The Block Island Times

Walker trays heading for wider distribution

By Judy Tierney | Nov 06, 2012
Photo by: Chris Kirby Avery Kirby and his walker, outfitted with his patented tray.

Just two months after Avery Kirby and his invention, wooden tray inserts for handicap walkers, were featured on The Hummel Report, an investigative radio and internet news show, interest in the trays has gained momentum and Kirby couldn’t be happier.

Kirby, who was handicapped by a stroke, designed the tray for use on his own handicap walker so he could carry a drink and small items he wants to have with him. “When I first had my stroke, I had no idea I’d be doing this,” he said. “I’ll do anything to get this out to other people because I know how much I’ve benefited.”

Kirby had tried to donate 50 of the trays to the Providence Veterans Administration Hospital last summer, but officials there rejected them. Retired attorney Peter Saxon, who helped Kirby patent the tray, and friend Bruce Montgomery subsequently contacted Jim Hummel, who came out to Block Island to interview Kirby and see the trays.

After the show aired, the Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol asked for 30 of them, and then even requested two larger ones for oversized walkers.

According to Saxon, a non-exclusive license agreement has been signed with a Connecticut company, Simplified Energy Solutions. Saxon detailed that they plan to conduct a commercial evaluation, complete with a focus group that will make suggestions on what else could be done with the tray. The company will also look at the market for it, and federal regulations that apply. Then if all looks good, they will find a manufacturer to make a plastic prototype, set a price and find distributors. “Each step has to be positive,” said Saxon.

If the trays are manufactured, Kirby will receive 5 percent, a standard cut, for each one sold.

In the meantime, Kirby has come up with a new model for a different kind of walker and Saxon is working on getting a patent for that one.

Though the Providence VA Hospital rejected the trays, Kirby hasn’t given up. Every time he goes for an appointment there, he brings a few with him and gives them away.

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