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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.

22 comments

Join the conversation:

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Spam
Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Lucie

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

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Lucie Richter 

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?

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Lucie,

We are half-way through the refinement phase and I can’t wait to see continued updates on your idea. More information can be found in the refinement toolkit which can be found at the top of the refinement phase page.

It would be helpful if you could mention how your solution fits in the market in the ‘full description’ section of your post. Who are your competitors and how is your idea unique?

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me, my email address is krushton@ideo.com

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

Spam
Photo of Mariah Burton Nelson
Team

Hi Lucie,

I'm intrigued. Kudos on all your progress thus far.

My comment pertains to a 2.0 version of this. I'm imagining having this functionality integrated into a walker, so it would always be available for those who use a walker. As for emergency use vs daily use, it would only be valuable in emergencies (non-fracture falls) if it's nearby, since we can't expect a person in that position to be able to crawl or scoot around very well. So if, like the ironing board mentioned, it can be folded up and put away, it should not be TOO far away from the person at risk of falling. Hence my idea to (someday) create a combination walker/Upsta. Just a thought. I do think you're onto something, and as an active 61-year-old with chronically sore knees, I can envision needing such a thing at some point in the future. I imagine potentially using it simply to get down and up from the floor when doing that deliberately. So I wish you much success!

Spam
Photo of Susan Jackewicz
Team

Hi Lucie,
Great video showing how it folds. Is the black strap on the backside near the top intended as a sort of hand strap to use when carrying it? I wonder if it might make sense to design an ancillary hook, so it can be stored in a dedicated, easily accessible place when not in use, like a hairdryer or ironing board...whether in an institutional setting or in the home?

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Lucie. This looks like a great idea for older adults to use at home or outside. I like that it folds up and is portable. How much does it weigh? Can you share any videos of people using the product?

(I have this memory of learning how to get up from a fall in ski school, using the poles to brace and push against. It reminded me of that when I first read it.)

Spam
Photo of Lucie Richter
Team

Bettina,
I wish I could tell you exactly. We are aiming for the 3 to 5 lbs range. The lighter the better. However, lighter materials are more pricey and we still need to figure out if the lighter weight will result in an acceptable price point.

We have videos but for internal use. Forgot to get the right clearance to use publicly. One thing that struck us about every person that tried out Upstå: the big smiles on their faces! Getting up is that easy with Upstå and people feel very empowered and accomplished.

Love the analogy of learning how to get up from a fall in ski school! Thanks for sharing.

Do you happen to have contacts in the durable medical equipment space? We'd love to connect with people and organizations that want to partner up.

Best,
Lucie

Spam
Photo of Avery Soh
Team

I love this idea and I think it's excellent for the elderly!
Speaking of lightweight materials, have you considered bamboo perhaps?
I'm not an expert in the field, but I do know that bamboo is relatively sturdy, and lightweight, and the best thing is that it's also green and environmentally-friendly.

It could be worth considering eco-materials (eg recycled materials), which are not only less expensive but also more sustainable too. Cheers, and good luck with the project!

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Lucie. I don't have contacts with anyone working with med equipment. Will keep my ears open though!
I shared Upsta with 2 seniors, both in their 80's. I showed them the post/visuals. They liked the idea. Here are some questions and feedback.
1) "What does it look like closed?" (I read in a comment that you plan that it will fold up for easy storage.)
2) "If it folds can it turn into a cane, could it separate to use as a cane? Having more than one function is a nice idea." - from one of the two seniors.
3) "Can a person with limited capabilities fold and close it?"
4) "It looks like someone might trip on the legs as they get up." - from one of the two seniors.
They both wanted to see someone in action using it.

Spam
Photo of Lucie Richter
Team

Oh, I love the idea of using bamboo...we'll look into that. Thank you!

Spam
Photo of Lucie Richter
Team

We are working on a video. Thanks for the great input!

Spam
Photo of eldy wullur
Team

Hello Lucie,

Something very exciting, when we think and find a way out, how the elderly can overcome their dependence.
And the solution you give deserves a thumbs up.

Spam
Photo of Susan Jackewicz
Team

Lucie, great added graphics! They're very helpful to visualize how the device can be utilized. Having a video, including showing where people might pause then continue their movements, will also help individuals and institutions imagine using it. Will look forward to seeing a video when it's available!

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Lucie!

Is Upsta a device for everyday use? Is just for indoor use or also outdoors as well?

Spam
Photo of Lucie Richter
Team

Kate, Right now we'd like to think of it as a device for indoors as well as outdoors. Ideally on the go as well. We still have to figure our the engineering of the joint and the materials to make it ultra light weight. We are visiting a retirement community tomorrow and starting conversations about the use case there.

Regarding your family in the UK, where are they located? I'll be in Wales in the last week of July and if they are somewhere on the way between London and Cardiff, I could stop by :)

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Lucie!

Thank you for posting about Upstå!

Would you want Upstå to be considered as a 'most viable' or 'most promising' idea - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fall-prevention?
What has the response been like from companies like Spring Chicken ?

I have shown this post to a family member who has had a bad fall and struggles to pick things up and get off the ground. Her questions was, "what are the dimensions of Upsta? How much space does Upsta occupy?"

I am wondering if Laura Pugliese Betsy Altheimer Lynette Evans and Mariah Burton Nelson might have some feedback on Upsta.

Spam
Photo of Lucie Richter
Team

Kate,
Thanks for your input! It's my first time on Open IDEO and I have to admit, I didn't see all these wonderful comments until now.

We'd love to be featured as 'most viable' and 'most promising' idea. Thank you!
Spring Chicken is a fantastic site! We didn't know about them. So grateful for what we are learning through this fantastic community here.

Your family member hit the nail on the head. The footprint is something we are working on. It has to have a certain size to work for people of varying hights, yet our goal is for the device to fold and be easily storable when not in use. We are currently building a super solid frame to gather human factors data from real users who can put their full weight on this prototype (welded, bent tubes etc). Would your family member be interested in giving Upstå a try? We are in the Bay Area and in June in NYC. Let me know!

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Lucie,

My family member would love to try it. Unfortunately, they are based in a small town in the UK.

Spam
Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

Hey Lucie,
Kate Rushton  mentioned your idea to me considering the similar look: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fall-prevention/ideas/non-falling-cane/comments#comments-section

If I understand it right, this device is stable right? Wonder if we can combine our ideas and make something that is an alternative to the cane, that people would prefer to use outdoors and at all times, while getting locked at this position in case of need to climb up or down. How would you feel about teaming up to connect these ideas?

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Nesibo, Lucie's product is market ready. I am just wondering if her product could spark some inspiration for one of your ideas.

Spam
Photo of Nesibe İrem Erdem
Team

Ah ok then i thought it was in the evolving process.

Spam
Photo of Lucie Richter
Team

Thanks, Nesibo! Appreciate you reaching out!