the Parkinson's walking aid
I was challenged to design a product that addresses an issue in one of the fields of health, safety, food and water, or energy. I chose to research Parkinson's Disease, a disease which can profoundly effect one's quality of life in many different ways. Since it is a disease that currently has no cure, I was inspired to design an object that could help make living with the disease a little easier. After gathering information on the type of people PD affects and in what ways, I focused on the symptoms it comes with and how I could address one of them. Freezing of gait is a physical symptom that can sometimes be the most interruptive to one's daily life, but it is one that is not addressed very often.
I wanted to incorporate different methods for unfreezing in a product that people who experience freezing with PD may already use regularly: a walking cane. I accomplished through a laser which would project a grid onto the ground for visual cues and a speaker which could play a variety of preset audio files for audio cues.
In addition to the visual and audio cues, I also took into account other features that would be accommodating for other side effects that come with PD. There is a detachable option for those who take medication and may not need the cane at all times, the height adjustment mechanism is designed for easier use, and the base is a tripod made of flexible rubber for better stability.
Multiple models were created to demonstrate the different features of the cane. One model demonstrated the visual cue, another demonstrated the audio cues, and a third demonstrated how the detachable piece would fit into the entire handle.