A patent application has been filed for the prone stander, and the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC), which assists in commercialization of research, has begun searching for licensees.
The Buddy System comes with a full set of CAD drawings, a bill of materials outlining specific parts and their costs, and a pre-production prototype rare for a university project. "Typically, inventions that come out of universities are embryonic," said Orman Simpson, a technology licensing associate at GTRC. "By carrying it to this level of development, Mary Lou has significantly lowered production engineering costs."
The Buddy System also has potential to evolve into other assistive products. By removing its central pod and adding interchangeable parts, the prone stander can be transformed into an alternative walker or a gait trainer (for children who have advanced beyond the prone stander).
For the past six months, The Buddy System has been "road-tested" at the Elaine Clark Center, an early intervention program in Atlanta. "The reaction has been nothing but positive," said Nancy Morrissey, the center's educational program coordinator. "It doesn't look like a piece of equipment children see it as friendly, not scary. Even children without ambulatory problems want to ride in it."