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Contribution

Empathik: Active ageing, Encourage the mobility of senior generation (Update in 20th of Aug)

The Empathik walking device is approach to increase senior’s social activities by designing the walking aid which transferred from supporting frame to flexible shopping trolley and challenges the conventional tubular walking frame.

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As a society we are all living longer and aspire to maintain an active and fulfilling life in our family homes. However,to prevent becoming detached from society we need better products that assist us in staying connected with our families and communities. This proposal aims to bridge this gap in the tubular walking frame sector, by supporting physical exercise in elderly citizens.

The project aims to encourage senior citizens get motivated with outdoor activities by improved their outdoor experience.

Empathik provided a product that can adopt people in different ages and conditions. With elderly get more access of the product yet, increase the mobility of the senior groups. By giving more agencies to the senior user, this product will be viable in enhancing their developmental abilities and independence through their usage.


Refinement stage Updated 19 of Aug

1. User testing

I’ve manage to carry the prototype to myfriend’s grandpa Leo (79) for user testing. Firstly, I didn’t explain theproject to him, but just simply showing him the model and ask him how he feelsabout it, how would him react with the model. It doesn’t take long for him tofigure out how to use the model in the way it should be.

Leo (79 years old) comes out with lot ofideas with using the model, He suggest that he like to do a lot of gardeningwhich this trolley could help him carry around the heavy tool to his back yard.On the other hand he could use this as a support when he feels dizzying on theday.

After I demonstrated the idea to him, he claims that the model is in the right weight that easy to carry around or put into transportation, the contemporary walking frame is just embarrass to carry around as well as heavy in weight.

Leo thinks the design is appealing to female user a lot, he said he could picture the lady’s in his Spanish club walking in one of them. Leo also mentions he is attracted by the design as well and will love to have one when he get older.

The user testing is really encouraged me to push further the ideas that is actually benefit to not only potential user but also the caregiver. I am graceful that people appreciate the idea and willing to share their idea and thought with me to help developed this project.


With the suggestions of end-user and virtual team members, here are the refine design ideas:

1. Attachable seat

Follow by Matthew Morre, the walking frame is used closely to seating, as the reason that senior tent to feel tired easily after stand, walking or just moving around.

From one of the end-user Mike Lewis said that “For older people moving around, some form of seat is vital. They often get very tired walking and occasionally need to rest; similarly, if they are waiting in a queue for any period of time”. It ensure that the design should incorporate seat within. Due to the design concept is the long life cycle and facilitate the need to the user while they aged, different situation could be applied. For examples, the 65 years Kim could simply use Empathik as her grocery cargo. On the other hand, 80 years old Gorge required a portable seat in case he can’t find a seat in the crowded community center.

The product will come with attachable equipment and different size of bag (not all of outing senior will required carry a lot of stuffs of groceries). The customer could purchase the plane model with standard bag first, after they could come back for other apparatus while they think they need it. Which is similar to contemporary walking frame purchase, the user could pick the application goes in their walker, such as basket (small, medium and large) or seats.

2. Customize baggage

Follow by Meena Kadri, suggest that the customized option will bring up the market interest for the future development. With their choices of customized baggage will help maintain the active usage for user, in turn of health ageing and longevity product life time.

3. GPS and Tracking device

Thanks to Dina Drubach delightful thought, I was worried in the first place that technology device might scare senior user.

Though think of myself ageing with knowing how to use smart phone and computer, that might not being that difficult for future seniors. Yet the tracking device or GPS is critical because I heard a lot of senior complain that they have to be watching the whole time make them felt uncomfortable since they transform from caregiver to dependency to others.

But I think as long as the device is delicate design and not over doing, senior will easily accept as a bonus function. And yes I believe there is urge need for tracking device for unexpected accident.

The tracking device could potentially activate while the walker is detached form the frame without braking or while the object central of gravity changed (for example:falling or tip over).

4. Bag internal compartments

Thanks for Matthew Morre sharing the his observation of senior living, yet the walking frame will certainly become part of senior and they not only carry themselves around but items that they can’t leave without. I believe a lot of people experience the moment that trying so hard to find something form the hand bag, same as senior, especially with poor eye-sight and sour arthritis finger. The container or bag with different compartment that could separate their belonging into department will help user successful find their item while the needed.

5. Wheel caster braking systems

The braking systems which haven’t being mention is comes with the mud-guard on the rear-wheel. The brake active while user press the handle pieces, on the other hand, the product will need a safety brake when user pause for rest in downhill or uphill area, in case the walker rolling away if user accident let go or with no free hand to hold on it.

6. Other user scenario

- With pets

- Beach walk

- Community gathering

- Daily grocery shopping

- Outing and browsing

- On and off public transport orpersonal vehicle

- Waiting in the queue

How might your idea scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

This product works for people who have mobility issue as well as senior. After display the project in the exhibition for people to interact with it, a lot of people is also comes out some great idea, such as baby stroller. There is certainly a lot of possibility in the product. The appeal drags a lot of attention from different demography.

How might you design an early experiment or prototype to further develop your idea?

This is my finial year design project, and I do find difficulty with some engineering as well as the safety issue. It’s hard to do it alone, so I would love to understand the feedback from end-user or potential customer
Would it be comfortable to use for senior?
Would it be worth to have addition seat for temporary rest?
How would a senior user interact with the product? How would young people with mobility problem think about it?
How would people use as shopping buggy? Average size of one shopping trip
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Team

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Matthew Moore

Role added on team:

"Hi Matthew, Thank you for sharing your idea, I would like to know more opportunities and potential to improve the future life style of senior. "

dina drubach

Role added on team:

"Hi Dina, I would love to have you as part of the virtual team. let's strive to design the better mobility aid for the future :)"

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