Designer Creates Canes For Elderly That Send SOS, Monitor BP

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Shreya Thakkar, a 28-year-old industrial designer and researcher, vividly remembers rising up at dwelling together with her grandparents in Vadodara and observing first hand the results of ageing on their well being and the surroundings round them. 

“Watching my mom function their caretaker taught me the significance of compassion and empathy within the care of the aged,” she recollects. 

What adopted was a journey that took her to Bengaluru, Auroville and finally Los Angeles, United States, the place she pursued a grasp’s diploma in industrial and furnishings design on the prestigious ArtCenter Faculty of Design, whereas volunteering at senior residing services.

“At senior residing services in Los Angeles, I used to be capable of hear their tales and actually expertise their lives, additional solidifying my ardour for assistive expertise and the potential it has to enhance the standard of life for our ageing inhabitants,” she provides. 

In keeping with the World Well being Group (WHO), “In 2020, the variety of individuals aged 60 years and older outnumbered kids youthful than 5 years. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s inhabitants over 60 years will almost double from 12% to 22%.” 

Breakthroughs in medication, diet, biotechnology, and different fields are serving to individuals get pleasure from life for an extended time period. The secret’s to grasp how older individuals will spend their lives. Specializing in well-being, psychological and bodily well being, recreation, and leisure time. 

Shreya’s analysis calls into query our assumptions and views on private mobility. As the marketplace for merchandise targeted on older individuals grows, she intently interacts with customers to grasp their behaviours, sentiments, and the impacts of ageing. 

“When older adults have been requested about their goals, a majority of them talked about independence and the enjoyment of meandering. I studied their on a regular basis lives, listened to their tales, noticed them of their pure habitat, and skilled their lives with them. Seniors are eager on the standard of life, autonomy, and self-reliance,” elaborates Shreya. 

“Discovering stability between independence and ageing in a world of rapidly-evolving expertise and mindsets is difficult. We should overcome the parable that ageing equates to feebleness and passivity, an thought perpetuated by the ageing-related merchandise and stereotypes,” she provides. 

Shreya’s in depth analysis and keenness has led her to develop the interactive Wander On good cane (Walker On Help 01) and walker (Walker On Help 02) for seniors that mix SOS alarms with GPS monitoring, built-in blood strain monitoring, and even a seat.  

Designer Shreya Thakkar engaged on the Walker On Help cane and good walker

Understanding ageing 

Volunteering at elder centres and assisted residing services in Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, Michigan, albeit for a couple of months, allowed Sherya to immerse herself in a setting the place the ageing course of is extra pronounced, and observe individuals’s behaviour in a context that’s tough to grasp. It was a deeply enriching expertise that enabled her to higher perceive the complexities of ageing, together with the bodily, emotional, and social points that include it.

“By means of my time spent observing and interacting with seniors in these settings, I gained priceless insights into their every day routines, preferences, and the challenges they face regularly. I realized how vital it’s to take the time to hearken to their tales, their experiences, and considerations, with the intention to present the very best care and assist,” explains Shreya. 

“A really priceless side of my expertise was finding out the behaviour of middle-aged seniors who had simply moved right into a senior group. The transition from unbiased residing to a extra communal setting could be tough. It was fascinating to look at how individuals adapt to their new surroundings, kind new relationships, and discover which means and objective of their lives,” she provides.

The expertise taught her to take the time to grasp every particular person’s distinctive state of affairs, wants, and preferences. As she delved deeper into her analysis on “Partaking in Ageing”, she realised that the marketplace for merchandise catering to the actively ageing inhabitants was stagnant. 

“By means of my analysis, I recognized key areas in aged life the place there was a necessity for enchancment, equivalent to morning routines, inner mobility, and kitchen help. This led me to conceptualise and design the primary good cane and walker,” recollects Shreya. 

“My intention was to create a mobility help system that will assist aged adults actively age in place by making merchandise extra participating and interesting. I wished to encourage them to really feel cheerful and make wholesome and fulfilling life choices. With this in thoughts, I developed the ‘Wander On’ cane and walker, which was particularly designed for ageing child boomers and others who might lack the self-assurance essential for unbiased mobility,” she provides. 

The ‘Wander On’ was envisioned to be a ‘serving to hand’ by offering seniors with a way of safety, enabling them to get assist instantly in the event that they want it and likewise offering bodily assist. 

“It strengthens the independence equilibrium that one all the time strives to protect. Total, I  created a product that improves the standard of life for the ageing inhabitants and helps them actively age in place with dignity, independence, and beauty,” claims Shreya. 

Sensible cane and walker designed by Shreya Thakkar

Wander On Help- Sensible Cane

The Wander On Help 01 is a “reimagined cane” that’s “very best for these in search of partial strolling help”. With an adjustable top, a built-in pedometer, and a shock-absorbing ergonomic design, it promotes freedom and independence, in accordance with Shreya. 

“It additionally tracks blood strain, temperature, and pulse, and permits customers to share this well being knowledge with their contacts. When pressed, the SOS button sends an emergency sign to the assist centre and nominated contact, detailing the present well being stats and placement. The navigation mild gives invaluable help at evening. And through unexpected occasions, together with energy outages, the situation of the cane can all the time be discovered on the Wander On app. If the cane is misplaced close by, the vibration setting can assist find it too,” she explains. 

The built-in pedometer tracks steps and a sensor displays blood strain, temperature, and pulse. Customers may simply share this knowledge with their contacts for added security and assist.

The Wander On good cane is greater than only a mobility assist. It’s a high-tech, all-in-one service and healthcare system. In 2019, Shreya launched into a mission to “revolutionise mobility help for the aged” and others going through mobility challenges. 

“My journey started with in depth analysis and evaluation, diving deep into the intricacies of cane design. As I delved into the nitty-gritty of handles, grips, and performance, I realised that designing the proper cane was no straightforward feat. Brining my imaginative and prescient to life by means of prototyping. It was a nerve-wracking course of. Each time my design failed, I gained invaluable insights that allowed me to tweak and enhance. Sustaining an open suggestions loop with stakeholders proved instrumental in acquiring validation and understanding the ache factors of the mission,” she says.

Wander On Help- Sensible Walker

Shreya wished to reimagine the normal walker and create a tool that will not solely present help, but in addition promote exercise, independence, and possession of 1’s well being. 

“So I got down to design the Wander On Help 02 walker for seniors — a game-changing mobility system that will incorporate good dwelling connectivity, a navigation system, and hand gesture detection. I envisioned an elegantly ergonomic walker with wheels and seats that will not solely help with mobility, but in addition open doorways, carry groceries, and even information customers dwelling with GPS expertise in the event that they discovered themselves in unfamiliar environment,” explains Shreya.

“Customers can sit or stand utilizing one system; to allow them to select when to be cellular. Further options imply that on the finish of the day, customers may even examine their well being particulars and step rely — data they will then share with contacts for security,” she provides.

And to make it much more user-friendly, she included a easy hand gesture that will name the walker towards the person, so that they wouldn’t must wrestle to retrieve it.

“However I additionally wished to prioritise well being and security. So I added options that enable customers to examine their well being particulars and step rely, which they will then share with contacts for added security. With the Wander On Help 02, I aimed to usher in a brand new age of product improvement that meets the wants of hundreds of thousands of individuals in a considerate and imaginative manner,” she notes. 

On the verge of commercialisation 

Shreya at present works as a design strategist for a famend Houston-based structure firm, Planning Design Analysis. In her function, she has been conducting analysis on sufferers’ and guests’ experiences in healthcare services. 

“We’re at present within the means of prototyping the merchandise and are planning to begin manufacturing quickly. To raised perceive the ergonomics and product-market match, now we have enlisted the assistance of some seniors who’re utilizing the prototype. This can allow us to refine the design additional earlier than making it extensively out there. That is solely the start of what we hope will likely be a unbroken effort to enhance the well-being of seniors in India and across the globe,” she says. 

In comparison with current walkers and canes, she believes that the Wander On system gives “superior monitoring and communication providers” which have sometimes been supplied by medical professionals or caregivers. “Our aim is to boost the person’s sense of independence, permitting them to proceed their regular routines, together with wholesome social exercise,” she provides. 

Trying forward, she goals to proceed her work on designing higher options for seniors, addressing societal issues and designing sustainable city techniques. 

“It’s my aim to assist older individuals obtain better ranges of autonomy, independence, mobility, and connection by means of my work. That is solely the start of what we hope will likely be a unbroken effort to enhance the well-being of seniors,” notes Shreya. 

(Edited by Divya Sethu; Pictures courtesy Shreya Thakkar)

Designer Creates Canes For Elderly That Send SOS, Monitor BP

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