• Prize
    Winner in Sport Equipment Design / Parasports
  • University
    Carleton University
  • Lead Designer
    Devang Ghosh
  • Design Status
  • Project Link
  • Web URL

SnowStride is an assistive device that aids in the sport of Snowshoeing for people with weak legs.

Snowshoeing is a common winter activity in many regions, where the surface area underneath the foot is increased to float on snow to walk on along with hiking poles in each hand to provide stability traversing snowy terrain. There is an overlap between the biomechanics of snowshoeing at that of rehabilitation therapy for leg injuries. The gait cycle of using assistive mobility products in these recovery stages such as parallel bars and walking sticks is similar to that of using hiking poles when snowshoeing. For people with weak injured legs wanting to snowshoe, hiking poles are attached to a wider snowshoe base which helps lift up the legs similar to the motions of an elliptical machine.

As the user walks in the snow, they hold on to handles attached on top of the poles, so that with each motion of the handle, the pivot point at the base of the pole lifts the snowshoe base which is attached to the foot via standard shoe bindings, therefore the forward force of the arm aids in moving each leg forward, providing an adaptive way of taking part in the winter sport of Snowshoeing.

Attaching hiking poles to a wider snowshoe base results in an eliptical-like motion, where with every stride, as the poles move, it helps lift up the base. This is useful for those with weak legs, where the biomechanics of snowshoeing are similar to that of rehabilitation therapy during the later stages of leg injury recovery. Torsion springs attached to the pivot points between the poles and the base provide springback when the poles with the attached handle are moved, resulting in the torsion springs being stretched. When the snowshoe base is lifted by the leg to take the next step, the spring naturally wants to retract to its equilibrium position, aiding the leg to become straight again as it finishes the gait cycle. This structure makes it so that the force of the arms moving forward is partially transferred to the base which propels the weak legs. Similarly to boa tightening mechanisms, a steel wire is connected to the housing of the torsion spring on one end and an adjustment dial on the other end to customize how much springback assistance one wants by stretching the spring horizontally to provide greater retractive force, useful for those with various leg strengths.

Product Detail
Manufacturing and CMF considerations were weighed heavily for SnowStride to create an affordable high-strength-to-low-weight ratio product. The ergonomic drop-down handle is made from 2-part injection molded rubber along with CNC cut cork for the grips. The poles attached to each side is a lightweight fiberglass composite which is divided into 3 pieces for it to be telescoped inside each other. The snowshoe base is made from CNC cut heavy-duty nylon that is wrapped around a bent ⅝” anodized aluminum pole as the lightweight and sturdy frame. The nylon wrap-around is secured with black aluminum rivets on the top and bottom of the frame for a secure and lightweight assembly without having adhesives breaking down in snow. Smaller mechanisms such as the locking lever for the telescoping poles, and adjustable dial are off-the-shelf anodized aluminum parts. Spikes underneath the binding and poles along with the heel grip are CNC cut aluminum. The torsion springs that allow for springback of the base is off the shelf made from aluminum and the wire connecting the dial adjuster to the torsion spring is steel. The binding is CNC cut rubber and the travel bag is sewn ripstop nylon.

SnowStride comes with height-adjustable telescoping poles and standard shoe binding to fit shoe sizes US 5 to US 12. Each snowshoe weighs 1.5kg, as lightweight materials and assembly methods are implemented. With a unisex look, SnowStride comes with shades of black for the decking, poles and handlebars with light orange binding straps and dial adjuster as an affordance measure and to resemble the color of the natural cork grips. The overall size when poles are expanded fully is 47” tall with the snowshoe base being 15” wide and 26” long for each leg. During travel and shipping, both snowshoes fit in a carrying bag that is 25” x 24” x 7” as they are retracted for a compact fit.

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