The Smart Cane Project: Integrating Screen Interfaces and Physiological Sensors into Mobility Devices

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Ian GonsherAdriana SalazarShrey MehtaSamantha ShulmanNicholas GaitanisArshiya KhoslaDenise Danielle TamesisJillian Sun

Abstract: Integrating sensors and screen interfaces directly into mobility devices offers individuals living with mobility issues, and medical providers, the opportunity to monitor health data and offer patient-specific therapeutic feedback in real time. This paper presents a series of prototypes that were developed in order to assess how these features can be optimally integrated into common mobility devices such as the walking cane. The early prototypes explored strategies for mounting a smartphone to a cane, as a low-cost strategy for improving mobility and reducing isolation by making use of smartphone apps for wayfinding, gait tracking, and video-conferencing. The later prototypes focused on the non-invasive integration of physiological sensors, in particular a pulse oximeter, to provide instantaneous physiological data to both the user and healthcare providers. Through a process of prototyping and critique, and integrating feedback from users, we developed an iterative series of designs that explore new strategies for affordable and easily accessible assistive technology. We conclude with a discussion of how these design strategies might be further developed and combined in order to provide more opportunities for seniors living with mobility issues to age in place.

Keywords: Assistive Technology, Aging in Place, Human Centered Design, Mobility, Physiological Data, Biofeedback

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1004383

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