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Why canes and walkers are getting a new look

byACRE byACRE
After many years of outdated mobility aids, design companies are finally listening and changing the industry. In this article by The Wall Street Journal, they dig into the reason behind the change and we’re proud to be part of it:
Why canes and walkers are getting a new look

Older people have long complained that products designed for them are clunky and unattractive.

Now investors and inventors are starting to listen to their complaints.

As the population of people aged 65 and over grows, so does their spending power in the marketplace – and designers are taking notice. More companies are offering walkers, canes and other products that deftly assist the elderly – and are stylish at the same time. And investors are helping more of these businesses get to market.

The boomer generation is the first to wield its considerable spending power to reject bad design, says Patricia Moore, an industrial designer. As a 20-something-year-old in the 1970s, Dr Moore disguised herself for a year as an octogenarian to fully understand how design fails older people.

“We were the ones always fighting for social change and looking good doing it,” says the designer, now 67 years old. “Now the medical model of ageing doesn’t suit us, and we’re using consumer choice to drive the change.”

 

Speeding up evolution

Products such as walkers and canes have been slow to evolve aesthetically over the past century, as designers focused largely on products for their young, mobile peers and largely ignored the desires of the elderly, says Chris McGinley, a senior research fellow at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at London’s Royal College of Art.

But, Dr McGinley says a shift in the way design thinking is taught in schools – as well as the slow death of the “superstar, egocentric designer” – has meant the needs and desires of older people are now being considered by those who develop products for them.

“Research-and-design ethnography methods that teach people to understand the end user experience seemed quite niche 10 or so years ago; now, they’re a part of most good design courses,” Dr McGinley says.

When designers ask older people what they want from products, the answer is often simple: something which does not look like something a frail, disabled person would use, says Don Norman, a former Apple designer. Now 84 years old, he believes designers too often equate age with poverty.

“Don’t we all find more attractive furniture or clothing and pay a bit more for it throughout our lives?” he says. “Why should it be different for this time in life?”

The request for a cool-looking walker or a well-designed long-term-care facility goes deeper than vanity, says Charlotte Yeh, chief medical officer of AARP, who used a cane herself for a number of years after a car accident in 2011.

“We have to address the damaging imagery of ageing: Old-fashioned mobility and medical devices can turn you into an object of pity,” Dr Yeh says. “When you bring a sense of design and beauty and aesthetics to them, people will talk about them, and people will talk to you – it becomes a way to connect.”

This group has power in numbers: In 2018, there were 52 million Americans over the age of 65, a figure that will nearly double to 95 million by 2060, according to the Census Bureau. And Boston Consulting Group projects that Americans over age 55 will account for half of all domestic consumer-spending growth from 2008 to 2030.

Yet Ipsos research found that 82% of those over age 55 say their favorite retail brand no longer understands them or what they need. This feeling of alienation – plus a rise in internet literacy among seniors – is pushing the demographic to seek out and spend their money with brands that cater to their aesthetic needs, says Brian McMahon, founder of design research collective Segment International LLC.

“The idea that older folks are more brand loyal is an outdated view,” he says.

Many of the companies older adults are turning to have gotten into the niche fairly recently.

Danish design house byACRE ApS, which made its retail debut in 2018, is producing carbon-based rollators – walkers with wheels – as a sleek and lightweight alternative to the heavy-duty aluminum offerings sold in mobility shops. The Danish company has sold roughly 12,000 units since its launch, to customers in the US, Japan and Australia.

Founder and chief executive Anders Berggreen was previously chief executive of Seed, a studio that sold high-end baby strollers. He began adapting his design skills for the senior market after someone at a design fair commented on the similarity between strollers and rollators.

Ten years ago byACRE wouldn’t have existed, Mr. Berggreen says. “Older people are using the internet more and googling ‘stylish rollator’ and finding us,” he says.

Another big change: “End users are primarily making the purchases,” he says. “Previously, it was children or caregivers who did the buying, and they simply chose whatever was on offer in mobility stores – which meant ease and good looks weren’t always prime considerations.”

Source: Wall Street Journal – Why Canes and Walkers are Getting a New Look – August 1, 2020

 

I keep the transformation as proof of life

byACRE byACRE
Art Collector Barbara Jakobson has lived in her vertical, yet inspiring, home in Manhattan for over 56 years. How does she do it? She lets her house change along with her life – including welcoming her Carbon Ultralight rollator. In this article by Curbed, we gain insight into a creative way of living:
“I keep the transformation as proof of life.”

“This house has a great history,” says Barbara Jakobson, much of which she made herself. She is 88 and has lived here since 1965, filling all five stories with her collection of paintings, sculptures, photography and furniture. And the last thing she wanted to do was leave it. But a townhouse means a vertical life and “after 56 years of climbing stairs without major incidents, I was hurrying down from the top floor to the one below at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday October 23. I tripped and as I crashed to the landing below, I cursed my fate,” she says. She broke her leg in the fall, but, she says gleefully, “I did not hit my head!”

She immediately realized she needed to find a way to move between floors more safely. Probably one of those stairlifts, if she could find one she liked. The house could be adapted. As her collecting evolved, it had always changed with her life. “I see the house as a vessel for an ongoing autobiographical exercise,” she says. “I keep the transformation as proof of life.”

They raised three children there. Barbara, who grew up across the street from the Brooklyn Museum and spent many hours in its galleries, studied art and architectural history at Smith College. As an adult, she began collecting art and got to know influential dealers, including Sidney Janis, Ileana Sonnabend and Leo Castelli. She also had an interest in architecture, encouraged by MoMA curator Emilio Ambasz and after becoming head of the Junior Council at the Museum of Modern Art in 1971, she organized a show of architectural drawings that included works by Peter Eisenman, Raimund Abraham, and Gaetano Pesce and became a trustee of MoMA in 1974.

Her many friendships are visible in these rooms: She and Robert Mapplethorpe were close and she sat for many portraits by him. She bought the Robert Morris felt piece in the foyer in 1970; “Bob was a great pal. I really knew him until the end of his life.” She helped Sachs get his first job out of college, working with her when she was consulting for Knoll, doing plywood furniture with Frank Gehry, “which I got Frank to do.”

The Sitting Room: Jakobson’s new carbon-fiber walker mingles with totems of her life and interests. The portrait of Jakobson above the fireplace, one of many taken by Robert Mapplethorpe during their long friendship, is flanked by photographs by Matthew Barney. Richard Artschwager designed the chair in front of the fireplace. “I just thought it was so witty,” she says of the rubber vase with weeds by the Campana brothers in the middle of the room. The Lolita rug is by Barbara Bloom. The view is over the double-height room with the ghost Stella.

While recuperating from her fall, she looked into finding the right chairlift, one that might keep her in her house. She has always been fascinated by chairs. The first research paper she ever did, at age 13, was on the history of the chair. Why the chair? “Well, you know, the chair is the substitute for the human body. The chair is the only piece of furniture that relates to a single human being. From the time you get into your high chair to the time you get into your wheelchair” – here, she laughs – “you’re dealing

with chairs. And that’s why, I mean, in a way, that’s why the stairlift, when I found it, I realized, Oh my God, it’s a chair; it’s going to save my life.

 

 

Source: Curbed – Art Collector Barbara Jakobson’s Vertical Life – May 24, 2021

Photo: Annie Schlechter

byACRE byACRE

The Sitting Room: Jakobson’s new carbon-fiber walker mingles with totems of her life and interests. The portrait of Jakobson above the fireplace, one of many taken by Robert Mapplethorpe during their long friendship, is flanked with photographs by Matthew Barney. Richard Artschwager designed the chair in front of the fireplace. “I just thought it was so witty,” she says of the rubber vase with weeds by the Campana brothers in the middle of the room. The Lolita rug is by Barbara Bloom. The view is over the double-height room with the ghost Stella.

While recuperating from her fall, she looked into the right chairlift, one that might keep her in her house. She has always been fascinated by chairs. The first research paper she ever did, at age 13, was on the history of the chair. Why the chair? “Well, you know, the chair is the substitute for the human body. The chair is the only piece of furniture that relates to a single human being. So from the time you get in your high chair to the time you get in your wheelchair” — here, she laughs — “you’re dealing with chairs. And that’s why, I mean, in a way, that’s why the stair-climber, when I found it, I realized, Oh my God, it’s a chair; it’s going to save my life.

Source: Curbed – Art Collector Barbara Jakobson’s Vertical Life – 24 May 2021

Meet the rock’n’ rollators

byACRE byACRE
As one of the articles in Financial Times’ guide to a longer (and healthier) life, they have written about the complexity of getting old while feeling young. How do you find mobility aids that suits your spirit? According to FT our rollators, along with other products that UK based “Granny Gets a Grip” is offering, has the answer:
The Cause: Meet the rock ‘n’ rollators

Getting old while feeling young is complicated. I was born in the 1960s; as a teenager I listened to Bowie, longed to go to Biba and aspired to eat McDonald’s. My lifestyle was liberal; I took drugs and the pill. I bounced about to Jane Fonda workouts and was an early adopter of Pilates. I’d say at 58 I still dress on the right side of timeless: from JW Anderson to Re/done jeans and my crisp Casey-Casey shirts. And I still love Bowie and Pilates. But however youthful my exterior may appear, the memo has not reached my joints. I was diagnosed with degenerative discs in my back 15 years ago, I have to ask my husband to open jars for me because my arthritic hands can’t manage, and it’s no fun trying to get up from the sofa without making “that noise” as I creak to standing. My eyesight is also shot and this week, for the first time ever, I got sciatica, which is really bloody painful! Apart from that, everything is great.

This morning I did a spot of online shopping; I ordered a pair of Adidas x Wales Bonner trainers, a Chanel mascara, and then I went to my new favourite website, Granny Gets a Grip. For those too young to know, its name is a nod to London’s hippest boutique of the 1960s, Granny Takes a Trip – a one-stop marketplace selling an ingenious edit of products designed for bodies that are showing signs of wear and tear. Founded by friends Sophie Dowling and Miranda Thomas, this website targets people who need a level of physical support but have a Conran Shop aesthetic.

Dowling and Thomas – both in their late 50s, like me, and who have have enjoyed successful careers as a website designer, and physics teacher and magistrate respectively – have scoured the marketplace for products to make life both easier and more chic, from mobility scooters to elegant LED reading lights. The colourful edit is full of satisfyingly practical solutions: long-handled shoe horns, brightly coloured walking sticks, ergonomic garden tools designed to minimise bending, a perching stool with stainless-steel legs, and a sloped sustainable bamboo seat – adjust the height and you’ll never have to worry about standing-induced backache again.

 The byACRE red carbon Ultralight rollator is so sleek I’d happily roll it into Celine while shopping.  

Where possible, Dowling and Thomas have had things made, such as their furniture raisers, which make it easier to get up from a chair or a sofa. “They usually look awful, like grey plant pots – hence they’re often known as ‘elephant feet’,” shudders Dowling. “We have had attractive square blocks made from bamboo and hardwood – and now they look terrific.”

“We also paid particular attention to hand rails, which usually come in nasty white plastic or metal,” says Thomas. “We had ours made in solid oak with brushed-steel brackets.” It’s a level of detail for a generation who grew up with good design. “My sister is 67; she hung out with The Rolling Stones when she was young,” says Dowling. “She and her friends respond to the bright designs and the chatty language of the site.”

What’s remarkable is that the site feels so pioneering. It offers the opposite of the products in those drab, geriatric catalogues that, once you hit a certain age, start arriving through the door. A recent paper by KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank concluded that the “grey pound” represents the most considerable untapped opportunity in retail: it’s bigger than the “millennial pound” and, thanks to an ageing population, will only increase its market share.

I checked out with a haul including a memory foam knee pillow, which ticks a multitude of back-relieving boxes. Almost as exciting were the long-handle pet bowls – no more creaking first thing – and, lest we forget, the Dycem jar opener. With its non-slip cover, it’s only a tiny thing, and yet it is such a relief not to have to ask for help. Who would have thought mobility aids could be à la mode?

Source: Financial Times – The Cause: Meet the rock’n’ rollators – 5 October 2021

This carbon fiber rollator’s handles will hold your hand

byACRE byACRE
Our Carbon Ultralight was recently featured in YankoDesign, the design and innovation savvy online magazine. YankoDesign are dedicated to covering the best in international product design and we’re proud to be included in this category. In this product feature, they highlight some of the design features of our Carbon Ultralight rollator that we are most proud of:
This carbon-fiber rollator’s handles will hold your hand

We love universal designs, especially when they provide the freedom to move. Mobility is a particularly important aspect to our differently-abled demographic that relies on inclusive design, so having a product that works for everyone, including them, is a true winner. That’s why it isn’t surprising that the Carbon Ultralight rollator was featured in the Red Dot Design Awards! A rollator is basically a rolling walker with a seat that makes it easy to move without having to lift the unit up.

The name Carbon Ultralight comes from its biggest differentiating factor, the rollator is the lightest (and the first of its kind) in the world because of its complete carbon-fiber frame. It only weighs 10.5 lbs. (4.8 kgs), so it really is ultra light, but the designers have also added some aircraft-grade aluminum to give it stability while moving and braking. The ergonomic build and shape have been inspired by the organic bodies of fast animals (think dolphins, sharks, and falcons!), as well as the streamlined designs of sportscars from the automotive industry. One of the little details that really stands out and makes it a ‘clean’ design is that the brake cables are hidden inside the frame.

If you are currently social distancing, you will love the thought behind the shape of the rollator’s handles, they are designed to give you the feeling that you are holding someone’s hand. This can provide a sense of security to elderly users as well as those who are differently abled. Certain shapes and forms are known to provide psychological comfort that can make the user confident about using the product independently. The handles are purposely turned the opposite direction of the rollator to give the user better posture and to make maneuvering easy. Its unique handles make using the rollator effortless because the user uses their palms instead of their fingers to dictate the rollator’s direction. It also comes with detachable accessories including a backrest and organizer.

Another refreshing change was the upgrade to the height adjustment function. The designers replaced the traditional knob with a button that adjusts the height in increments of 30 mm. This way, it’s a lot easier to keep track of the height if multiple people share the rollator. Apart from being as light as a rollator could be if it was a feather, it is also super compact and, when folded down, it is only 255 mm wide. If you haven’t noticed yet, the Carbon Ultralight is not only highly functional but also looks very sleek and stylish. Call your grandma now.

Source: YankoDesign – This carbon-fiber rollator’s handles will hold your hand –  March 27 2020

Red Dot Design winners 2019

The product no one wants is finally recognized as an object of style and design

Organically shaped carbon fiber and design references to cheetahs and other athletic animals tend to be associated with high-involvement mobility products such as bikes and cars. The unique selling points typically featured for a rollator are very different, and include weight, ergonomics, brake function and more. Until now, design has never been a selling point in this product category, leaving people with an appreciation for aesthetics a limited choice when their mobility is challenged and mobility aids become essential for them to have an active and social life.

“When the doctor told my husband that he had to use a rollator when walking for improved balance, he lost some of his spirit. He became introverted, stayed at home most of the time and I was starting to worry about him! A friend of ours suggested that he got one of the nice-looking rollators from byACRE, and finally he started to lighten up again”, says Elsebeth from Denmark.

byACRE is a Danish company with a mission to produce anti-stigmatizing mobility aids by combining functionality with aesthetics. Their Carbon Ultralight rollator has just received the honorable Red Dot Design Award, thereby confirming that mobility aids are finally recognized as objects of style and design.

When people reach that point in life where they have to accept that assistive aids have become an essential part of their day, their perception of themselves is challenged. “Mobility aids should match the user’s self-image. Many mobility aids look clinical and institutional, which users don’t recognize in themselves. This results in the users not wanting to use them”, as stated in the Danish OT magazine in March 2018. Many people take months and even years to accept this change, and the consequences are less social and physical activity, which can lead to loneliness and deteriorating health.

Winning this award is a big step in our mission to eliminate the stigma around using mobility aids. Our identity and wish to keep up an image doesn’t fade away when our mobility is challenged. We’ve experienced first hand how design can increase the quality of life of our users and that is truly rewarding in itself”, says CEO of byACRE, Anders Berggreen.

The rollator has been well-received by users worldwide who appreciate how the design of the Carbon Ultralight gives them their independence and active life back. The light weight of the rollator makes it ideal for both small and big adventures and the stylish appearance fits with their self-image.

Danish Design Award winners 2017

Danish Design Award 2017
Danish Design Award 2017 Danish Design Award 2017
We are proud to have received the Danish Design Award for our aesthetic indoor rollator!
Here’s what the press wrote about it:
Danish Design Awards celebrates talents and welfare design at award show in Kolding

Round two of the Danish Design Award took place on Wednesday night in Svane Shipping’s warehouse in Kolding Harbor, where the winners of four new award categories and two special awards were announced.

These included the game-changing Open Embassy, the aesthetic-functional walking frame Scandinavian Indoor, the expansive car-sharing concept GoMore and the partnership-building VenligBolig, which promotes the integration of refugee families. Awards were also given for human-centered design in the ‘Young Talent’ category and to the audience favorite RAM’N in the ‘People’s Choice’ category.

It is a great pleasure to present the winners of the Danish Design Award 2017 in collaboration with this year’s partner municipality, Kolding, and D2i. The award-winners are examples of the high degree of innovation and value present in the solutions created by designers and companies throughout the country. The winning solutions have a unique user focus born from Denmark’s strong design DNA, as well as a social and environmental awareness that reflects our welfare society. “The young talents have also come up with empathetic design solutions that generate value”, says Henrik Weiglin, CEO of Denmark’s largest, independent design interest and industry organization, Design denmark (Dd).

The categories of the Danish Design Awards reflect the full range of designs that are making a difference to individuals, companies and society. The awards also demonstrate that design is the tool that makes companies competitive and enables them to develop new and superior solutions driven by empathy with users and clients. We consider it a shared task between public and private parties to promote the innovation that design generates throughout the country. “The broad cooperation we are witnessing tonight is so important – and such a pleasure to see”, says Christian Bason, CEO of the Danish Design Center.

The selection of finalists and award-winners reflects the broad scope of Danish design. It also serves as an excellent illustration that Danish businesses and industry and the public sector have embraced design as a tool, not only for creating attractive solutions but also for managing complex challenges on the users’ terms. “As co-host of this year’s award show in Kolding, we are delighted to see the close collaboration of the Danish design field that makes it possible to celebrate and stage big events like the Danish Design Award across the country”, says Thit Juul Madsen, CEO of D2i…

…In the Improved Welfare category, the winner is Scandinavian Indoor, a walking rollators adapted for both indoor and outdoor use. For many people, the use of a walking rollator is associated with a loss of personal dignity, and identity and the intimate domestic sphere is also impacted when welfare aids are installed in the home. Scandinavian Indoor tackles this challenge with its functional design and harmonious expression, which puts the person center stage and blends seamlessly into the home without introducing an institutional feel…

Source: DanishDesignAward – Danish Design Awards celebrate talent and welfare design at award show in Kolding – 31 May 2017

Lightweight rollator gave Kirsten her freedom back

When byACRE met Kirsten
When byACRE met Kirsten
When byACRE met Kirsten
Kirsten was one of the first byACRE users in Denmark. In 2018, Kirsten was interviewed by both the Danish broadcasting station TV2, when they were doing a small feature on welfare technology and rollators, and for Danish Magazine ‘Hendes Verden’ as part of a theme about assistive aids. Here, she shares some wise words about using a rollator.
After so much limelight, we figured it was time to share the story of how byACRE met Kirsten – and share some of Kirsten’s wise words.

 

Post knee surgery and longing for freedom

Kirsten received her first rollator in 2007, when she had to do physio after a hip surgery. “For a while, things were going great and my hips were working as they should”. She therefore only used the rollator for physio purposes. As she put it herself “it wasn’t a rollator made for a stroll along the promenade”. Last year she underwent another surgery. This time it was her knee, and the surgery did not work in Kirsten’s favor. She now needed the rollator for more than just physio.

“At one time, I was with the day center on a trip to a farm. But all those of us with rollators couldn’t walk around because the ground was covered in pebbles, and the rollators couldn’t handle it”.

The rollator Kirsten had received from the municipality did not meet her requirements*. She loves to explore and meet new people, and her rollator wasn’t really up for these adventures. She needed something lighter, which did not cause pain in her hands on longer walks, and which would fit in her car.

 

The Red Lightning

“Fortunately, I can figure out what the world has to offer even though I’m 81 years old. So, I Googled and found my new rollator

After a Google search, she found byACRE, called us, and paid us a visit. She quickly decided on the Carbon Ultralight in Strawberry Red. Because “Why not red? Let it be red so that it can be seen.” Kirsten calls her rollator “The Red Lightning” and has actually said that she enjoys walking with the rollator more than walking her dog. With her rollator she decides for herself when she wants to walk, but she gets the same attention as she would walking her dog.

“I feel worthy and enjoy being welcomed into stores in a different way. The other day, I was sitting in a restaurant when someone came up to me and asked where my rollator was from”.

 

Freedom instead of longing

Even though Kirsten loves her rollator, she still dreams of being able to walk without it. But right now the rollator gives her peace of mind knowing that she won’t lose her balance. “When you’ve experienced falling and hurting yourself seriously, you are not sorry about your rollator. I am so happy to have it. It gives me freedom instead of longing.”

Kirsten is only one of many byACRE users around the world, but her story is far from unique. For many people, aging often leads to a need for more support while walking, and like Kirsten, when you get to that age, you still want to keep up the life you’re used to. Aging does not entail a sudden stop in one’s need for adventure and social interaction. And it most certainly doesn’t entail a wish to be portrayed and treated any differently. Because “Age is the new black”.

*Note: In Denmark, citizens who need assistive aids after surgery, or whose functionality is permanently impaired as a consequence of a disability or chronic illness, are provided with an assistive aid: either from the hospital or the municipality.

A Stylish Rollator. Really?

A Stylish Rollator. 
                Really?
A Stylish Rollator. Really?
A Stylish Rollator. 
                Really?
As part of the article “Universal Design Targets Products for All Ages” for Plastics Engineering, journalist Robert Grace has interviewed our CEO and founder, Anders Berggreen about byACRE’s design philosophy:

In 2004, byACRE’s Berggreen founded a firm called Seed, which sold premium baby strollers and pushchairs that he designed. He recalls: “Years ago, I was asked, ‘Would you not like to design a rollator?’ (a wheeled walker) And I said, yes, you are absolutely right, I would not like to design a rollator. Because I thought it was so unsexy and, for me, boring. I really was not interested in doing that.

“But after I said ‘no’ to that, I started seeing rollators everywhere. They looked to me like something manufactured in East Germany in the 1950s and ’60s. They were just so boring.”

Then Berggreen got to thinking of the importance of applying design to help those who were challenged in their mobility, not necessarily just older people. He read a study about people who needed such devices, and how they were lacking. He realized that those users tended to feel sick and embarrassed and their level of social activity declined almost to nothing.

So, after selling Seed and then founding byACRE in 2015, he said: “We made a design brief for ourselves: Can we make a rollator that looks like furniture?” He pondered how to take some of the references of classic Scandinavian design and incorporate them into such a product. The firm’s first rollator earned a prestigious design award.

Another important element of the mindset, he stresses, is that byACRE does not view its product users as “patients,” but rather as “customers.” They might be challenged in their mobility, but that doesn’t mean you are a patient. “There’s a very, very big difference,” he says, “between talking to a patient and talking to a consumer.”

Berggreen sees no reason why assistive devices such as rollators can’t be functional and stylish.

Consumers have free choice. They make their own decisions about what they like and don’t like. So byACRE aimed to create a rollator that someone would like to walk with. It wasn’t something that the user just got from an insurance company or from the healthcare system.

Berggreen says the response to early models was positive. He received letters from family members of those using byACRE’s rollators saying that the user had resumed a social life again. It is no accident that byACRE’s very name was assembled from the words “active” and “rehabitare”—Latin for “back to life.”

 

All About Losing Weight
While gathering this user experience, the byACRE team learned that the weight of the product was important to those customers. But, he says, manufacturers paid little attention to product weight. Most rollators then were made in China, for European and U.S. companies, “and nobody really cared about designing for this target group.”

The firm next turned its attention to finding how to produce a stylish yet lightweight frame. That led them to explore carbon fiber and resulted in its latest product—the Carbon Ultralight. Berggreen outlines the labor‐intensive, low‐pressure manufacturing process that byACRE uses to make its products in‐house, via operations in China, Myanmar, Sweden and Denmark.

First, there is carbon cutting. In this process, small prepreg sheets of the Japanese‐sourced carbon fiber are cut out and combined. This resembles a form of knitting or weaving, where the strands are woven in different directions. He says byACRE uses its “own special recipe” for this process, to yield a strong, lightweight frame. “This is the heart and soul of the Carbon Ultralight walking experience.”

Once the sheets are cut and woven, they are layered to create the special “boomerang” shape of the rollator frame. “Our frames consist of around three large pieces that are combined in different directions to form the unique shape.” Inside these overlapping sheets they insert silicone bladders to help the frames keep their shape during the next step, which is the baking process.

The construction is then placed inside a custom‐made mold, which is heated to 180°C and baked. The bladders inside are inflated incrementally to keep pressure and ensure that the shape holds. Once out of oven, the frames are fitted with cuttings and drillings done by hand at the top of the frame where clips and the handlebar are attached.

Once done, the frame parts are sent for painting. They first must be sanded by hand before being coated with layers of byACRE’s Oyster White, Carbon Black or Strawberry Red color paint. The frames are finished with a clear coating and a good polish, and after a careful inspection are sent off to be assembled.

It’s obvious, Berggreen notes, there is a lot of work involved in creating a Carbon Ultralight rollator. “Making the carbon fiber frames is only a small part of the entire production process, but it is very much in this step that the DNA of the rollator lies.”

The Carbon Ultralight model sells for between $600 and $650 in the U.S., and weighs just 10.5 pounds. While initially skeptical as to whether the product would be well received in the U.S. beyond a few major cities, he says byACRE has already sold the model in 48 states, as well as across Europe, and in South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

 

Next: A ‘Masculine’ Model
Now, the firm is developing a Carbon Overland model that was due to launch about the time of this publication. It will have a “very masculine” look and feature bigger, air‐filled wheels that can be used to navigate through sand, mud and other off‐road surfaces. byACRE developed this model and partnered with Land Rover, to co‐promote it in conjunction with the automaker’s recently relaunched Defender sport utility vehicle.

When it comes to marketing, Berggreen explains, the messaging is vitally important. It’s a huge step mentally to go from using a cane to using a rollator. His approach is that “it’s a means of transportation much more than it’s a mobility aid, and I think that’s why it works.”

He doubts, frankly, that such a product could have succeeded a decade ago. But the internet has made a huge difference in buying patterns. Instead of doctors or caregivers going to medical equipment stores to buy the cheapest, sturdiest walker or rollator, now the user herself can research the product from home.

“With the internet,” he says, “people Google it and find information about these products. We can see on our website that people come and go and come back and take time to read our design philosophy. It gives them confidence. That would have been impossible 10 years ago.”

 

Source: Plastic Engineering – Universal Design Targets Products for All Ages – January 2021

Dr. Gretchen

Featuring Dr. Gretchen

Physical Therapist & MS Specialist

Who is Dr. Gretchen?
Who is Dr. Gretchen?
Who is Dr. Gretchen?

Dr. Gretchen Hawley is a Physical Therapist and MS Specialist from New York, USA. She has devoted her life to help people living with MS to take back control and feel strong when the MS shows its teeth. Dr. Gretchen is constantly updating and helping people who struggles with their mobility through her social platforms, with practical  work-outs and research-based education. 

 

Unboxing the Carbon Ultralight and the Carbon Overland

Staying active is a mantra that both Dr. Gretchen and byACRE advocate. In the video below you can watch Dr. Gretchen unbox the Carbon Ultralight and demonstrate helpful exercises with the rollator.

 

 

How does our toughest rollator arrive?
Have a look when Dr. Gretchen unbox the Carbon Overland and shares her first impressions!

 

How to set the handles to the perfect height

Our rollator come in a quite unique, new design, with the handles turned in the opposite direction compared to traditional rollators. This changes the way you are supposed to hold the rollator, and how you set the handle height.

Physio therapists recommend that one measures the distance from the floor to the wrist to assess the best height for the handles.

In this video, Dr. Gretchen show us how that is done!

A comparison between Carbon Ultralight and Carbon Overland

Our light weight and foldable rollators Carbon Ultralight and Carbon Overland are quite similar and might look alike, but have a few differences. Here, Dr Gretchen shows some of the major differences on the design.

Talk with MSing Link member

Gretchen sat down with one of her MSing link members, who use our Carbon Ultralight rollator, and talked about life with a rollator. You can read the interview right here.

byACRE
byACRE

How does using a rollator make you feel?

More stable and confident.

When did it first occur to you that you needed a rollator?

I never considered a rollator before discovering byACRE, because others I had tried at physical therapy worked so poorly.

What feelings and thoughts did you have about it?

It looked easy to use, it looked light and super well designed… basically, everything I had been looking for in a rollator but had never found until I saw the Carbon Ultralight.

What reactions do you get from others when walking with a rollator?

Because I acquired mine recently, and during the pandemic, I haven’t been around many people while using it. When I have taken it to medical appointments, I like it that others are more patient with my slowness and have given me the appropriate space to maneuver.

What does it enable you to do that you couldn’t otherwise do?

Inside the house it has allowed me to stop wall-surfing. After the pandemic I am hoping it gives me more freedom to go out.

What criteria are important when choosing a rollator? Why?

Being ergonomically correct and enhancing your posture while improving your mobility; being light, and easy for others to move; being visually attractive, not an eyesore.

 

How to safely put a rollator in the car

Dr. Gretchen wouldn’t be a specialist if she did not know how to cover each part of the daily life, and what struggles one might face. For example, she knows that putting a rollator in a car can be both challenging and nerve racking. Therefore, she has given us these steps to think about while doing it, with a video to show what it means practically!

  1. Stand as close to the car as possible
  2. Put the rollator brakes on
  3. Change your stance so you feet are not in the way of the wheels
  4. Squat down using your legs (not rounding your back) as you grab for the center of the rollator
  5. Lift the rollator up and place in the car without moving your feet (you should feel stable)

To take the rollator OUT of the car, reverse the steps above!

Follow Dr. Gretchen on social media

As mentioned is Dr. Gretchen very active on her social media channels where she constantly updates with tips and tricks for a healthier MS-life style. Follow her accounts to take part!

Rollator Talks: Angelika

Rollator Talks
Rollator Talks
Rollator Talks

Angelika from Germany

We have asked Carbon Ultralight owners to tell us about their life with a rollator and how they deal with the mobility challenges in their daily life.

This is Angelika’s story:

“I feel very good with it. Not old or disabled”

– Angelika on how she feels about her Carbon Ultralight rollator.

 

Walking with confidence

“When I walk with this rollator, I feel confident. I walk with it upright and confidently. I can’t imagine anyone saying: “look at that poor old handicapped woman.” Not at all. I feel good about it. I don’t think of myself as poor, old and sick. I walk with confidence.”

Style matters

“Lots of old people walk around with a rollator, but I’m still a little vain. That’s why I wanted a rollator that wasn’t like the others. Then I came across this rollator, which looked elegant. It’s chic. Doesn’t have all those cables sticking out. A great help for good walks.”

Feeling safe and healthy

“With the help of this rollator I feel much safer… I have also improved my health. I can walk more and more and I become stronger as a result. I am not afraid of falling anymore. I can hold on tight. I can take breaks any time. The walks become longer and longer.”