My simple invention, designed to keep my grandfather safe
祖父を守るための シンプルな発明

ケネス・シノヅカ

メッセージ

One thing I'll never forget is when my device first caught my grandfather's wandering out of bed at night. At that moment, I was really struck by the power of technology to change lives for the better.

自作のデバイスが初めて祖父のはいかいを検知したとき、僕は、テクノロジーで生活の質が上がることを実感しました。

プロフィール

ケネス・シノヅカ

アメリカ在住の高校生。両親は共働きで、幼少期は祖父と多くの時間を過ごす。6歳の時、知り合いの高齢者が風呂で転倒したことをきっかけに、床に取り付けられたセンサーが転倒を感知すると家族の腕時計のアラームが鳴るという“スマート風呂”を発案。その後も、所定の時間になると飲む薬をランプで知らせる薬箱など高齢者向けの発明を続ける。14歳で、アルツハイマー病患者のはいかいを介護者に知らせる靴下型のセンサーを開発、2014年のGoogle Science FairでScientific American Science in Action Awardを受賞。
【吹き替え】浜田洋平

プレゼンテーション英文

Kenneth Shinozuka: My simple invention, designed to keep my grandfather safe What’s the fastest-growing threat to Americans’ health? Cancer? Heart attacks? Diabetes? The answer is actually none of these; it’s Alzheimer’s disease. Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As the number of Alzheimer’s patients triples by the year 2050, caring for them, as well as the rest of the aging population, wil...

Superview vol.132

インターネットが生んだ「自分でつくる文化」

Sputniko!: ケネス君は6歳の時に、風呂場のセンサーが転倒を感知すると家族の腕時計を鳴らす仕組みをつくっています。それができたのは、やはりインターネットの力を利用できたからでしょうね。

Joi: インターネットのおかげで、情報を入手したり、プログラミングを学んだり、専門家のサポートを得られるようになって、自分でモノをつくる文化が生まれました。パーツを選んだり、加工を加えて、いい商品をつくる。カスタマイズから始まって、最後は自分でつくるという時代になったことは、とても重要な変化だと思います。

Sputniko!: 好きなモノ、必要とするプロダクトを、自分でつくりだす。大きな会社が商品として発売するのを待たないで、自分でつくってしまう。そういう文化は、これからもっと広がっていくかもしれませんね。

Joi: そう思います。

Sputniko!: ケネス君は、TEDでプレゼンテーションしたことで、いろいろな人に発明を知ってもらえるし、仲間も増えるでしょう。自分の思っていることを人々に伝えるのは大事なことですから、日本でもプレゼンテーションに関するしっかりした教育があった方がいいのではないかと思います。

Joi: そうですね。ただ日本にはプレゼンテーションを重視してこなかった文化がありますから、プレゼンテーション教育を始めるなら、教育システムを多少調整する必要があるでしょう。学校外でもいろいろなアクティビティが必要な気がします。

Sputniko!: そうですよね。

Joi: 去年、日本でワークショップをしたとき、たくさんの小中高生たちの一生懸命なプレゼンテーションを聞いて、びっくりしました。日本人はプレゼンテーションが苦手というイメージがありましたが、プレゼン能力のある子どもがたくさんいましたから。

Sputniko!: 伸びる子はどんどん伸びる時代になっていますね。環境も変化しているし、インターネットもある。そこに親のサポートも加わったら、ケネス君みたいに、どんどん前に進んでいけそうですね。

TOP

CLOSE

Kenneth Shinozuka: My simple invention, designed to keep my grandfather safe

What’s the fastest-growing threat to Americans’ health? Cancer? Heart attacks? Diabetes? The answer is actually none of these; it’s Alzheimer’s disease. Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As the number of Alzheimer’s patients triples by the year 2050, caring for them, as well as the rest of the aging population, will become an overwhelming societal challenge.

My family has experienced firsthand the struggles of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient. Growing up in a family with three generations, I’ve always been very close to my grandfather. When I was four years old, my grandfather and I were walking in a park in Japan, when he suddenly got lost. It was one of the scariest moments I’ve ever experienced in my life, and it was also the first instance that informed us that my grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease. Over the past 12 years, his condition got worse and worse, and his wandering in particular caused my family a lot of stress. My aunt, his primary caregiver, really struggled to stay awake at night to keep an eye on him and even then often failed to catch him leaving the bed. I became really concerned about my aunt’s well-being as well as my grandfather’s safety. I searched extensively for a solution that could help my family’s problems but couldn’t find one.

Then, one night about two years ago, I was looking after my grandfather and I saw him stepping out of the bed. The moment his foot landed on the floor, I thought, why don’t I put a pressure sensor on the heel of his foot? Once he stepped onto the floor and out of the bed, the pressure sensor would detect an increase in pressure caused by body weight and then wirelessly send an audible alert to the caregiver’s smartphone. That way, my aunt could sleep much better at night without having to worry about my grandfather’s wandering.

So now I’d like to perform a demonstration of this sock.

Could I please have my sock model on the stage? Great.

So once the patient steps onto the floor, an alert is sent to the caregiver’s smartphone.

Thank you. Thank you, sock model.

So this is a drawing of my preliminary design.

My desire to create a sensor-based technology perhaps stemmed from my lifelong love for sensors and technology. When I was six years old, an elderly family friend fell down in the bathroom and suffered severe injuries. I became concerned about my own grandparents and decided to invent a smart bathroom system. Motion sensors would be installed inside the tiles of bathroom floors to detect the falls of elderly patients whenever they fell down in the bathroom. Since I was only six years old at the time and I hadn’t graduated from kindergarten yet, I didn’t have the necessary resources and tools to translate my idea into reality, but nonetheless, my research experience really implanted in me a firm desire to use sensors to help the elderly people. I really believe that sensors can improve the quality of life of the elderly.

When I laid out my plan, I realized that I faced three main challenges: first, creating a sensor; second, designing a circuit; and third, coding a smartphone app. This made me realize that my project was actually much harder to realize than I initially had thought it to be.

First, I had to create a wearable sensor that was thin and flexible enough to be worn comfortably on the bottom of the patient’s foot. After extensive research and testing of different materials like rubber, which I realized was too thick to be worn snugly on the bottom of the foot, I decided to print a film sensor with electrically conductive, pressure-sensitive ink particles. Once pressure is applied, the connectivity between the particles increases. Therefore, I could design a circuit that would measure pressure by measuring electrical resistance.

Next, I had to design a wearable wireless circuit, but wireless signal transmission consumes lots of power and requires heavy, bulky batteries. Thankfully, I was able to find out about the Bluetooth Low Energy technology, which consumes very little power and can be driven by a coin-sized battery. This prevented the system from dying in the middle of the night.

Lastly, I had to code a smartphone app that would essentially transform the caregiver’s smartphone into a remote monitor. For this, I had to expand upon my knowledge of coding with Java and Xcode, and I also had to learn about how to code for Bluetooth Low Energy devices by watching YouTube tutorials and reading various textbooks.

Integrating these components, I was able to successfully create two prototypes, one in which the sensor is embedded inside a sock and another that’s a re-attachable sensor assembly that can be adhered anywhere that makes contact with the bottom of the patient’s foot.

I’ve tested the device on my grandfather for about a year now, and it’s had a 100 percent success rate in detecting the over 900 known cases of his wandering.

Last summer, I was able to beta-test my device at several residential care facilities in California, and I’m currently incorporating the feedback to further improve the device into a marketable product. Testing the device on a number of patients made me realize that I needed to invent solutions for people who didn’t want to wear socks to sleep at night.

So sensor data, collected on a vast number of patients, can be useful for improving patient care and also leading to a cure for the disease, possibly. For example, I’m currently examining correlations between the frequency of a patient’s nightly wandering and his or her daily activities and diet.

One thing I’ll never forget is when my device first caught my grandfather’s wandering out of bed at night. At that moment, I was really struck by the power of technology to change lives for the better.

People living happily and healthfully – that’s the world that I imagine.

Thank you very much.

Page Top