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Fitness Belay (a support system that empowers!)

A fitness-assistive wearable that's used during a home-workout and prevents a fall in case of lost balance. Inspired by rockclimbing belays

Photo of Samantak Ray
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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 was designed by the OpenIDEO Atlanta Chapter! We were inspired by solutions that work in spaces away from fall prevention, home-fitness and rehabilitative/preventive devices. Rock-climbers also worry about falls, in fact a fall for them can mean serious physical injury or even be fatal. So can we take the belay gear that works for them when engaged in climbing and redesign it for at home fitness so that fall-prone individuals can feel safer and more confident in a physical workout.

The problem is the need for physical activity for fallen individuals. However their fear of falling can make them more prone to a mistake while engaged in physical activity.

We asked how can we reinstall confidence for them while performing a workout and prevent the sever impact of the fall, in case it occurs.

A redesigned belay system could be installed in the elderly individual's home. Suspended from their ceilings it could be attached to a comfortable harness which the user would wear during the workout. The harness would suspend the user in case of a fall.

Additionally the user could perform workout routines custom to the capabilities of the belay harness, seeing as a spring loaded system could also effectively offset a user's weight.
This also could reduce the stigma that fall-prone individuals have against preventative equipment that requires the user to wear it constantly. The harness is used to maintain confidence during the workout alone. Consequently it builds greater mental strength, physical capability and confidence when unstrapped and going about daily life.

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

We could experiment with inviting volunteers to a rock climbing facility. (Many OpenIDEO members ATL are members of a rock-climbing gym). Going through a simple physical routine and conducting a survey after could inform us of what were the levels of faith users had in the system and their perceived pros and cons to using such a system if redesigned for their home.

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • An OpenIDEO Outpost or Chapter

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a design researcher. I dive deep into conducting usability studies for in-development products and prototyping (augmented reality specialist). I'm also a design-thinking educator and conduct workshops in the Atlanta community. I'm also a Snapchat Storyteller! www.linkedin.com/in/samantakray

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