Of all the design we saw at ICFF, this is the only one that had several passers-by cooing, "We need this!" The two designs by Takano Heartworks perfect objects you'd never think twice about: Walkers and canes. Here's Katsumi Takeno (no relation to Takano), one of the company's product planners, showing off the Carry-Na walker and the A.I. walking stick:
The walking stick weighs just three pounds, and as the brochure explains, it helps "for your stylish walking." The walker weighs fifteen, though it can carry up to 175 pounds in any of its configurations; it also has a wheel lock, handbrakes and an adjustable-height handle, making it a fairly comprehensive design. Intriguing stuff—and vitally important. As Europe and Japan begin a rapid demographic shift toward an older population, design for the elderly has come to the fore. Most of the time, robots grab the headlines, but you can see the process at work on all sorts of products, from simplified cellphones to friendly hospital wards.
Read more Fast Company stories about ICFF 2009 here.