turning of three more sprockets that are attached to the chain. A pushrod is attached to sprocket 2, changing the rotational motion into linear motion. Sprocket 2 is bolted to ¼ inch steel rod, which is welded to the frame. The other end of the pushrod is attached to a 3/8 inch steel bar that is welded to a 1 inch steel tube. The steel tube has a ½ inch steel bar welded 7 inch above the attachment, which is connected to the frame by two pillow blocks. At the top, and perpendicular to the 1 inch steel tubing, is welded a 1.5 inch steel tube that holds the cane width adjustment tube. Sprocket 3 is used to reroute the chain, preventing mechanical rubbing. The non-drive side of the device is powered by the drive-side by way of an axle that runs underneath the treadmill. The chain on the drive-side turns sprocket 4, which turns the axle. The axle is attached to the frame by two pillow blocks. The axle has two breaks in its length. These breaks are linked together by mated couplings. The middle length of axle is supported by two pillow blocks that are attached to a separate 4.5 inch x 29 inch frame made of 1 inch steel. The non-drive side has two sprockets, attached by a chain. One sprocket turns with the axle. The cane movement mechanism works in the same way as on the non-drive side. The cane mechanism has a retractable 1 inch square tube pinned inside the 1.5 inch steel tube from the drive- and non-drive side. This allows for the 13 inches to 22 inches width for cane placement, accommodating different sizes of children. At the end of the retractable bar is a clamp from a percussion stand. The adjustability of this clamp allows for the 360 degree rotation of the canes. Normal adult canes were cut in order to fit into the clamp and to fit the height adjustability specifications. The costs for the prototype totaled approximately $1260.