Archives

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:

A Stylish Rollator. Really?

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.”

The full article “Universal Design Targets Products for All Ages” can be read at plasticsengineering.org.

 

We’re happy to announce that through ambitious design we’ve managed to break through the wall to the US market and we’re happy to announce our partnership with Medline, one of the world’s largest suppliers of equipment for the care and healthcare sector in USA, Canada and Mexico.

We are now yet another step closer to breaking down the stigma around mobility aids – worldwide. It’s a huge accomplishment for a small Danish team like us.

January 19, 2021

byACRE, Medline Announce North American Launch of World’s Lightest Rollator


Stylish and award-winning, Carbon Ultralight mobility aid innovation makes US debut

Medline and byACRE, a Copenhagen-based designer and producer of advanced mobility products, today announced a strategic partnership to meet the growing demand for stylish and functional mobility aids. Medline will distribute byACRE’s Carbon Ultralight rollator, the lightest rollator in the world. Winner of the prestigious RedDot Design Award, the carbon fiber rollator has received global recognition for breaking down the stigma related to reduced mobility, with advanced engineering, style and personalization.

“As people age, they often find themselves needing a mobility aid to assist with daily activities of living. It is a vulnerable moment as it can be hard to accept the dependence of an aid like a cane, walker or rollator,” says Anders Berggreen, founder and owner of byACRE. “Our goal is to create high quality mobility products that reflects an individual’s personal style and denotes independence in their everyday mobility. Joining forces with Medline will allow us tap into their infrastructure and strong industry relationships to reach a broad audience of users.”

Weighing in at just 10.6 pounds, the Carbon Ultralight is engineered to reflect the functional needs of each user. The product, available in three colors (black, red and white) and three sizes (compact, regular and wide track) blends style with optimal walking and seated comfort. The acclaimed design was inspired by the automotive industry, and the minimalistic style of Scandinavian design.  It folds flat with a single pull, and the light weight makes it easy to lift into the trunk of the car and take it for a spin at the park.

“With the aging population, we’ve had increasing demand for products that account for their young-at-heart mentality,” says Brian Foley, president of Medline’s Equipment & Furnishings division. “What we love about the Carbon Ultralight Rollator is that its sleek, contemporary design doesn’t compromise the quality of the product. This is a game-changer for how we think of mobility aids and the people who use them.”

In addition to design and comfort, the byACRE team behind the Carbon Ultralight rollator has accounted for ease-of-use. Each rollator shipped to the customer comes with an organizer bag and is packaged to use immediately. The consumer can simply unbox, unfold, click and go. There are several accessories that are sold separately, including cane holders, storage bags and backrests, allowing users to customize the products to fit their needs.

The Carbon Ultralight is now available to consumers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico through Medline’s broad-reaching network of retail partners. For more information, visit www.medline.com/go/byacre.

About byACRE

byACRE is a leading international designer and producer of stylish mobility products. Founded in Copenhagen, the heart of Scandinavian’s design hub, the byACRE team combined expertise in engineering, design and visual arts for social good, setting out to create the sleekest, top performing rollators in the market. Since 2017, our mindful designs have won some of the world’s most prestigious awards in design and innovation, including the 2019 RedDot Design Award, the 2017 IF Design Award and the Danish Design Award. “by ACRE” is our quality seal. It’s rooted in the words ‘Active’ and ‘Re-Habitare’ – the Latin word for Back to Life. For more information, visit byacre.com.

About Medline

Medline is a healthcare company: a manufacturer, distributor and solutions provider focused on improving the overall operating performance of healthcare. Medline works with both the country’s largest healthcare systems and independent facilities across the continuum of care to provide the clinical and supply chain resources required for long-term financial viability in delivering high quality care. With the size of one of the country’s largest companies and the agility of a family-owned business, Medline is able to invest in its customers for the long-term and rapidly respond with customized solutions. Headquartered in Northfield, Ill., Medline has 27,000+ employees worldwide, a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks and does business in more than 90 countries. Learn more about Medline at www.medline.com.

 

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. 

The MSing Link

Dr. Grethchen has founded the MSing Link, an online MS wellness program, where she guides those with MS and other mobility issues to become stronger, improve their walking, increase energy and take back control.

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!

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

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.

MSing Link member

Age: 55

Country: USA

Hobbies: Tai Chi and knitting

Rollator user for 2+ months

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!

 

Meet Angelika from Germany

We have asked a Carbon Ultralight owner to tell us about her life with a rollator and how she deals with the mobility challenges in her daily life.

“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.”

 

Meet Uli from Germany

We have asked a Carbon Ultralight owner to tell us about her life with a rollator and how she deals with the mobility challenges in her daily life.

“It was this rollator or no rollator”

– Uli, when she saw the Carbon Ultralight Rollator for the first time

Style matters

“When I walk with Bertha I often get addressed because of how wonderful she looks.”

Independence and freedom

“I am in a good mood when I walk with Bertha. She just “runs” in front of me and when I want to sit down I sit down. I no longer have to look for the next seating option when I am out walking. I have a lot of freedom and independence.”

Staying active

“We have had Bertha with us to Zurich, Los Angeles and a lot of other places. At first we were worries about how she would handle the flight, but we had no reason to worry. She did not even arrive as “bulky luggage” but along with the normal luggage.”

Why Bertha?

“Why did I decide to name her Bertha and why do I call it “her”? Well, when I saw her it was clear that she is a woman. She’s pink! And I am also a woman. Why should I walk around with an ‘objective creature’? I had to make it my own and make it personal.”

Travelling with Bertha

 

The lightest rollator in the world

Key product features

  1. Only 4.8 kg
    Making it the World’s lightest outdoor rollator
  2. Carbon fibre frame
    a lightweight, strong, and shock-absorbing material for a rollator that is easy to transport and lift, and gives you stability and great support.
  3. Ergonomic, reversed handles
    to secure a good posture and stability.
  4. Easy height adjustment
    in 30mm increments by just a click on a botton.
  5. Comes fully assembled
    So you’re ready to use it right away

A companion for strolls, trips or travel

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”– Hans Christian Andersen (Danish Fairy Tale writer)

Mobility is obviously very near to our hearts at byACRE. It is at the core of modern life, and as such, a part of everyone’s life. But mobility is not just being able to move around in the neighbourhood anymore. We are travelling and exploring more than ever these days, and the mobility design of the future should therefore enable travelling even more.

With the Carbon Ultralight we wanted to make a mobility design that was meant for both the short strolls and the trips around the world. With the lightweight materials, easy folding, and sleek lines, it will easily fit in any car, train, boat or airplane, so you can keep discovering the world around you.

The Carbon Ultralight is a rollator designed for both the short stroll around the neighborhood and for trips around the world. The lightweight materials, sleek lines and the easy folding makes it suitable for transport in cars, trains, boat or airplanes. It is only 250mm wide when folded and will therefore suit even the smallest trunks.

It is inspired by the organic shapes of fast moving animals and the dynamic shapes and lightweight materials used in bicycle design, sportscars and airplanes. Together, these two sources of inspiration formed the dynamic shapes found throughout the Carbon Ultralight. From the frame to forks holding the wheels, and the brake handles. All for a look that is simple, sleek and stylish.

 

User Story: Susan and Rowlie the rollator on adventure in Malaysia

In the beginning of March we sent a Strawberry Red Carbon Ultralight rollator to Susan in the UK. Little did we know about the adventures that lay ahead for this rollator. A few days ago Susan wrote us to tell about her first trip with Rowlie the rollator and her husband John on a cruise around Malaysia. A story so uplifting and nice that we asked for permission to share it here in our journal.

We booked a taxi to the airport and had to pay extra because I had a walking aid. The taxi driver was amazed and said that we should have said what it was, Such a light weight piece of equipment, so easily collapsible. He gave it a thumbs up.

We booked for hold luggage. ‘How heavy?’ asked the check in lady. John held it up with a finger. She was amazed. Never seen one like that before. She smiled and wished us a good holiday.

Our hold luggage had been delivered to our cabin and Rowlie was tucked in very neatly next to our case. Yes! We only had one case for 2 people, including me with my outsize knickers to last for 16 days.

Rowlie made it possible for me to do so many things, in particular the gardens in Singapore and the market in Ho Chi Minh. I hope that we can find the photo of a bloke who lives in Singapore who wants one for his Mum!

It was something else with Rowlie. I was no longer ashamed of limping a bit. I wore a hat and a red scarf and took a red bag. I was proud to be with him. Showing that I was a positive person who wasn’t going to get into old people shopping trolley mode.”

 

March 25, 2019 / Red Dot Design Award

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 are typically 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 choice between two evils when their mobility is challenged and mobility aids become a prerequisite to carry on an active and social life.

“When the doctor told my husband that he should 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 cementing that mobility aids are finally recognized as an object of style and design.

When people reach the point in life where it is time to accept that assistive aids are a necessary part of daily life their perception of themselves is challenged. “Mobility aids should match the user’s self-image. A lot of mobility aids express something clinical and institutional, which the users cannot 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 remove the stigma in 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 allows 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.

Read more about the Red Dot Design Award

 

Lightweight rollator gave Kirsten her freedom back

Our users are a huge source of inspiration. Especially when it comes to mobility, ageing and life quality. Our user Kirsten is one of those sources of inspiration. She was one of our very first users in Denmark and we can always count on her to give us feedback and share a couple of good stories.  

“I was just sitting in a radius of 50 metres and couldn’t do anything”

A couple of months ago Kirsten was interviewed by the Danish broadcasting station TV2, when they were doing a small feature about welfare technology and rollators. This week she is yet again in the spotlight in an interview with the Danish Magasine ‘Hendes Verden’. As part of a theme about assistive aids, she shares some wise words about using a rollator. After all this spotlight we figured it was time to share the story about how byACRE met Kirsten – and share some of Kirsten’s wise words.

When byACRE met Kirsten: Post knee surgery and longing for freedom

Kirsten received her first rollator in 2007, when she had to train after a hip surgery. It went great for a while, and the hips were working as they should. She therefore only used the rollator for training 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 the knee, and the surgery did not work in Kirsten’s favour. She now needed the rollator for more than just training purposes.

“At one time I was with the day center on a trip to a farm. But all of us with rollators couldn’t walk around, because the underlay consisted of 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, that did not cause pain in her hands on the longer walks, and she needed something that 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 search on Google 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 it can be seen”. Kirsten calls her rollator “The Red Lightning” and have actually said that she enjoys walking with the rollator more than 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 experience being welcomed into stores in a different way. The other day I was sitting in a restaurant when someone came up and asked med about where my rollator was from”.

Freedom instead of longing

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

Kirsten is only one of many byACRE users around the world, but her story is far from unique. For a lot of people, ageing will often lead 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. Ageing does not entail a sudden stop in one’s need for adventure and social interaction. And it most certainly does not 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 a surgery, or whose functionality is permanently impaired, as a consequence of disability or chronic illness, is provided with an assistive aid; either from the hospital or the municipality.