An affordable and discreet walking stick which recognises a user’s walking pattern and dynamically responds with highly effective haptic cues to overcome freezing episides.
Smart Stick Features
Detects freezing and triggers effective vibrational response
Automatically switches on when sensing pressure
Dynamically calibrates to user’s walking style
Goes to sleep if not used for 15 seconds
Captures GAIT data for analysis and condition management
Integrated Condition Management App
How the Smart Stick Works
The Smart Stick monitor’s walking patterns and gives a vibratory cue felt in the handle. The vibratory rhythm is there to concentrate on and prompt you to step forward coming out of the freezing episode. Suitable for all those seeking minor walking support.
Using the Smart Stick
- Pick the stick up and start walking with it. A red light will flash on every step to show the stick is in use,
- The Smart Stick will tune itself to your normal walking pattern, this will take about 15 steps and once calibrated it will remember your pattern.
- The stick will go to sleep if not used for more than 15 seconds (no light).
- Next time you walk with the stick it will switch on automatically and have your last walking memory.
- When you are experiencing festination/freezing/shaking steps, lean on the stick and push it down. A vibration rhythm will be generated in the handle (with the light flickering) and this will be felt by your hand. This is a cue/prompt reminding you to take a step forward and come out of the freezing episode.
- The vibration will go off as soon as you release the downward pressure and start walking again.
- When you use the stick and the red light keeps flashing it indicates a low battery level.
- Put the stick on charge as soon as practical. The light will do. a gradual pulse, indicating charging mode.
- Let it charge overnight, once fully charged the red light will become still.
- We recommend that you charge your stick once a week.
Iterative R&D with lead users
The Smart Stick was developed iteratively in close consultation with a 25-strong lead user group of PD sufferers. This collaboration lead to improved handle ergonomics and enabled the fine tuning of vibrational response triggering and intensity. In qualitative feedback collected, users reported increased confidence and motivation to walk. Preliminary observations also suggested that the Smart Stick is effective at significantly reducing the duration of freezing episodes, thus, materially reducing the risk of falls.
Longitudinal functionality and safety test
In August 2019 Walk to Beat sold 8 alpha prototype units of its Smart Stick to lead users in the UK at a discounted price of 130 GBP in order to test basic functionality and safety. Feedback was collected via phone interviews and emails over a period of over 1 month. Aside from a software bug that has since been fixed, the Smart Stick functioned as intended and was reported safe. Findings from earlier research that vibrational feedback is triggered correctly and that the stick encourages users to be more active were confirmed.