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Smart cane for Parkinson's disease patients

Shared by Ana Duarte on 2016-06-17 09:22

About the solution

So Neha, a Product design technology graduate University of the West of England, created a device that detects when a user's limbs have frozen and they cannot continue walking. The cane vibrates when it recognizes a pause in motion, to help the user regain their rhythm and get moving again.

"People with Parkinson's get jammed in one place and can't step forward - it can cause falls. They need any kind of rhythm or sequence to get them started again, because it acts as a reminder. The beat is inside the handle – it senses when you stop and turns off automatically when you start walking again. Patients say it encourages them to walk and they learn to pace with it", the entrepeneur said.

The walking stick resembles a conventional mobility aid device (to not draw attention to the patient and their condition), having sophisticated technology integrated into the plastic handle: A sensor which can detect when the user has stopped taking steps.

The device was already tested among Parkinson’s patients, and the results are positive.

“When I gave the product to patients to be tested, there were smiles on their faces and they were saying 'This could really work'. It seems unbelievable that I have made something which could help people, even if it is to a small extent. It's a great feeling for me and the patients are happy somebody is thinking of them. There isn't a cure for Parkinson's – medication just prolongs the condition and helps you stay alive for longer. My aim is to make their lives a bit better while they are dealing with it", she explained.

Neha came up with the idea for this innovation in 2014, as part of an end-of-course project in which she was challenged to devise a product which could solve a real world problem. So she tried to solve her grandfather problema, as well as many other Parkinson’s patients’, after three months of research, taking to patients and going to care homes.

"My granddad had this disease for seven years so I knew a bit about it - that was my starting point. He used to freeze a lot and had a lot of injuries because of falling.

The inventor founded her own start-up company, Walk to Beat.

More info: http://walktobeat.co.uk/

Adapted from: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-05-granddaughter-parkinson-patient-sm...

What about you, do you have any solutions? Please share them with the Patient Innovation community!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdEpKtPasQM&feature=youtu.be

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

Neha Shahid Chaudhry, born in 1993, in Pakistan, invented a smart walking stick to aid people with frozen limbs walk. Neha was inspired by her late grandfather, who struggled with Parkinson’s disease for seven years, and was constantly falling when his joints seized up.

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