When it comes to defining what technology is, you may have heard people say "Heck, even the shovel is an example of technology." That may be true, but it's also an example of technology that has hasn't changed much in a long time. California-based entrepreneur Stephen Walden, however, wants to change that. After getting stiff and sore using a conventional shovel, he set about designing an alternative. The result is his Ergonomic Shovel, that features a rotating second handle in the middle of the shaft.
There are already plenty of ergonomic shovels that have an additional handle part way down, allowing for a second firm and easy point of contact. With most of those shovels, the handle is clamped onto the shaft and is set at a fixed angle.
By contrast, Walden's shovel has a ring-shaped structure in the middle of its reinforced fiberglass shaft, that contains an integrated composite handle that can be rotated 360 degrees. The idea is that users can set the angle to best suit themselves and the particular job, by turning the handle in the direction that they will be pitching the dirt, snow, cow poop, or what have you. Once the angle is set, it can be temporarily locked in.
According to Stephen and his development team, "these shovels improve posture to reduce back strain, they relieve wrist pain by taking the wrist out of a pronated position, and they minimize shoulder injury by making sure lifting tasks are two-handed and in front of the body, which evenly distributes the loads across the shoulders and chest."
Most if not all of these claims can also be applied to more traditional ergonomic shovels, although Walden's model does have another interesting feature – a U-shaped foothold. This allows users to apply foot pressure directly to the middle of the shovel head, instead of off to one side where their foot could slip off.
Stephen is currently raising production funds for his shovel, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$79 will get you one (your choice of a spade, flat head or snow shovel), when and if the funding goal is met.
More information is available in the pitch video below.