"May you walk with pride for it is your
right" - David Hart
WHO IS DAVID HART?
David was born into a family of inventors, the
most famous of whom was Samuel Crompton who
invented the Spinning Mule. His grandfather and
father also had patented inventions.
After finishing college in 1968, David worked
for a large medical company which was on
contract to the Ministry of Health. He
progressed in the company and was eventually in
charge of the company's manufacturing unit and
also their research and development unit. His
true interests lay within the creation of new
and improved products and so, whilst still only
in his twenties, he decided to dedicate all of
his time to research.
decision led to various projects, including the
development of the myo-electronic artificial
hand controlled by signals from the user's
brain, powered surgical instrumentation and
designing body-bracing which would allow
paraplegics to stand and walk.
THE BIRTH OF THE HART WALKER
David set up his own research and development
company in Keighley, Yorkshire. He was asked if
he would consider trying to help a little boy
who had cerebral palsy and upon meeting the
child, David knew that his plans for the future
had just been rewritten.
was 1989 when the original Walker (MKI) was
designed, based on the needs of children who
were unable to stand and take steps. David
considered the ultimate objective to be that of
holding a child upright and controlling whatever
lower-limb movement they had into steps.
However, David hadn't accounted for the hidden
potential of the children and it soon became
apparent that they deserved a much better
thought-out piece of equipment - equipment that
would help rather than hinder; that could be
appropriately adjusted so as to provide only
what was needed at any stage of their progress;
equipment that would help and encourage each
child to reach his/her true potential.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
After a great deal more research, the MKII
Walker was ready to go on trial in 1993. This
frame was different to the original, with many
advantages. Its reduced weight and improved
geometrical configuration make it much easier
for the child to take steps. The frame responds
immediately to the user's ability to side-step
in the desired direction, making it more
practical within a confined environment.
range of add-on components allows each device to
be assembled to best suit the needs of the
child, including the invaluable ability to
accommodate the differing needs of either limb.
Being telescopically adjustable, the one frame
grows with the child, which also allows the
frame to be reduced in size for easier
transportation. As the device is easier to use,
children achieve more from the effort they put
in, which in turn encourages progress. This also
means the device can offer help to a child with
a moderate to severe disability.
order to prove the MKII was a better design, it
was first fitted to children who had been using
the original device. These children found the
MKII much easier to use; their walking was more
natural and more efficient and they found they
could get to places previously denied to them by
the restrictions of the original device. More
significant were the benefits gained from the
ability to 'fine tune' the MKII to a child's
result of the trials, all children attending
Hart's Clinic since 1993 have been fitted with
the MKII or, as part of his
ongoing research and development programme, with
yet further-improved equipment.
"Although we shall never be able to provide what
these children deserve, I strive to improve what
little help we can offer, whilst knowing in his
heart that the only successful help is that
which is no longer needed. - David Hart