University of Portland, 2002 - $12,500
Anyone that has had an injury requiring crutches knows they are uncomfortable to use over a long period of time. Extended pressure to the upper extremities can cause chronic shoulder pain, arthritic conditions, discomfort, muscle weakness and fatigue, as well as injuries to underarm arteries. For some, these health problems become so severe that they must use a wheelchair.
This E-Team developed the Keen Krutch, a more comfortable, more versatile crutch that alleviates the problems associated with traditional crutches and provides increased mobility. The Keen Krutch features underarm cushioning that conforms to the curvature of the body; a contour shape to redistribute pressure; adjustable, mobile handgrips to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome; shock absorbers; and a pivoting ankle joint for increased mobility.
The idea for the Keen Krutch was originated by Vail Horton, who was born without legs and has used crutches from an early age. After graduating from the University of Portland, Horton and his former roommate Jerry Carleton co-founded Keen Mobility, an assistive technology company built around the crutch. Today the company is thriving and growing rapidly, having reached over $2 million in cumulative sales with $1.2 million in 2005. In addition to the Keen Krutch, the company manufactures an array of technologically advanced, safe ambulatory aids and other progressive products that allow people with disabilities greater mobility, safety, and independence.
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