Connect Walker Assisted Navigation by James A. Self

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DESIGN DETAILS
DESIGN NAME:
Connect Walker

PRIMARY FUNCTION:
Assisted Navigation

INSPIRATION:
The Connect Walker design is part of a larger project entitled: IoT Product Design for Dementia, conducted at and sponsored by UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology). Adopting an interdisciplinary approach that includes expertise across industrial and interaction design, human factors and clinical psychology, the Connect Walker was inspired by the insight that for people living with early stage dementia, navigation becomes very challenging. To address this challenge, and by adopting a technology-driven approach, the Connect Walker design supports navigation to and from the home. This then supports increased independence and empowerment for users living with changing short term episodic and semantic memory needs associated with dementia. Please also see supporting documents attached.

UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
- The Connect Walker provides enhanced navigation through simplified application and graphical user interface designs. - An on-board camera records journey information, photos (daily journey feature) for later recall, targeted at memory training for people living with dementia. - A home button function is provided for immediate navigation to a home address and contact to a selected care provider or loved one. - Automatic braking system makes it impossible to forget to engage the brake when seated. - Connect Walker's striking design aesthetic is a unique departure from the utilitarian form factors of conventional walkers and walking frames.

OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The Connect Walker design delivers the following core benefits: - Sister application combined with forward-facing camera feature. Improved navigation for people living with early-stage dementia. - Anytime communication with loved-ones and care-provides through home button located on walker handle. Button also immediately provides navigation to home address. - Auto-braking/sensor system. Walker brake-release when hands in contact with walker handles. Never forget to engage the brake while seated. - Design aesthetic and form-factors depart from purely functional designs existing in the same market segment.

PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
Two Year project: 01.01.2018-31.12.2019. This work was supported by the Excellent Research Idea Discovery project research fund (1.190045.01) of UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology).

FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Social Design

PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
Subsequent to desk research, ethnographic and interview studies in collaboration with community centres for the elderly within the Ulsan and Seoul areas of Korea, insights were gained towards the practical and emotional needs of people living with dementia. In particular, navigation was identified as a critical issue for those living with MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) and early stage dementia. Due to the effects of short-term semantic and episodic memory loss, people with early stage dementia often have difficulty navigating to once familiar locations. These insights provided the starting point for the Connect Walker design as an opportunity to enhance navigation through an IoT approach (please also see supporting documents attached).

SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The Connect Walker design leverages the opportunities of IoT product design to support increased independence and empowerment for people living with early-stage dementia. A combination of product design (walker/seat), application (navigation/communication), technology (auto-braking system) and a striking design aesthetic provide a product that goes beyond existing walkers available on the market today. Connect Walker is an innovation in its ability to satisfy multiple needs for a design for dementia target (navigation/communication/memory-recall) through a freshly unique design aesthetic.

TAGS:
Design for Dementia, Social Design, Health & Wellbeing, IoT Product Design

RESEARCH ABSTRACT:
As part of a user-cantered-design approach, and subsequent to a literature review and desk research, user studies in collaboration with community centres for the elderly within the Ulsan and Seoul areas of Korea were conducted. Ethnographic and interview studies resulted in insights towards the practical needs of the elderly living with dementia. Due to the effects of short-term memory loss, associated with Alzheimer’s, people with dementia often have difficulty navigating to and from once familiar destinations (see example award winning short film by Vinn Bay and Tee Boon Leng, not part of the project). Going forward the design is currently being exposed to further iterations of user-testing. Please also see supporting documents attached.

CHALLENGE:
For people living with dementia, design provide both an alternative to medication and means to empower and support through interventions sensitive to and appropriate for the practical and emotional needs of users. The Connect Walker responds to a need for people living with early-stage dementia to navigate once familiar journeys i.e. to the shop, bank or a friend's home (see also Going Home: A Short film on Dementia by Vinn Bay and Tee Boon Leng, https://youtu.be/9iXPHhfk_7E). Early-stage dementia effects short-term episodic and semantic memory first. This provides unique challenges around wayfaring, navigation and mobility. Adopting an interdisciplinary, IoT product design approach, the project explored appropriate design interventions to support and empower people with dementia through technology enabled navigation and communication solutions. Subsequent to a literature review and desk research, ethnographic and interview user-studies in collaboration with community centres for the elderly within the Ulsan and Seoul areas of Korea were conducted. As a result, insights were gained towards the practical needs of the elderly target. In particular, navigation was identified as a critical issue for those living with MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) and early stage dementia. Due to the effects of short-term memory loss, associated with Alzheimer’s, people with dementia often have difficulty remembering. These insights provided a starting point for design exploration and ideation. Through this the IoT walker design emerged as providing possibilities for supporting navigation through our technology-driven approach. Please also see supporting documents attached.

ADDED DATE:
2019-12-06 05:43:40

TEAM MEMBERS (1) :
James A. Self, Young-Woo Park, Dooyoung Jung, Chajoong Kim, Ilhee Park, Nari Kim, Bomin Kim

IMAGE CREDITS:
Please see attached document for all permissions and image rights information.

PATENTS/COPYRIGHTS:
Gait Assistive Device. Application No. 10-2020-0011676. Technical Patent. Self, J.,Park, Y. W.,Jung, D., Y., Kim, C., J., Park, I., Kim, N. & Kim B. Applied: 2020.01.31. Korean Patent. Walking Aid. Design Rights. Application No. 10-2020-0011676. Self, J.,Park, Y. W.,Jung, D., Y., Kim, C., J., Park, I., Kim, N. & Kim B. Applied: 2020.01.31. Korean Design Rights.

Visit the following page to learn more: https://www.unist.ac.kr
CLIENT/STUDIO/BRAND DETAILS
NAME:
UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology)

PROFILE:
UNIST, located in Korea, is one of only four specialized science & technology research institutions nationally. Since its opening in 2009, UNIST has established itself as a leading, global research university. Within UNIST the design school (School of Design & Human Engineering) adopts a technology-driven design approach in collaboration with industry and government sponsors.

NOMINATION DETAILS

Connect Walker Assisted Navigation by James a. Self is a Nominee in Differently Abled and Seniors' Assistance Design Category.

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AWARD DETAILS

Connect Walker Assisted Navigation by James a. Self is Winner in Differently Abled and Seniors' Assistance Design Category, 2019 - 2020.



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