The adage “Necessity is the mother of invention” can definitely be applied to 15-year-old New Yorker Kenneth Shinozuka, who created a device to ensure his family can keep track of his beloved grandfather. While caring for his grandfather, who is afflicted with Alzheimer's, Kenneth noticed the stress under which his family lived whenever he wandered out of bed at night and injured himself. This inspired the 15-year-old to invent a low-cost wearable sensor technology with real-time reliable detection whenever his grandfather wandered.
Kenneth's project earned him a spot as one of Google (News - Alert)'s 18 Global Science Fair finalists for addressing a very serious problem for an increasing number of Alzheimer patients around the world.
According to the research Kenneth provided along with his invention, he revealed a whopping 65 percent of out of the 5.2 million Alzheimer's patients in the United States wander. This of course included his grandfather, where his device detected 100 percent of the 437 known cases of his wandering in a six-month trial period. With results like that, no one can argue the effectiveness of this new ingenious invention.
Kenneth used a sensor that is worn on the foot of the patient before they go to bed, and when they stand up it immediately detects the pressure caused by the weight of the body and triggers an audible alarm wirelessly to smartphones that have been programmed to receive the signal.
He used three technologies and combined them together in a product that can easily be applied by caregivers and family members. Using an ultra-thin film sensor that is comfortable to wear, a coin-sized wireless circuit enabled by cutting-edge Bluetooth Low Energy, and applications that transform Smartphones into caregivers’ monitors, he created a low-cost and effective solution to a very real problem.
On his bio, Kenneth writes that the invention bug caught him very early on, and when he was six years old he invented a Smart Bathroom that sends a buzz alert to the wristwatch of children when their elderly parent fell down in the bathroom, followed by a Smart Medicine Box (News - Alert) that emits a sound and flashing light to remind patients to take the right medicine at the right time. Both inventions were rewarded with first place prizes at local science/invention competitions, which as he says has been responsible for continuing to spark his interest in technology.
If he wins the Google Science Fair finals in September, he will get a 10 day trip to the Galapagos Islands, a visit to the Virgin Galactic Spaceport, and a $50,000 scholarship.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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