Island man designs walker with off-road capabilities

“Rob’s Walker” aimed at helping the infirm connect with nature

Robert Anaka is an avid shutterbug. As a hobby, Anaka loves to go outdoors and take photos of a variety of sceneries and subjects.

That passion, however, was interrupted due to multiple sclerosis. He was diagnosed with the illness before its crippling effect escalated in 2006.

“It took over my life,” Anaka recalled. “It knocked me out of the workforce and left me struggling trying to get around.”

Anaka had to use a walker but he was frustrated with its limitations. He can’t venture to places like the beach or walk down trails.

“I took photos as a hobby to get outside to keep my mind clear but I realized with my walker, you can’t go anywhere,” said Anaka. “You have to stay on paved streets or sidewalks, or the mall. I just don’t want to go to the mall.”

That has led Anaka to search for other walking aids around that would allow him to access areas and places that traditional walker won’t allow. When he found none, Anaka decided to design one for himself.

He worked on various concepts and ideas and it took him more than 10 years to come up with the design that suits his needs and others just like him.

Anaka calls it “Rob’s Walker.”

It’s a three-wheel design, compared to the regular four-wheel design. It is user-friendly, easily folds, is light and can be manoeuvred over a variety of surfaces such as sand, rocks, and water.

“It’s out of necessity that I came up with this design,” said Anaka. “It’s got off-road capabilities.”

Anaka’s design is now being manufactured and he is ready to bring it out into the market in October.

Anaka has had some people try out his pre-production model and was happy with the response he received.

“Two of them pre-purchased after they used it,” said Anaka. “As soon as they come in I already will have my first two sales.”

Diana LaMonte of Qualicum Beach had the opportunity to test one of Anaka’s prototype at the Parksville beach last year.

LaMonte requires a power wheelchair to get around. She loves to go to the beach and wade into the water but is unable to do it on her own. When she tried Anaka’s design, she could not be pried away from it as she walked with it through the water, puddles and sand effortlessly.

“This is fabulous,” LaMonte said.

“This walker is so stable. I don’t have to worry about it digging in the sand. It’s just great. I wanted to keep going.”

The approximate cost of the walker is approximately $900. It features a 12-inch tire in the front and two 16-inch tires in the rear that can be taken off and installed for easy storage and use, disc brakes, circular handlebars with a brake lever inside and seats.

It weighs less than 30 pounds.

Anaka said the handlebars and the seats move independently from each other to allow users to adjust the walker according to their height and will fit in the trunk of a car.

“All the cables, even the wheels sizes are standard bicycle sizes so if you need replacement parts they are easy to come by,” said Anaka.

Ankara is marketing his design on his own right now.

For more information on Rob’s Walker, call Anaka at 403-200-3274 or email him at ra883r@shaw.ca

 

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