Meet Stephen Walden who is an entrepreneur based in Phoenix and has come up with an innovation in the spade’s design. The new model has been named as ‘Ergonomic Shovel’ and it comes with a handle that rotates in the center of the shaft. The aim of the design is to minimize back strain and wrist pain that follows after working with a spade while also improving the posture of the user. However, beware that it won’t be doing any hard work and the user will still have to provide the power required for shoveling.
The inventor came up with the design after waking up sore from a digging task for his parents. The design has a fiber glass shaft that sports a ring-shaped structure in the center with a handle that is capable of being rotated 360 degrees and can be locked into 16 different positions. Mr. Waldon is 25 years old and claims that his design is in fact the first major innovation in spade technology since thousands of years.
He shared, “It shouldn’t be normal to wake up sore every day after using these tools, so why not come up with a way to make them easier to use. I was using other tools as well, with perpendicular handles, like hedge trimmers and weed whackers, when I realized that this handle configuration can be used on a simple shovel. For thousands of years, we have grown accustomed to using traditional tools – to the point where we expect them to cause pain and injury. But research shows that we can decrease workplace injury by adding ergonomics to the equation. We have redesigned the shovel to reduce injury.”
The first prototype was built from PVC pipe and glue. Walden had the idea patented before starting a campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds for the commercial product. He owns a company by the name of Bosse Tools that is producing the spades and sells two versions. One costs $69 and is used for digging, the second design costs $79 and is used for shoveling snow.
According to Mr. Waldon, the tests that were carried out by students at Arizona State University have confirmed that his product does reduce the strain on lower back and arm muscles while digging and lifting. Kinesiology instructor at the Arizona State University, Erin Harper, said, “We know from previous reports on snow shoveling injuries that a large number of injuries come from musculoskeletal exertion. If a person can complete the same task with less muscle activity, the onset of fatigue may be delayed, which may help prevent musculoskeletal injuries that usually result from compromised or poor movement technique.”