(TRFW News) Meet the 15-year-old inventor, Kenneth Shinozuka, a bright kid who invented an app for patients with Alzheimer's disease thus helping keep thousands safe worldwide! His reason leading up to this invention is heartwarming, eye opening, and simply brilliant.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, approximately 5 million people in the world are living with the disease, making it the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Around half million people die from Alzheimer’s each year, and out of those numbers, every 1 in 3 seniors die from that or other forms of dementia. (1) With these statistics and having a first hand witness with his grandfather, Kenneth aspires to change that.
A concerned teen with a brilliant idea develops app for patients with Alzheimer's disease
A native from New York City, Kenneth draws from his personal experience when his grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. When he discovered his grandfather wandering throughout the night, he became concerned. As the disease progressed, so did the wandering. This is an experience that could change the lives of many. “I don’t think I will ever forget my shock at seeing Grandfather in his pajamas, accompanied by a policeman who found him wandering on a nearby freeway in the middle of the night,” Kenneth says. (2)
In August 2014, Kenneth participated in the Scientific American Science in Action Award for his invention of a wearable sensor for Alzheimer’s patients and he won $50,000. The prize was a part of the Google Science Fair, which recognizes teens coming up with an invention that provides practical solutions related to environmental, health, or resource challenges. (2,3)
How does the wearable sensor work?
The wearable sensor that Kenneth invented is a small device, including a sensor and circuit, which could be attached to the foot or sock that reacts to pressure. Whenever an Alzheimer patient begins to wander, the steps taken are signaled to the caregiver through an app on their smartphone. (4,5)
The prototypes he used were tested on his grandfather every single night over the course of 6 months to measure response speed, ease of use, and durability. His results were astonishing! (5)
He explains, “There were no false alarms issued when he did not leave the bed. The prototypes were found to be easy to use and durable, surviving the 6-month nightly usage. During the trial, my grandfather suffered no accidents at night, and my aunt was able to sleep much better.” (5)
Relieving the burden of caregivers
The goal of this app for patients with Alzheimer's disease is to ensure Alzheimer patients remain safe, and help caregivers to remain as stress free as possible. “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,” says Kenneth. (4)
As a first hand witness in his family, he says, “I will never forget how deeply moved my entire family was when they witnessed my sensor detecting Grandfather’s wandering. At that moment, I was struck by the power of technology to change lives. I am now even more motivated to pursue my passion for technological innovations that solve health care problems facing our increasingly aging society.” (5)
It’s amazing how clever young children can be these days. Kenneth’s brilliant invention helped to protect his grandpa and has the potential to change many more lives!
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