Aug 11, 2017 | By Benedict

Shiro Studio, a London-based design practice, has created a 3D printed walking stick that overcomes visual and practical problems with common mobility aids. The “ENEA” stick is porous, making it extremely lightweight, and has a three-pronged handle.

3D printing has long been an enabling technology in terms of helping people move. From 3D printed prostheses to 3D printed wheelchairs, additive manufacturing is helping designers overcome the various pitfalls of mobility design.

A new project from London’s Shiro Studio continues this trend, but deploys the technology to make a product we haven’t seen before: a 3D printed walking stick.

Described by the design studio as the world’s first fully 3D printed walking stick, the stylish “ENEA” mobility aid attempts to overcome various issues with current products on the market.

Perhaps surprisingly, those issues are both practical and aesthetic.

Shiro Studio, which was founded by Andrea Morgante in 2009, says there is a stigma around walking sticks: that those who use them must be old and frail. If someone who doesn't fit this description is seen with a walking stick, they are immediately judged. What is wrong with them? Do they have a condition? Have they been hurt?

It doesn’t have to be this way. After all, were historically used as fashion items, though this trend is virtually extinct.

Shiro’s goal was to create a walking stick that is as stylish as it is practical, returning the walking stick to its former status as a fashionable object while improving its functional properties. With a sleek, elegant design and unusual three-pronged handle, the ENEA stick certainly looks a class above the average mobility aid.

"ENEA invites its users to establish an emotional connection with the walking stick, seen as a functional, proud and contemporary design statement rather than an unavoidable manifestation of their physical limitations," Shiro Studio says. “It proposes a range of design innovations to improve comfort and handling whilst promoting a contemporary design language and manufacturing technique.”

Of course, the practical aspect of the 3D printed ENEA walking stick is probably more important than its aesthetics, and it stands tall in that regard too.

For one, the walking stick is incredibly light, thanks to its bone tissue-inspired internal structure made with the help of with Arup engineer Vincenzo Reale and Mhox design. This porous construction reduces the mass of the device while retaining its strength.

And that three-pronged handle isn’t just for show. Designed to reduce hand stress with a wider spread, the handle also allows the stick to be balanced on the edge of a table or other surface, so users needn’t worry about picking it up off the floor.

(Images: Dezeen)

Morgante’s decision to create a 3D printed walking stick came after volunteering as an emergency ambulance medical technician.

“This experience exposed me to the functional beauty of many devices on board ambulances,” says Morgante. “Since those times I have always looked for opportunities to improve user experience of healthcare aids through mindful design.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Matilda Brooks wrote at 9/6/2017 1:48:45 AM:

That's fantastic!

Tim Gonzales wrote at 8/12/2017 5:49:49 AM:

I want one!!!!! I don't don't have a 3d-printer, but i would really like that cane. E-mail details on how to get one, please. Thank you.

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