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16-Year-Old Kenneth Shinozuka’s Sock Sensor Could Be The Solution To Keeping Alzheimer’s Patients Safe From Wandering

kenneth shinozuka and his grandfather

Did you know there are 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer’s and 65% of those who suffer from it wander off on their own? This puts them in immense danger and causes tons of stress on their families. It’s a problem that’s all too common for teen Kenneth Shinozuka. The 16-year-old Bronx high school student and Eagle Scout has been watching Alzheimer’s take a toll on his grandfather since he was 4 years old.

Just a few years later, his grandfather wandered off in the middle of the night all the way to a freeway. It was an incredibly scary experience that set Kenneth on the search to find a way to help his grandfather and other suffering families. After a visit with his grandparents in their Irvine, California home, Kenneth had the idea to create a way to monitor the movement of his grandfather in real time.

kenneth shinozuka, grandfather, alzheimers
Image via Insight

While serving an internship at the Alzheimer’s Association, Shinozuka created a sensor with a circuit board the size of a dime. He attached it to a sock, so the instant a step was taken the wearable sensors would trigger an alert to caretakers via a smartphone app Shinozuka created. A simple model of applying pressure to the sensor triggers the alarm on the smartphone app and the sensor can also be attached to a shoe or bare skin on the foot. He has since tested the prototype on his grandfather and on several people at assisted living homes in Irvine, and the trials have been very successful.

Image via Google Science Fair 2014
dime-sized sensors
Image via Google Science Fair 2014
sock sensor for alzheimer's patients
Image via Google Science Fair 2014

His idea has gained widespread attention, earning him the $50,000 Scientific American Science in Action Award, as part of the Google Science Fair. People are incredulous to the fact that he’s only 16 and he’s already making a huge difference in the study of modern day Alzheimer’s issues. He’s honored to be one of 15 finalists in the Google Global Science Fair. His goal is to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and with what he’s done so far, it seems like he’s headed in the right direction!

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