As a young girl I witnessed my grandfather suffer from Parkinson’s didease (PD) for 8 long years. The disease impacted him not only physically but also emotionally. After experiencing two falls he stopped going out on his own due to lack of confidence and fear of injury. Being forced to stay home had a big impact on his quality of life and emotional- wellbeing.
During my final year at the UWE Bristol’s Product Design Technology course, I chose Parkinson’s as my research subject and cam eup with 13 different design briefs to improve the daily lives of people living with the disease. One of those briefs, the Smart Stick designed for helping Parkinson’s sufferers manage freezing episodes.
I decided to found Walk to Beat when a proof of concept prototype I developed at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and validated in small field trials with Parkinson’s UK – the UK’s national Parkinson’s charity – recieved coverage from British and international media including The Daily Mail and the BBC as well as strong interest from potential customers.