Written by: Jeanine Flaaten, physical therapist 19.09.18
Kick bikes have become a popular toy and means of transportation among children, teenagers and adults. “Up until now there hasn’t existed such a product for children with special needs and we really wanted to do something about that”, says industrial designer Andreas Langdalen Sørensen. He has, together with engineer Andreas Simensen, worked zealously on the project for more than two years. It started as a design driven innovation project in collaboration with “Design og Arkitetektur Norge” (DOGA) and Geriljaworks where more than 100 product concepts came to life. One of these concepts was the Krabat Runner which Andreas and Andreas kept on working with together with the rest of the team at Krabat.
“The biggest strength of our company lies in the composition of people working here and the expertise they hold”, states Andreas LS. To be able to design and develop new, innovative products Krabat employs people with different professions; industrial designers, engineers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, technicians and administrative staff. “We work with a flat structure where all the employees are included in the developing process of a new project”, Andreas S adds. An important part of Krabat’s thinking with developing new products is that they need to be new-thinking, functional and aesthetically appealing.
“Designing the Krabat Runner we always had in mind that we wanted to delete the boundaries between products for children with disabilites and those without any disabilites”,says Andreas LS.
With its three wheels the Krabat Runner is a more stable kick bike than what you can normally buy at your local store. The seat is easy to detach and transforms the product from a walking bike to a kick bike.
Kristine Westby, physical therapist and sales manager at Krabat, is looking forward to introducing the Runner to the assistive technology market: «As a physical therapist I am dedicated to give children with special needs the same opportunities to be active and participate the same way other children can, and the Krabat Runner can do just that”. She and the rest of the Krabat’s therapists have all played an important role in the project, both at the start when user groups and needs had to be assessed and evaluated, and towards the end where a lot of children in day cares and schools got to test the product. For some of the children trying out the product the seat was an essential part for them to be able to use the power in their legs to propel forward. Other children with slightly better functioning level, who had previously tried a regular kick bike with two wheels with little success, now got the stability they needed from the three-wheeler.
In August of this year the first series of twenty Krabat Runners was finally done. Now comes an exciting time ahead for the Krabat Runner with introduction to the assistive technology market. “In Norway our focus is traveling around the country showing the product to as many children, therapists, families and assistive technology centers as possible”, Kristine says and adds that the international launch of the product is set at Rehacare in Düsseldorf, Germany this September.