Kitchen Kaddy

Designers: Taylor Jordan, Sarah Omenitsch, Catherine Ramsey, Margaret Upshur

Client Coordinator: Susan Salzberg

Supervising Professor: Larry Bohs

Figure 1. Kitchen Kaddy


Everyday kitchen tasks are often difficult for our client due to limited fine motor skills caused by Charcot Marie Tooth disease. The Kitchen Kaddy allows the client to transport kitchen items more efficiently and provides support and stability to prevent fatigue as she performs these tasks. The project uses a modified commercial walker, consisting of three closed sides and one open side.  The design includes a large front tray and a removable side basket that facilitate transport of kitchen items. Finally, the walker incorporates a braking system that defaults to the locked position to give the client stability when she stops.  Ultimately, the Kitchen Kaddy increases the client’s independence, efficiency, and comfort in performing routine kitchen tasks.


The Kitchen Kaddy gives the client a sense of independence in the kitchen that she has not seen in recent years.  Using the Kaddy, she is more efficient and confident.  The client commented, “(the) Kitchen Kaddy offers safety for me from falling when performing kitchen tasks. My dishes will last longer because they will travel on the tray rather than fall from my hands. When I transfer knives I will not be at risk of falling on the knife. I can now move 6 plates at a time, not just one.”


The Kitchen Kaddy (Figure 1) includes four main components: a walker frame, front tray, braking system and side basket.

A commercially available bariatric walker (ConvaQuip) provides the framework for the device.  This walker is heavier and stronger than a standard model, with a maximum load of 750lbs. The geometry and weight of the walker make it difficult to tip, while the high load limit ensures the device can withstand the load from the user and the items in the tray and basket.  The walker handgrips are adjusted to a comfortable height for the user (30”). To minimize the tendency to tip created by the front tray, the rear legs are cut shorter than the front legs by 1.25”, and steel rods are inserted into the rear legs to shift the center of mass lower and toward the rear.  The wheels of the commercial walker are removed because they make the walker move too fast for the client.  After testing several alternatives, felt pads were attached to the leg tips to provide the best balance between maneuverability and stability.

The 18” by 13” front tray is made from ½” black high-density polyethylene (HDPE), attached to the walker frame with two 10” L-brackets.  Testing revealed a maximum capacity of 70 lbs, providing a safety factor of 3.5 compared to the expected maximum load of 20 lbs. Three sides of the tray attach to the base with piano hinges, allowing them to hinge downward, locking in the vertical position with cabinet roller latches. A Dycem mat covers the tray, creating a non-slip surface to hold objects steady while the walker is in motion.

The braking system incorporates two custom legs, constructed from bent steel pipe and attached to the front of the walker frame.  Two conduit clamps allow the legs to slide vertically when actuated by bicycle cables and locking hand levers (Mimi Lite Allegro Medical, Deluxe Aluminum Rollator Accessories #127B-AE3EC93).

Reducible-force gas springs (McMaster) exert a downward force on the braking legs when the levers are in the lower position, causing rubber feet on the leg tips to contact the ground, making the walker much more difficult to slide.  Moving the levers upward lifts the braking legs off the ground, allowing the walker to slide easily on the floor.

A commercial wire-mesh basket attaches to hooks on a stationary piece of HDPE, secured between two aluminum supports on the side of the walker frame.  Figure 2 shows the client using the Kitchen Kaddy. Cost of components for the device is approximately $600.

Figure 2. Client using the Kitchen Kaddy

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