2014-08-13

Co.Exist

This Kid Designed A Wearable Health Device For His Grandfather With Alzheimer's

15-year-old Kenneth Shinozuka has created a sensor that sets off an alert when his grandfather gets out of bed.

People with Alzheimer’s have a tendency to wander. Left alone for a while, they may get up and walk around aimlessly, creating headaches for caregivers who have to keep up with them.

Kenneth Shinozuka saw how his grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s, would wander and how his aunt would struggle to cope. "About two years ago, my grandfather started wandering out of bed, which caused a lot of accidents," he says. "My aunt had to stay awake all night to keep an eye on him and, even then, often failed to catch him leaving the bed."

Shinozuka, who is 15 years old, came up with something to help: A thin pressure-sensor that attaches to the heel and alerts his aunt when his grandfather gets out of bed.

The flexible film contains a wireless circuit about the size of a quarter. Via Bluetooth, it connects with a smartphone app (which Shinozuka also designed), setting off a sound. See more in the video here:

"My aunt has been testing the device on my grandfather for eight months. So far, it's had a 100% success rate," Shinozuka says. "It's definitely helped her. She's felt less fatigued during the day, because she's not having to wake up every 30 minutes at night to check on my grandfather."

Shinozuka, who lives in the Bronx, is currently staying in Southern California with his grandfather. He plans to beta test the device at three residential care homes, and, after that, bring a product to market.

The project recently won first prize at the $50,000 Scientific American Science in Action Award, which is part of the Google Science Fair.

It's just a shame Shinozuka's grandfather can't appreciate his achievements, though his aunt is definitely happier.

[Photo: JeepFoto via Shutterstock]

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10 Comments

  • Bill DeLay

    Kenneth- I own a professional Sales Rep Agency in Minneapolis. I would very much like to talk with you about forging a possible relationship whereby our firm would sell your products on a commission basis. I'm interested in your technologies and how you could extend this for the use you describe and for other uses.

    Bill DeLay Parallel Sales Minneapolis MN. billd@parallelsales.com

  • Cindy Doering Lotzer

    Hi. I am the activity director at an assisted living and memory care facility. WE WOULD LOVE TO BETA TEST YOUR PRODUCT. We are in Wisconsin. We have many people that this would help. Cindy Lotzer cindy.lotzer@yahoo.com

  • excellent job Kenneth. I hope other youngsters will also feel confident of sharing gadgets that they have made, or plan to make to help their near and dear ones suffering from different debilitating diseases ...Stay blessed!

  • Rodney Swales

    good job Kenneth, while your grandfather may not be able to say it,I know and believe he does understand what you have done for him. Know and believe he loves you for it .

  • nluongo73

    Thank you! Kudos to Kenneth for his creativity and genius! My mom has AD. This sensor will help caregivers and facilities that may need a way to monitor patients.

  • Lucy Watkins

    WOW KID, YOUR GOING TO MAKE MILLIONS..... THANKS TO YOU HELPING ALL THE CAREGIVERS OUT THERE GET REST FOR THEMSELVES AND NOT WORRY ABOUT THEIR PATIENT.. GOOD JOB!