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A New All-terrain Cane (Updated: May 29th- Spring-based ball & socket attachment, and refined parts for the cane)

An all-terrain movement cane that can bring back more natural functionality to movement, hence increasing user safety and comfort.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it enable older adults to live their best possible life by preventing falls?

This idea is meant for the elderly who use canes, or those who are prescribed one. Due to the additional features, the elderly will be safer, and due to improved functionality and stability, the cane will help them maintain balance on uneven surfaces, preventing falls.

After speaking with experts, we have found out that Canes are the most self-prescribed assistive devices a person begins using when they get older. They will use canes even if they have minor injuries, so that their mobility can become easier.

We have many kinds of canes; even the most sophisticated canes have issues with when it comes to movement. 

We are in the process of developing a cane which allows for all-terrain movement with its jointed ends. It will have shock reduction capabilities making it safer to use in uneven surfaces. It will also be embedded with other features like comfortable and customized handles, laser guidance, and alert system. Another important feature is the easy storage, making it possible to be stored in small places, and easily usable in tight spaces like a crowded subway.

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Iteration 1 of the prototype: Low fidelity parts


We have an early folding concept that we have been working on for about a week. Here is a video of one of our concepts where the cane can be folded in two different ways for storage. We were inspired by telescopes and tripod easels.

We are going to meet our industrial designer friend to come up with feasible designs.

Update 2: April 17th (Simple circuit and electronics for the cane)

Below is the simple block diagram of how the alert part of the cane works. The laser grid projects a 650nm wavelength red light, which is detected by a detector (the one that has a lens on its surface). The detector keeps a track of the distance of the laser grid from the lens by determining the reflected red light.

If the distance goes beyond a certain set limit, it is usually the case that the cane has fallen down (keep in mind, the electronics need power, so the device is turned on only if the user wants to use it).

If the laser goes beyond a certain limit, an alert signal is sent to a mobile phone through a bluetooth module. Currently, it can work on most Android devices.

A simple working circuit is in the below images. They need to be connected to the end of the cane. 

The below image shows the detector on the left, the grid  in the center (unfortunately, one of the lasers broke), and the bluetooth module on the right.


The image below shows the detector pointing towards the red laser light (when surrounded by bright light). So even though the device is used in broad day light, the detector can still work.


Update 3: April 19 2017 (variety of bases for the base):

We have printed different kinds of bases for the cane. Depending on the kind of environment, different bases can be used. For example, using a sharper base, like the one with cones, can be used outside on the streets. The square shaped extrusions on the second base is more suitable for wooden or tiled floors. The parabolic base could be more useful if the floor is carpeted.

In the left sided image below, you can see the parabolic (top left), square (top right) and conical (bottom) attachments to the base. All three of them are 3D printed. We are working on more shapes suitable for more different environments. 

 

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User Testing 1:

Update 4: May 1 2017 (User opinion from NYU Tandon Research Expo and User Testing at Weinberg Senior Center)

Part 1: Research Expo: (Taking from Dawn's Comment)

We had many people stop and engage in in-depth conversations with us about their own experiences with assistive devices, what they thought of our prototypes, and even had a handful of people asking us where they could buy them (yippee!). Some key insights gained from user feedback of our prototypes:

• The device should ideally weigh no more than 14 pounds. One user expressed that anything heavier than that is too difficult to lift, especially when getting in and out of cars

• It would be very helpful if the device folded up into an easy to manage size. This would be helpful when fitting the device in a car, when setting the device aside at a restaurant, or other situations in which you need to store the device.

• We received feedback that the light feature may not be very important because many people who need a walker probably don't go out at night anyway. However, we think it is worth researching further because perhaps if the persons path were well lit they would feel that they could safely get around after the sun goes down.

Part 2: Senior Center: (Taking from Rodney's Comment)

On April 24th, we took the canes to the Weinberg Senior Center. Many elderly liked the prototypes, and were excited to test it. This came to us as a surprise that they liked the idea that they can have different cane bases in different environments.
They also criticized canes such as the Hurry-Cane because it did not help them balance properly (although they liked that it folded well). They agreed on the fact that they preferred that their canes stood on their own, rather than be placed leaning against other objects.
They also said that they would like it if the cane could help them balance their weight and make them easier to walk especially in uneven surfaces.
Here is the link to some of the images and videos of the test, and a couple of them are below the link:


Update 5: May 9 2017 (Refinement ideas from an OpenIDEO meetup)

In a recent OpenIDEO meetup, we got insights from all the participants about improving our idea. We are considering taking ideas from the soles of different shoes to include at the base of the cane.

Here is a concept video of how the ball and socket joint would be working with the cane. The cane will come with the ball and socket joint, and we will have different kinds of bases to increase affordability.

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Iteration 2 of the Prototype and User testing 2: Improved prototype parts

Update 6: May 23rd 2017 (New base made of flexible material for better grip)

We began experimenting with a flexible material for the base cap. The flexibility of the material gives a better grip than the previous caps. The only issue is that it takes a long time to print these caps, as the flexible material is a little tricky to handle. This emulates a shoe! Meanwhile, the ball and socket join are being printed, and will be out for testing in about a day.

We are also trying to cut shapes out of shoe soles and put them beneath the base caps, to see if it works out.

Here are the image of the new flexible base cap (we only have one filament of this material, so there is only one, similar to the square base from the previous iteration), and a video to show its operation:

Update 7: May 24th 2017 (Safety regulator and alert system)

An improved version of the previous system without the grid light. The grid light, as we realized that the grid, as cool as it looks, is functionally useless. A grid is not required to show the uneven surface, but anything that can cast a simple shadow can do it.

Below is the image of the electronic prototype we had built. 


The video below the concept until an alert signal is obtained at the user's phone. We know that such a system can be made really small and compact, and can be incorporated at the base of the cane. The app can be a background application. 

The assumption is that if the cane falls down, then the alert signal will be sent, as the detector cannot detect the presence of an object (the floor or ground) in front of it.

We are working on making this smarter so that there are very few to no false positive alerts.

Update 8: May 27th 2017 (User testing the base and ergonomic handle)

Part 1: User testing with the flexible base 

After testing the flexible bases ourselves, we made more of them. We even took different kinds of soles of shoes and attached to a few of them.

In the second OpenIDEO fall prevention refinement meetup on May 25th, our team showed the new improvements of the base. We also did a small user testing, as we could not go to the senior center yet. Our users were people who have used a cane before, some who have never used one before, and a Physical Therapist. We were told that adding the base made it sturdier to use, and gave a better grip when using at an angle to the ground (which was one of the issues we were trying to tackle).

Below is a user testing video at the meetup:

Part 2: Making the handle more ergonomic

We were also told that constant usage of any cane would mean that there will be pain or discomfort in the user's wrist or shoulder. Hence we were advised to look for materials that can be more comfortable to use.

Our team did some research and found a thermoplastic material called Polycaprolactone which can be heated in hot water (about 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and easily molded into different shapes. Once it cools down, it retains its shape and can hold on to its shape until there is a need for remolding using hot water. The good things about this material, is that it is biodegradable, and can be remolded any number of times.

Below is a video of molding the material:


Update 9: May 29th 2017 (Ball and Socket attachment, and refined parts)

Part 1: Rapid Prototype of Spring based Ball and Socket attachment

Our 3D printed parts have come out of the lye bath (since we used a high end printer for better fidelity of parts and higher tolerance). The spring was of non standard size, so we had to print it using a flexible material called TPU. The parts needed to be assembled and then attached to the newly created base for the cane. In the image below you can see the assembled parts:

In the video below, you can see the attachment in action. This attachment will be fixed to the cane:


Part 2: Refined parts and notes from comments

Things we gained from the OpenIDEO community through meetups and comments below:

  • Thinking about assessing how the handle grip needs to be comfortable
  • Discovering various materials that could be used to improve the cane
  • Making cane parts that feature a variety of colours and personalizing features
  • Testing the idea with different shoe soles
  • Go through patents existing for canes
  • Consider the finances involved so that the cane is affordable
  • Keeping it simple and user friendly


Things we will be doing in the upcoming days:

  • Assemble the entire cane with the new handle and ball & socket attachment
  • Test it at the senior center
  • Do some other Engineering tests to determine the durability such as vibration tests
  •  Make the electronic components minimal and reduce false positive alerts
  • Check with seniors and caregivers if they are interested in a background alerting app and develop one
  • Make a minimally viable product


Our thought:

The elderly will only need one cane that already includes the ball and socket joint and the remoldable comfortable handle. 

Different bases are the things that make the cane all-terrain and affordable. 

The added advantage is that multiple people can use the same cane due to its modularity!

Finally, here are the three refined attachments for our prototype in one image:

________________________________________________________________________________________________

On behalf of my team members Dawn, Grace, Sepehr, and Cesar, I would like to thank the OpenIDEO community, the NYU Tandon MakerSpace, the NYU GreenHouse, DFA NYU, the Weinberg Center for balanced living, our mentor, our advisors, and peers who supported us by giving us feedback, prototyping resources, and insights.

________________________________________________________________________________________________


What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We are going to do a small workshop to test our prototype at a senior center in the next few weeks to see how comfortable the users will be with using a different kind of cane.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

1. Where to source light weight materials?
2. What kind of structural analysis of the materials should be done for the shaft of the cane?
3. How to reduce the false negative alert signals being sent to the elderly person's care taker?
4. How to make the design more therapeutic, so that the users are comfortable while using the cane?

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • A student collaboration

Tell us about your work experience:

We are NYU students & Design for America members, building a mobility device for the elderly. We study healthcare, design, engineering, & computer science.
We have built an ergonomic walker prototype for Medline in a challenge (Fall 2016). We are mentored by a Physical Therapist at Wartburg Center

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone?

Many elderly own numerous canes to use on different kinds of terrain, this can get very expensive. We've developed an all-terrain cane with interchangeable bases that are safe, affordable, and effective.

How does your idea demonstrate our Criteria of Affordability?

Many elderly own numerous canes to use on different terrain, this can get very expensive. Our solution offers those in need of a cane an affordable option that addresses their need for an ergonomic cane that can handle different surfaces safely and effectively. Instead of buying different canes for different situations, they can buy one cane with interchangeable bases that are affordable and easily replaced.

How does your idea demonstrate or plan to demonstrate scalability?

Our solution is not only scalable, given that the cane, bases, and other features can be mass produced and assembled in manufacturing warehouses, but also highly modular. One cane with many different bases for different kinds of grounds!

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

We will measure the impact of our cane be determining if individuals in need of a cane find that our cane offers them an increasing sense of stability and if our cane has led to a decrease in falls.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

Our immediate next steps after the challenge would be to continue to conduct user research and take insights gained to improve upon our prototype, developing it into a market sound minimum viable product (this process should never end as we want to continuously improve and innovate to remain useful, competitive, & relevant). We will continue to develop relationships with manufacturers as we try to bring down production costs so that we can pass those savings on to our customers

65 comments

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Photo of Srijay
Team

Hi,

I did not think of this question before. How does the sensor handle if there is mud or dirt.

- Srijay

curbd: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fall-prevention/finalfeedback/an-assistive-device-for-curb-elevation-detection

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Srijay  Thank you for taking the time to comment.

The sensor works on the principle of detecting the reflected light. When the sensor emits a beam of light on any surface (including mud or dirt), a part of the light is absorbed by the surface, another part transmitted, and the remaining is reflected back. The reflected light is detected by the sensor's detector part.

It works similar to the proximity sensor of smart phones. However, instead of measuring how close an object is, the reverse proximity sensor that we have tested, measure how far the surface is.

Photo of Chris Ashford
Team

Rodney Lobo this is a great idea whose time has come. Have you had a chance to address some senior's reluctance to use canes? While I release it is it late in the process, I can speak from first hand knowledge that my 92 year old dad is a stubborn man. Although he has a cane, he hasn't started using it. Do you care to comment? Great idea keep it up.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you Chris Ashford :)

Yes, we have considered that, and one of the things that came to our minds is the idea of personalization. Adding vinyl stickers, having a variety of colours for the body or the handle are some of the things that our team is working on.

Do you have any other ideas for us?

Photo of Dawn Feldthouse
Team

Thank you for the feedback and the great questions @Chris Ashford , Like Rodney said, we have considered addressing similar issues with personalization options for the canes.Chris Ashford , Did you ask your grandfather why he does not want to use his cane? If so, What was his response?

Photo of Chris Ashford
Team

He says, "leave me alone. I got to 92, if the lord is willing I will see 93." Dawn Feldthouse  Background. He is a WWII Tuskegee Airmen. In order to survive, he had to be pretty damn independent. Hope that helps.

Photo of Dawn Feldthouse
Team

Thank you for the follow-up information, Chris Ashford . Now I have a better sense of how your grandfather feels about using a cane.

Photo of Joy_Chokchai
Team

Hello Rodney and Team!

You guys did such an awesome job with prototyping this! I can see all the hard work put in :)
Thanks for sharing the last three attachments. I think that it would be great to have an option for just the different attachments for the bottom, like in a three pack and also offer a a fully modifiable cane, with all three types of attachments. I think giving your consumers a choice will allow them to try and see which product(s) they like better. Good luck!!!

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you, Joy. I really hope that the refinement pop ups we had helped you as much as it did for us :)

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Rodney Lobo @Dawn Feldthouse nice to see your team idea posted. I am wondering if you have checked Zandri Kuun ideas (in particular the second one)https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fall-prevention/ideas/mobility-aid-hacking-workshops
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fall-prevention/ideas/canes-against-stigma

You might also want to check this post: https://www.techenhancedlife.com/explorers/best-lighted-cane and maybe contact the group running this website / community.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Team.
The Tech Enhanced Life website has posts about canes that are very informative. Their older adult group has reviewed canes and they have also posted about what they want in canes. Some of them want canes to be multifunctional. Check out the website. It is set up as a resource for older adults, their family members and also for research for those working on developing devices for older adult users.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Hi again,

you might also check this idea by Nathan: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fall-prevention/ideas/canestand
I thought the insight about the points of transition is an important one.

Photo of Khuyen Bui Gia
Team

Hi Rodney Lobo  and team, the prototype t made me think of this product, which is already in the market. I wonder if that gives you thoughts on your idea http://www.1800wheelchair.com/product/sky-med-self-standing-designer-bling-cane/?gclid=CjwKEAjwwcjGBRDj-P7TwcinyBkSJADymblTuV6I0K8tzN5e-61wEX2W-ZY93h-2NtR_u8xQlkC8ZhoCzcnw_wcB

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Khuyen. I have seen people using this kind of cane before. Due to the variety in their colours, I think people like to use them because they make them look different fro the regular grey coloured canes.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Rodney Lobo will your team consider having different colors?

Looking at the video of the folding cane (by the way I love the fact that you prototyped and did a video!) I wondered how secure the cane was as it currently seems very "fragile". It'd be great if you can get feedback on how people perceive the canes. I know you're going Thursday to the Senior community center but you might also go and ask students at NYU just to get a general perception... Make sure to share with us the feedback.
I also recommend reaching out to the Tech Enhanced Life Community that Bettina Fliegel found. They might be able to provide a lot of useful feedback.
Last, on the update with the sensors, I was wondering if the issue of falling with a cane was something that emerged a lot from your research. In terms of the technology, you might find this example inspiring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=319&v=3etHWJL2izs

Again great job on the prototyping updates and the feedback from your visit to the Senior Center.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you Anne-Laure Fayard Yes, the prototypes was only to demonstrate the folding mechanism. But the cane will be sturdy. As for the colours, it is important to have a choice there as well, but due to some constraints, the prototypes cannot have different colours.
I also saw the video, It is really inspiring :)

Photo of Dawn Feldthouse
Team

Khuyen Bui Gia , Thank you for sharing the product link. While conducting user research, we see repeatedly that personalization of the assistive device is desirable to end users. We have ideated upon ways to address this social/emotional pain point that users of assistive devices experience.

Photo of Dawn Feldthouse
Team

Bettina Fliegel , Thank you for the excellent information.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi @Rodney Lobo and team

Thank you for all your hard work in this challenge and dedication.

All of the ideas posts are locked but the comments section is still open, so please feel free to look at other ideas and comment on them, seek feedback on your idea etc.

I know I have asked many ideators this question but I am asking again as some ideas pivoting in the challenge. Would you say your idea is Most Viable or Most Promising? How would the incentives associated with that Award (Most Viable/Most Promising)be helpful for you?

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Kate Rushton we are grateful for your feedback and encouragement throughout the challenge. My teammates and I will be looking and commenting on everyone's posts.

We had a discussion regarding the idea in a meeting today.

At its current stage, our idea and product is the Most Promising. This is because we still have to do testing and get user feedback before it is put on the market. Our current product is something that can be used with existing mobility devices, which makes our target market much larger than a new device would have. We know from our research that the elderly don't necessarily buy a new device just because it it is on the market, as they become attached to their existing device.

However, if we have a some more time to fully develop this into a minimally viable product, and do some user testing, it can definitely be the Most Viable. This is mainly because more and more people (primarily the baby boomer generation) have begin using (by self-prescribing) a cane to keep their balance while they are walking. The product will mainly target the newer users.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Rodney Lobo based on what I know of your project and how I've seen it evolved, especially in the last month or so, I think the incentives associated with the Most Promising Idea might be the most useful at this point: I can see the mix of mentorship, award money combined with IDEO Design services really helping you to push your idea forward.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

That is true, and so I mentioned that the idea in its current stage is the Most Promising :)
Our team would definitely benefit from the mentorship and help from IDEO design services.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Rodney,

It is great to see the new cane base and how your cane is adapting and taking shape. How did it feel using the flexible base cap compared to a standard cane?

We’re impressed! Over 40 comments?! We want to point out that not everyone will have time to read all the comments, so make sure you've included information that has helped shape or pivot your idea in the description of your idea above. Keep up the amazing collaboration!

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Kate,

One of the major issue with the old base we learn of while user testing is that the base feels hard and unnatural while it touches the ground.
When we as a team compared the two, the new flexible material feels much more comfortable to use. I a waiting to get feedback from others (those not in our team).
On this Thursday (May 25th), we are having a second refinement pop-up with Joy and Bettina Fliegel and we will test these iterations then.

I will add all the information from the comment section to the post. Thank you :)

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Thank you for the update, Rodney! I really like how you are updating your post because it really shows how you are iterating and responding to feedback. The videos are really clear and easy to understand.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you :)

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Rodney Lobo great updates! I love how your team has been iterating during this challenge, and during the last few weeks with the help of the OpenIDEO community - on the platform and offline during the OpenIDEO NYC refinement pop-ups. I also found super useful that you were able to get a first feedback from the senior from the community center and to see how they liked the idea of multiple "canes" or canes' bottoms, and how this was in fact supporting a practice many of them had. I really love the fact that some of them suggesting prices which shows how they are considering your prototypes as potential products! :-) You've been able to get so much feedback (from end users and experts) and use all opportunities to ask questions and test your idea, and refine it.
This is a long post but with rich and detailed updates that allow the readers to follow the process and understand the different changes.
It's great to see that you did a second round of iteration on the "smart component" too although I am still unsure what problem it really solves - based on your findings and feedback from seniors (in comparison to the bases. In particular, I'm not sure the cane falling is the right event to use for sending an alert. I recently saw an older person in a shop waiting in line. He put his cane on a wall and it slid and fell. What would happen in this case? Would it alert someone?
I would encourage to continue focusing on the bases and go to the senior center again to get their feedback on the bases. You can also maybe present them again the alert feature now that you have a better prototype and get their feedback.
Congrats on all your hard work and multiple iterations! Looking forward to the next steps.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Anne-Laure Fayard Thank you so much. You have been so helpful with the refinement workshops and feedback.

For the alert system: The smart switch is the one that ensures that there is no alert when the cane simply falls down (such as in the scenario you have mentioned). The smart switch will be designed in a way that it works only when the cane is being used.One of the thoughts on the switch is to have a combination of touch and temperature sensors. So when both are active (i.e., a person holding the cane, the heat from their hand), the cane will not give an alert.

Do you think that this is a little farfetched? Is it too confusing? Should we not use something like this as it makes thinsg complicated?

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Rodney Lobo thanks for the clarification. At this point it's still unclear to me how it works and also what needs it really serves (from the feedback you got, it did not seem the most important point for your senior users - at least that's what I understood). I think the only way to know is to prototype and then get people to use it and test it with different scenarios. It seems to me that your current product does not need it. However, if you can prototype and test with users, it's worth exploring.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Certainly, that makes the most sense. We will ask the seniors in the Weinberg center how they feel about this. We are going to test the third iteration in a few weeks.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Rodney and team,

Hope to see you on the refinement call this Friday at 9 am PST.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Rodney and team!

Welcome to the refinement phase. It is great to see how your idea is developing.

There are also a few ideas from previous OpenIDEO challenges that you might interest you.

All-Generation Friendly ATM (a finalist idea from our financial longevity challenge) -
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/top-ideas/all-generation-friendly-atm - has a really nicely formatted idea post with an interesting user journey and clear display of the prototyping

Go-between (a refinement idea from our food waste challenge) - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/food-waste/final-feedback/go-between-get-involved-and-let-s-reduce-food-waste - has a really interesting explanation of the development of the idea

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Kate,

Thank you. We recently went through a small refinement workshop with Joy and Bettina Fliegel 

We will post about it soon :)

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

It is great to see the video of the prototype! I like the way it is inspired by human anatomy and has a seamless action.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you! We are working on the first of the flexible prototype base right now :)

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Rodney, I am really looking forward to seeing the cane.

Photo of Adhish Patel
Team

Rodney Lobo , Dawn Feldthouse and team, Congratulations on making the refinement phase. I wanted to discuss few points and ideas that we encountered during our visit to the Senior Center.

An important observation from the visit is that a lot of seniors were interested in an all-terrain cane because of the 3D printed extension on the cane. There are few cases, in the photos and the videos where you see them point to that part of the cane. And because of that add-on, a lot of seniors were interested in buying the cane. Because of their repeated attention to the add-on, our team asked the seniors that would they be interested in buying the add-on for their current cane? Many seniors did agree on buying them. They also gave us a price bracket for them and how should we sell it. "It should be a pack of 3 add-ons for $5", that's what one user said. He also added that "The add-on should make the cane stand and balance itself without any support."

So team A New All-terrain Cane , would you be exploring this angle for your all-terrain cane (focusing just on the add-ons)? And because a lot of canes slip and fail is due to the fact that the rubber base wears off fast, by creating such an add-on you'll be preventing that from happening and in the process, you'll also create an all-terrain cane.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Adhish Patel Thank you :)
We are going to do a small refinement workshop along with Joy and Bettina on this friday. We will try to improve our design and try to make sure that the center of gravity of the cane doesn't shift, ensuring that the cane will not be a "bane" for the user.
We will also work on different kinds of bases using flexible 3D printing material (Thermoplastic Poly Urethane) to get a better grip

Photo of Adhish Patel
Team

That's great. Looking forward to seeing what ideas emerge from the workshop.

Photo of eldy wullur
Team

Hi Rodney,

The stick has long been known by the elderly.
Along with the development of the times, the rapid advancement in the field of technology then the refinement of the stick certainly makes it easier for the elderly to use it and doubling in its usefulness ..
Salute !!!!!

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Eldy. Thank you so much for encouraging us :)

Photo of eldy wullur
Team

You're welcome.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Congrats everyone on the idea moving into refinement!

I was discussing with Anne-Laure the possibility of doing a Refinement Workshop for NY based ideas in refinement - Joy 's idea, your idea and mine. Not sure if there are others. Will check.
We could create an Event on the OpenIDEO NYC Chapter page. Thoughts?

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you Bettina.

We would love to be apart of the workshop :) (as long as it does not coincide with our exams, as we are approaching the end of the semester at NYU in 2 weeks)

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Great! What works for your schedules? Check with your team. We can be in touch via email.
Tagging Anne-Laure Fayard so she is in the loop too.

Photo of Don
Team

Several elements sound like the Hurry Cane currently on the market. Even with improvements, you need to check for patents covering the shared fundamentals.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Don, thank you for the suggestion. We will make sure to look up the various patents :)

In fact, when we went the senior center, they expressed some concern regarding the similarities. But they also said that they did not like the hurry-cane very much.

Photo of Don
Team

I understand. I've seen some issues with the HurryCane when I considered it for my Mom. But ... patents, and the "game" that is played around them, have very little to do with user preference.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

That is very true, and our team has had experience with patenting something else (It did not go well for us). Thank you.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Anne-Laure Fayard  Bettina Fliegel  Kate Rushton Joanna Spoth    

On April 24th, we took the canes to the Weinberg Senior Center. Many elderly liked the prototypes, and were excited to test it. This came to us as a surprise that they liked the idea that they can have different cane bases in different environments.
They also criticized canes such as the Hurry-Cane because it did not help them balance properly (although they liked that it folded well). They agreed on the fact that they preferred that their canes stood on their own, rather than be placed leaning against other objects.
They also said that they would like it if the cane could help them balance their weight and make them easier to walk especially in uneven surfaces.
Here are some of the images and videos of the test:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPv8d4n8_9BhwVhed0F6u6XWxY49sI9N3zMJdiRp35mOFMzLhAn9ENSED6x0eL21w?key=MXR1b01jbDY1bDItVEM0VlMzYThmMW81Vlp5akVn

Dawn Feldthouse please help me add the comments that I have missed

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Thanks Rodney for the update. It's amazing that your team went to the senior center to get some feedback. The photos and videos show the participants really engaged. Your comment about about people liking having different cane bases made me think that it seems that it's a way to empower them by allowing them to make decisions. It'd be interesting to have one or two people trying your prototype for a longer time. Remember you mentioned yesterday an interesting comment about participants' gender and their preferences for canes vs. "shopping carts". It reminded me a comment by Bettina Fliegel 
PS: nice to see that Adhish Patel joined your team for the visit. :-)

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

It is awesome to see you sharing the ideas at the senior center! Great effort!
It would be nice as a next step to invite a few seniors to use the cane outside and inside, on different surfaces, testing the different bottoms.

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

This put a huge smile on my face, Rodney Lobo !! Incredible that you were able to go back to the senior center and so fun to see them interacting with your prototypes. I think it would be helpful if you updated the description of your idea with a list of the different types of canes you're looking to develop. The section that outlines the square/pointed/curved surfaces of the cane bottom is helpful - perhaps build it out or highlight it more. I'm a little unclear on how the alert/mobile phone piece works. Also curious if you have findings on which types of surfaces older adults have the most trouble with and whether they're typically using a cane when they encounter those surfaces.
Keep up the great work!!

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you Joanna :)
I will update the details of the working of the system with a video soon.
We will find out the most used surface when we visit the senior center the next time. But I am assuming that it is the streets, as they have to go out of their homes.

Photo of Carolina
Team

I like this idea because it improves the safety of the person without compromising freedom.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you Carolina. This is something we learnt from testing the cane prototypes

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Great update Rodney Lobo and team. Adding Bettina Fliegel as unfortunately she won't be able to join us for the DFA NYU Showcase. I'm really looking forward to reading the feedback you collect from your visit at the Senior Community Center. You might also want to use the Research Expo, Prototyping Fund Showcase and DFA NYU Showcase tomorrow and next week to collect some data. Make sure to take notes of people's reactions, questions and comments. This is feedback! :-) Moreover, think of one or two questions you have in mind and be ready to ask them.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Rodney, Dawn Feldthouse  and Team!
Wow! This is exciting. There has been so much progress with the prototypes. Great job.
When I saw the photo of the 3D printed cane feet my mind thought of soccer cleets. Did you look at those for inspiration? If not maybe look at them as well for a foot that would be useful for grass and maybe dirt paths?
Another thought. One issue that some older people have is getting up from sitting to standing, for transferring. They might need an assist - arm of chair, arm of a person. I have seen devices that attach to furniture and beds. I wonder if this cane might have a feature somewhere on the shaft, lower than the handle, that could be used to help one brace against and push up from? If the foot has enough traction with the floor maybe this would be stable enough? I have no idea if this is possible or safe but it popped into my head so thought I would share.

Looking forward to hearing about the feedback you get. Can you print a few more feet so when you visit the seniors they can handle them? I have a feeling they will find this process very cool!

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Rodney Lobo Dawn Feldthouse check Nesibo's idea: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fall-prevention/ideas/non-falling-cane I think there might be a way to combine your 2 ideas.

Photo of Lillian J Warner
Team

Hi Rodney :) Glad to see this idea up here! I like the comfortable/customizable handle aspect of your proposal. Do you have a picture of what that looks like (only asking because when I saw your prototype at the DFA showcase, the visual of the material really stuck with me)? How are you creating the shock-reduction part of the cane (what kind of materials?)? I like the laser component as well. How do you imagine the laser guiding the user?

RE: your team's questions--I wonder if any ergonomic studies are out there on cane comfort? or materials that are most conducive to your product's goals?

No need to answer all these questions on this comments thread--I'm just thinking out loud. Looking forward to seeing how this product develops.

Photo of Dawn Feldthouse
Team

Thank you for the feedback and the thoughtful questions, Lillian. We will continue to review the literature in hopes of answering our questions.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Lillian. Thank you :)
We are still working on the shock reduction for the cane. I do not have the prototype from the critique, because I have removed the components to use it on something else.

Regarding the ergonomic part of the handle, we can do a mini RULA (http://www.rula.co.uk/) assessment. I have some experience in human factors usage in engineering and product design, and this is one of the most used techniques.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Rodney and team!

Great video! I like the way you are thinking of all aspects of the cane and different scenarios e.g. NY Subway.

I would be interested in the perspective of Khuyen Bui Gia and Lillian J Warner on this idea.

Photo of Lillian J Warner
Team

Thank you for tagging, Kate!

Photo of Dawn Feldthouse
Team

Thank you for connecting us with thoughtful community members, Kate. We really appreciate it.