CONNECT : Internet of Things Walker Design for Dementia (2019)


3d product / ux / ui design 

PATENTS
kr 10-2020-0011676

DESIGN RIGHTS
kr 30-2020-0004192

DURATION
Mar 2019 – Dec 2019 (9mos.)

AWARDS

The Iron A’ Design Awards (2020)
Differently Abled and Seniors' Assistance Design


Spark Design Awards Finalist (2019)
Health Design


ROLE

Team Leader, Design Research, UX/UI Design, Wireframing, 3D Product design/rendering
The CONNECT walker provides empowerment and independence for people living with early-stage dementia, with their associated memory recall challenges. CONNECT, an IoT (Internet of Things) enabled walker, supports navigation through an easy-to-use sister application, by adopting an interdisciplinary approach that includes industrial and interaction designers and a clinical physiologist.







Key Idea 


01. Way-Finding Service


The holistic design (product-walker/seat, application) provides increased independence to empower the user to live self-sufficiently, continuing to enjoy life-long habits for longer. In this way, it addresses a core issue of challenges in navigation associated with memory loss.









02. Communication with Caregivers


Fulltime communication with loved-ones and care-providers through the simplified application it comes with. There is also an SOS call button.











03. Memory Recall 


Due to the effects of short-term memory loss, associated with Alzheimer’s, people with dementia often have difficulty remembering. The Diary function will help people to recall the memory and record anything they want to have on hand .






04. Simple & Large UI Design


Since our primary target user is over 65-year-old people living with early-stage dementia, we simplified the UI design and put larger typefaces so that the users can use the app by themselves easily.






Target 


The CONNECT design is targeted towards users living with dementia. Early-stage dementia affects the short-term episodic memory first. This provides challenges for a person’s sense of direction, navigation and mobility. The design interventions provide both an alternative to medication and is a means to empower and support through interventions sensitive to and appropriate for the practical and emotional needs of users. Specifically, CONNECT 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)
Also, we can see the potential for CONNECT to be used by any individual requiring navigation support and/or motor skill or ability assistance.

PHOTO BY SILVIAJANSEN/GETTY IMAGES







Research

Ethnographic & Interview Studies 


As part of a user-centered-design approach, and subsequent to a literature review and desk research, user studies in collaboration with community centers for the elderly within the Ulsan and Seoul areas of Korea were conducted.
We showed our IoT walker concept idea to people who work for a nursing house in Ulsan, South Korea, and asked about their thoughts.



Date: Apr 30, 2019
Place: Dosol Nursing Home, Ulsan, South Korea


KEY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Q1  Which assistant equipment do dementia patients prefer, between a walker and a cane?
A1  A walker. It is more convenient for the patient since it has a seat that people can rest on during their travel, and it has wheels to move around.

Q2  Would the walker make people feel disempowered?
A2   No, people at the age of 70-90 prefer to use equipment that assists their journey. It is no shame to use the walker for them, as usability is more important.

Q3  What are your thoughts about the IoT walker for Dementia?
A3  It would be for the early stages of dementia and for less physically disabled people as they have to go around by themselves.

Q4  What kind of dementia-related products would you want other than the walker?
A4  A product that would let caregivers know when dementia patients are going out of the house. A product that can automatically call 911 when they have accidents.




INSIGHTS
According to the interview with people who work for the nursing house, we were able to develop our concept. We decided to move towards a walker design rather than a cane and add some functions for emergencies. However, we need to be careful when we design certain functions, as those functions should not disempower people while they are using the product.










Wireframe















Final Design



STEP 1
TAKE SIMPLE QUIZZES BEFORE THE JOURNEY

Users have to provide their personal information, such as name, care-giver’s name, care-giver’s phone number, and address.











STEP 2
BLUETOOTH CONNECT WITH A WALKER













STEP 3
DECIDE WHETHER TO SHARE LOCATION HISTORY

Due to privacy and preference of living independently, users who are in the early-stage on dementia can choose whether to share their location history with a care-giver.








STEP 4
SET FAVORITE PLACES

Users save their favorite places on the app. After users save the places, these will be shown on the app's homepage.










STEP 5
START THE JOURNEY WITH THE CONNECT WALKER

Users start their journey with the CONNECT walker and the app. The app provides a navigation service with a simple UI design to help users utilize it without difficulties.










STEP 6
AUTO SAVED PICTURES OF YOUR JOURNEY

A front-facing camera on the walker takes pictures of the experience regularly to record on a diary of the app. It helps users recall their memory by seeing the pictures later when they get home.











STEP 7
USE THE AUTO-BREAK SYSTEM AND A STORAGE, AND TAKE A REST ON A SEAT













STEP 8
COMMUNICATE WITH A CAREGIVER, OR USING SOS FUNCTION DURING THE JOURNEY 

Users can communicate with their caregivers during the journey, whether for an urgent issue or simply to talk. The communication function ensures that the user doesn’t feel isolated. The users also could share the pictures of their journey with caregivers to enhance communication.

Just in case, the CONNECT walker also does have an SOS button on the handle. If the users suddenly don’t remember due to a lack of short-term episodic memories, the CONNECT app provides a call with the caregiver or a navigation function to home directly when they push the SOS button.














STEP 9
MAKE A NOTE ON THE PHOTOS AND RECALL THE MEMORY 

After they get home from the journey, the CONNECT provides photos of their journey of that day. The users can leave a note on each photo of what they remember, and look at the previous note that they left in the past.
This process helps users recall their memory and practice memorizing, also, it empowering them by triggering their memories



Benefit


1. Improved navigation for people living with early-stage dementia.


Sister application combined with forward-facing camera feature


2. Anytime communication with loved-ones/care-provides.


SOS call button and through simplified sister application.


3. Enhanced usability through auto-braking/sensor system.


Walker brake-release when handles in contact with hands.


4. Design aesthetic and form-factors depart from purely functional designs existing in the same market segment.