Kenneth Shinozuka is only15-years-old, but he already has a goal in life: He aims to discover a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. Until that day comes, it seems that Shinozuka spends his time trying to find ways to make things just a little easier for patients with Alzheimer’s as well as those who take care of them.
Specifically, Shinozuka invented a pressure sensor that is worn with a sock (or on the bottom of the foot) and can detect an increase in pressure. This then wirelessly sends an alert to a caregiver or family member’s smartphone.
The ultimate goal of the device is to alert the caregiver if the patient wanders. NBC News points out an alarming statistic from the Alzheimer’s Association which says “of the estimated five million Americans with the disease, about 60 percent of them wander — and often become dangerously lost — as a result.”
Shinozuka came up with the idea for his device, called “Safe Wander,” because his own grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and often wandered out of bed. Shinozuka first used the device on his grandfather for 6 months and it detected each dangerous moment that he wandered out of bed in the middle of the night– all 437 times.
“I hope that my device will ultimately reach out to the tens of millions of wandering patients around the world and also relieve the burdens on their caregivers,” Shinozuka said.
Most impressive of all, Shinozuka came up with the idea and built the device from scratch. He’s currently testing it out in willing facilities. Many of the caretakers who try the device are delighted with the Safe Wander and say its much less obnoxious than the loud alarms used in most facilities.
“I’d like to solve some of the mysteries of the brain, and invent tools to ultimately, I think, cure Alzheimer’s and other mental conditions that our aging population suffers from,” says Shinozuka.