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Teen invents multifunctional smart cane

Shared by Ana Duarte on 2015-12-03 21:09

About the solution

The cane's functions include a flashlight, pulse monitor, and smartphone-connected medication reminder. "What's so cool about our generation," Mary says, "is that we can start using technology to revolutionize these very basic necessities of life."

“I guess I got the idea from my grandma,” she says, regarding the cane. “She’s 84 and she’s visually impaired. I felt that technology could really make a difference for her.” The teen did research, and part of it was talking the problem over with nurses and doctors who work with the elderly. Then the she thought hard about what a good cane should do.

Mary knew that the biggest risk for the elderly was falling. So she wanted to design a device that could sense when pavement changes — tripping hazards — lay ahead and then alert the user. She also knew that older people can fall if their blood pressure drops and makes them dizzy. So Mary wanted her cane to track that as well.

Her new “smart” cane is full of sensors. Some measure elevation by sending out tiny pulses of very high-pitched sound — a frequency that humans cannot hear. That sound bounces off of objects ahead, such as a coffee table, and then returns to the sensor. By measuring the time it takes for the sound to return, the cane can calculate how far away the coffee table is. If the cane gets too close, its sensors make the cane handle vibrate, warning the walker to watch out.

Gripping the cane’s handle can collect data on how fast a user’s heart is beating. If it’s too high or too low, the user may be at risk of fainting. So the cane will vibrate and let its user know that it’s time to find a seat and rest. The cane also comes equipped with lights and a computer. That computer can be programmed to notify users when it’s time to take any medication.

Adapted from: http://bit.ly/2hmBf1Z

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Mary Hood, born in 1998, in USA, has developed a cane that senses stairs, curbs and other potential hazards. She was worried that her 85-year-old grandmother, who walks with a cane, would fall and get hurt. So she developed a smart cane that vibrates in its users' hands when it detects obstacles.

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