I designed an app for seniors who wish to enjoy the process of preventing muscle atrophy. The app matches a senior with a pet of a similar lifestyle so the two can support each other through reminders and rewards.
Worked with Peter J. Snyder, Chief Research Officer of Lifespan Hospital System, Providence, RI.
Role: User Interface Designer, and Industrial Designer
Older Adults, ages 50+ but can be used by anyone.
Customer Development, Hand Rendering, Visual Composition, 3-D Modeling, Wire-framing
Feb 2016 - May 2016
Sarcopenia, the age-related muscle weakness, dramatically increases the risk of falling and spend in health cost. It affects around 30% of individuals over 60 and more than 50% of those over 80 years old in the US. Current health services that help build better habits tend to be pricey and not focused on the aging population.
Raderie gathers health information and matches the senior with a dog. The dog takes care of the senior, for example, by encouraging the senior to 'take it out on a walk' so they can both reach their desired number of steps per day.
The dog converses with the senior through a messaging platform in the app. The app combines the dog's dialogue with years of life outcomes research to design activities that allows both to boost each other's personal development.
A group of four designers including me, started off by gathered everyday things to transform a group mate into an older adult. He performed some daily tasks such as walking down the stairs, cooking, and more while I mapped out his journey. While he performed these tasks, I noticed he got tired and grumpy often. This pushed me to look into the effects of natural muscle atrophy on emotional health.
Age-related loss of muscle and strength prevents seniors from performing the most basic tasks of daily living, and greatly increases their risk of accidents. This syndrome can reduce a senior's physical stamina, thus self-confidence.
After learning about Sarcopenia, I started my project focusing on the frustrations that come with muscle weakness in the kitchen - a space that is often occupied by seniors who love to cook for themselves. Through research, I came across the benefits of resistant training in muscle health, and happiness. R-cubed, my initial solution, is a smart resistant band that trains the senior to stay active by:
Reminding: Vibrates to grab the senior's attention
Rewarding: Records short-term progress
During this journey, I visited several independent and assisted living homes in Rhode Island. I tested my R-cubed prototype with many seniors and learned that simply recording progress isn't a strong enough incentive, and even mild resistant training could exacerbate joint pain.
I entered R-cubed in the TechsAge Competition with this video and realized I need to improve on the credibility of the product. The product didn't adapt well to many seniors' lifestyle and most of them associated it with tedious work.
Feeling constant motivation to stay active is key to preventing loss of self-confidence, and value. Inspired by the habit loop that was discovered by MIT researchers, I created Raderie - an app that offers companionship to help seniors form good habits.
The final result is an app that blends well into a senior's lifestyle and restores positive aging. With a dog to take care of, the senior will feel needed. The bond that the senior creates with his/her pet is able help the senior produce good habits, improve coordination, and enhance the quality of his/her life.