Parkinson's Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Globally, over 10 million people are living with this condition, and this number continues to grow exponentially. In India, it affects over 7 lakh people. Despite the relatively lower cost of treatment in India compared to developed nations, many patients still struggle to afford it.
The primary goal of our project was to create an assistive device that could enhance mobility for individuals living with Parkinson's. The project was sponsored by Digital Impact Square (A unit of TCS foundation) on behalf of Lifespark Technologies. My role in this project was to conduct user research and design a product that functioned effectively and offered an improved user experience by combining aesthetics with safety and comfort.
During the research phase, surveys and interviews with individuals with Parkinson's helped me to understand their daily challenges and the solutions they use to manage their symptoms. The research findings validated our initial hypothesis, highlighting that a significant number of individuals with Parkinson's encounter mobility challenges, frequently associated with issues such as freezing of gait, balance, and falls. All these symptoms start slowly and worsen over time, making walking difficult. To address this, we explored various strategies to improve walking.
In the final phase, I focused on developing a wearable device based on sensory cueing as I began exploring ideas. To create an early-stage prototype, I utilized 3D modeling software to assess the feasibility of the concept. Subsequently, 3D printing these models gave me a clearer perspective on manufacturing considerations. After that, We initiated clinical trials involving individuals with Parkinson's whom we had previously interviewed. These trials yielded invaluable insights into user's challenges during product application. These insights were crucial for refining our design and resolving issues to create a final product offering a superior user experience.