15-year-old Kenneth Shinozuka dreams to someday cure Alzheimer’s Disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, of the estimated five million Americans with the disease, about 60% of them wander and often become dangerously lost as a result.
Shinozuka has invented a pressure sensor that when worn on the bottom of the foot or with a sock detects an increase in pressure and wirelessly sends an alert to a caregiver’s smartphone. Shinozuka came up with the idea for the gadget from a personal experience, and then taught himself how to make it from scratch.
My grandfather has lost the capability to eat by himself, to walk by himself, definitely to write and read. He can barely speak anymore. So it’s very hard. It’s also very hard for my aunt, his primary caregiver, since she’s the one who has to take care of him all the time.
Shinozuka’s grandfather, Deming, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when Shinozuka was four years old and he regularly wanders out of bed at night. In the first six months Shinozuka attached his device, called the “Safe Wander,” to his grandfather’s sock, it detected all of Deming’s 437 known cases of wandering out of bed with no false alarms.
His mother, Maria Feng, remembers that breakthrough.
We were so proud, and we also felt the power of the invention. The power of the technology. It was such a great moment.