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Gait Pro.

"Gait Pro" is a personalized walking improvement app, specially designed for leg amputees. Connected to a smart shoe that adapts to any surface, the shoe's sensors send valuable data to the app. Using advanced biomechanics, "Gait Pro" provides tailored insights and exercises, empowering users to optimize their mobility and overall well-being.

Team Partner:  Sai Kishore 

My Role

UX Research | Paper Prototyping | Wireframing | Product Design | UI Design | Design Thinking | Pretotyping

Tools

Figma | Adobe Illustrator | Miro

Project Type

Mobile App

Duration

Jan - Apr 2023

Project Goal
The project goal was to focus on creating an inclusive product or service for individuals with motor disabilities specifically focusing on lower-limb amputees. 
The objective of this
 project was to focus on making the product/service accessible through the use of digital technology. This can be based on an existing product or service that currently doesn’t meet the needs of individuals with a specific disability.
Problem
Leg amputees encounter ongoing challenges with walking, particularly on uneven surfaces like grass or sand. Despite adapting to prosthetics, the need for grip bars persists for maintaining balance. Negotiating spaces such as restaurant booths becomes especially inconvenient, emphasizing the continuous struggle with balance and grip issues in daily mobility for amputees.
Solution
Tailored for leg amputees, the app utilizes advanced biomechanics and connects with a smart shoe. This combination provides individualized insights and exercises, addressing challenges on uneven surfaces. By minimizing reliance on grip bars, Gait Pro enhances stability, making walking more natural and comfortable, especially in spaces like restaurant booths. It's a personalized approach to improve mobility and well-being for leg amputees.
How might we help amputees to have a better posture/ balance to be able to walk on uneven surfaces? 

Research

The Process.
What are Motor Disabilities?
Motor disabilities refer to a range of physical impairments that affect an individual's movement, coordination, or sensation. These conditions, which can stem from various sources such as injuries or disorders, include paralysis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injuries.

The severity of hindrance in movement varies, necessitating assistive technologies and accommodations to enhance accessibility and improve the quality of life for individuals with motor disabilities.
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What is Amputation?

The surgical removal of a limb or part of it is often necessitated by severe injury resulting from accidents, frostbite, burns, or complications arising from conditions like diabetes.

This procedure is categorized into two types: lower limb amputation and upper limb amputation. Lower limb amputation typically involves the removal of a part or the entire leg, while upper limb amputation pertains to the removal of an arm or part of it.
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Interviews

I’ve conducted 5 interviews to open up the topic a little bit more, to emphasize more with real people. Although I had some answers from the surveys, here I wanted to focus on the “What were the challenges that Leg Amputees face in their daily life?” part.

Gathering data from the interviews, amputees after losing a limb, have immense difficulty walking. Especially, walking on grass, sand, or uneven surfaces. To keep their balance, amputees often use grip bars or handles. Everyday situations, like getting into restaurant booths, become tricky due to balance and grip issues, emphasizing the need for thoughtful accommodations.

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Mr. Kevin

Bio

Age: 65 y/o
Location: California
Occupation: Retired Sales Executive

Pains

- Balance is the biggest thing 

- Does not want sympathy

Goals

To be able to walk anywhere on any surface.

"I can't walk well on grass and not at all on sand."

Define

What is the root cause of all this?

The challenge of imbalance in walking for amputees is closely tied to the lack of good posture, directly affecting their gait cycle. Multiple surgeries necessitate relearning to walk with prosthetic legs, presenting difficulties in maintaining body balance.

Single-leg amputees, bearing their entire body weight on one leg, often experience pain, contributing to the development of an abnormal gait pattern. These factors underscore the intricate relationship between surgical interventions, posture, and the ongoing struggle for a balanced and natural walking motion.
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Ideate

Solution Space.
Some Current Assistive Technologies
The images on the right are some of the existing assistive technologies that are currently used by the users I have interviewed. 

But what could enhance the posture and provide a better gait cycle?

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Knee Rovers
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E- bikes
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Power Wheelchairs
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Adaptive Tech
Smart Shoes
They are used to check someone’s activity levels, how many steps you have walked, can detect your location, etc.
They have pressure sensors to detect weight, and environmental sensors to detect the atmosphere but,
They do not have any technology that will give enough grip and posture control to users who have lower limb mobility issues.
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Prototype

Product Iterations.
Technology Details of Gait Pro

This innovative shoe incorporates pose sensors and pressure sensors for a comprehensive understanding of leg movement and walking dynamics. The outsole features a shape-changing grip made of elastomer, transforming its shape through electrical stimulation.

 

A pose sensor accurately calculates leg angles, aiding in gait prediction. The grip's shape is maintained by a built-in PCB, ensuring optimal functionality and responsiveness during movement. This technology combines sensor data, material adaptability, and electronic control for an advanced and customized walking experience for amputees.

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Outsole: shape-changing grip made of elastomer

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Pose Sensors - The sensors transmit the measured hip angle information to the software, which generates the hip angle trajectory and displays the walking status in real time.
It also helps to calculate the angle of the leg and predict the gait.

Pressure Sensors - The sensor has sixteen pressure-sensitive regions that send information to the app. It judges the walking phase according to the pressure magnitude and controls the swing phase hip forward flexion and back extension.

How will it work?

Innovating for enhanced mobility, using pose sensors on the leg, battery-powered motors, and a revolutionary outer sole crafted from Liquid Crystal Elastomers (LCE).

 

The LCE material dynamically adjusts to any surface, providing a customized grip for amputees, and facilitating a more natural and secure walking experience. Integrated pressure sensors collect valuable gait cycle data, sending insights to the user's phone for comprehensive analysis and improvement tracking.

This groundbreaking technology not only ensures safety and stability but also empowers amputees with real-time feedback for refining their unique walking patterns.

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Designing The Shoe

Opting for optimal functionality, our chosen shoe design prioritizes enhanced grip and ease of use for amputees. The unique shape not only facilitates easy wearing but also maximizes traction.

 

The shoe integrates internal pose sensors that can be extracted and attached to the thighs, offering a personalized and adaptable fit. The sole, with 16 pressure regions, ensures detailed feedback on walking dynamics. Notably, the outer sole crafted from self-changing Liquid Crystal Elastomer (LCE) dynamically adjusts to various surfaces, optimizing stability and comfort.

This thoughtful combination of design elements aims to empower amputees with a secure, user-friendly, and technologically advanced footwear solution.

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Pose Sensors
LCE - Liquid Crystal Elastomer - shape changing
16 Pressure Sensors (Insole)
Outsole

Shape Changing Outsole on rocky surface

Prototype

UI Design
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Logo Screen

Onboarding Screens

Users can enter their basic information and their limb condition so that the user gets a tailor-made experience.

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Onboarding Screens

Users can enter their basic information and their limb condition so that the user gets a tailor-made experience.

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