University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Design Expo
Best Overall Design Project
people with parkinson's disease experience poor posture, which negatively impacts their quality of life by exacerbating existing challenges.
less likely to fall
our design group of five mechanical and bio engineers decided that we wanted to create a product to improve the quality of life for people with parkinson's.
we began with customer discovery, surveying people with parkinson's to understand what their biggest daily challenges are.
we found that trouble with legs and hand coordination were the biggest challenges for those surveyed, however, we believed that we could innovate most freely and successfully with our given time and resources to improve posture and trouble with legs.
we listed our potential users, stakeholders, and experts in our pursuit of a solution, and began reaching out to them all to gain a better understanding of the issues and possibilities.
after speaking to a few OTs and PTs, we learned that these issues are innately linked, that poor posture exacerbates problems with legs, and that people with parkinson's can self correct posture when reminded. we sticky note ideated how to approach correcting bad posture and sticky feet.
we reached out to fit4boxing boxing gym that had a specialized "rock steady" course for improving the coordination and strength of people with parkinson's, and began visiting weekly to interact with our future users, pursue human centered design, and iterate prototypes based upon user feedback.
detect and alert poor posture
simple to use
long term use
reinforce good posture
improve confidence, independence, safety, and quality of life
through rapid prototyping with little bits and gym visits, we landed on a tactile feedback brace system to support good posture and alert poor posture
caretakers & trainers
people with parkinson's
struggled with posture
could correct posture
fit4boxing visits for testing and feedback
design iterations user-tested
"putting it on was actually pretty easy"
"the vibration makes you straighten right up"
"a little stride for these guys is a really big deal"
"when can we buy one for ourselves?"
-rock steady pittsburgh community members
won "best overall design" at the fall 2017 swanson school of engineering design expo