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Upstå - empowering everyone to access the floor with confidence

Upstå empowers people with physical impairment to safely reach the ground and get up again with confidence and in style.

Photo of Lucie Richter
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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?

Upstå is for people with minor physical impairment who are independent but less fluid when it comes to lowering themselves to the ground and getting up again. The device encourages users to keep using muscle groups and stay stronger by not avoiding the floor. Upstå invites people to get up from the ground in a safe way because the spine is stacked correctly. It also supports the intermediary positions where people naturally take pauses.

Today there are many solutions that help older adults up from the ground. Many are passive, operated by caregivers like patient lifts and quite a humiliating experience. A research participant pointed out to us that she felt like a "piece of meat" and how it was rather "humiliating". Upstå provides a dignifying experience that relies on the older adult's own strength and independence. Since the force is pushing down rather than pulling up, it leverages muscle groups that remain strong longer. Also, Upstå supports the desire to get down to the ground: to play with grandkids, do physical therapy exercises or be outside and garden like before. Upstå gives back freedom. It's empowering, confidence instilling and elegant. 

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

We've prototyped a range of forms and had over 20 people with varying degrees of physical impairment try out Upstå. Their feedback has been tremendously positive. With their help we've settled on this current form. It's been incredibly rewarding to witness the smiles people have on their faces when they reach the ground and then come up again by themselves all independently!

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

We are looking for input whether we should continue with this B2C or B2B2C version of the product, or if we should focus on B2B, an institutional version that provides older adults in independent living facilities a more dignifying way to get off the ground when they fall without an injury. It helps reduce cost by reducing 911 calls, protects workers/caregivers from back injuries/lifting and enables older adults to possibly help each other, rather than involving a caregiver.

How long has your idea existed?

  • Over 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • A student collaboration

Tell us about your work experience:

Lucie Richter: design research and strategy, healthcare innovation consulting Larry Shubert: engineer and product designer Maiya Jensen: student at California College of the Arts, now industrial designer at New Deal Design Nicholas Steigmann: student at CCA, design intern at Element Science

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

As we age we develop minor physical impairments that make it difficult to get down to the ground for activities such as gardening, playing with young kids or doing floor exercises. We stop using these muscle groups and start loosing them. Upstå empowers everyone to reclaim the ground with confidence. Safely and in style, older adults can lower themselves down and get up again, all independently.

How does your idea demonstrate our Criteria of Affordability?

We are currently exploring 2 directions for Upstå. B2C: We need to strike the right balance between affordability and ultralight materials to make it portable. B2B2C: We are working with an independent living facility to figure out if this is more of a B2B2C case. Could they purchase 1-2 for a 40 bed residence and offer it up for 2 use cases: (1) after a fall to avoid 911 lift calls, and (2) on call for activities when residents want to reach the floor for activities

How does your idea demonstrate or plan to demonstrate scalability?

Our team has experience in scaling products through commercial manufacturing and working through existing channels. Our goal is to form a strategic partnership with a durable medical equipment company or a brand that wants to freshen up their product portfolio.

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

We are currently building a super sturdy device that will allow people to try our Upstå. We are gearing up for another round of qualitative feedback and prototype input from the target group. Also, we are working with an independent living + assisted living facility to try the prototype for a period of time and measure how it is impacting their 911 Lift Calls, their caregiver's happiness (in assisted, they are the ones lifting people after a fall) and how residents will utilize the prototype.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

We continue with our piloting efforts and fundraising. If we can secure the funds ($250-500K) we will move into engineering for the B2C product. If not, we'll continue with the B2B product for assisted and independent living with the goal to create a market amongst the target population. If the pull is there, we'll then move towards B2C or B2B2C, i.e. through insurances and other payors.


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Photo of An Old Friend

Hi Lucie

Great idea, I'm really looking forward to see where this is going in the future! :)

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