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Fall 2017
Collaborative Design Studio I, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Instructor(s)/Professor(s):
Andrew Witt , Fawwaz Habbal , Jock Herron , Peter Stark

Collaborator(s):
Saad Rajan , Vish Srivastava

Flexfit

Flexfit is a fitness wearable designed for seniors, designed to motivate, connect and keep them fit

Exercise is critical to health and well-being. However, older patients struggle with both motivation and technique. Further, a lack of clear communication channels between family members and healthcare professionals exacerbates this problem. 

There are 46 million seniors (Aged 65+) in the United States with that number expected to grow significantly in the coming years. And 55-65% of these seniors are not physically active. We believe that there is an opportunity to have an impact on the lives of these seniors with a well-designed product.

Our design research included interviews with seniors, family members, and physiotherapists. The following were some important tidbits we found from the interviews:

"Motivation is the most difficult part of recovery..."

- Gina (Physiotherapist)

"I don't use my exercise equipment because I forget..."

- Nilusha (Senior)

"I have no idea if my mum us actually exercising enough..."

- Meenaz (Family Member)

Research

Our design research included interviews with seniors, family members, and physiotherapists. We extracted information from these interviews to create personas for our target users and stakeholders.

We recognized that seniors face a lack of motivation - especially seniors who live alone/away from their family. They are often disconnected from their families. 

Family members expressed interest in staying in touch with their parents/grandparents but often were not in regular touch with them.

Doctors and physiotherapists reinforced our observation about the lack of motivation in seniors daily routines. They also expressed concerns about care plan adherence away from hospitals/therapy.

Design

We explored multiple interventions to solve this challenging problem. After doing a bit of market research, we found the possibility that a fitness wearable designed for seniors could have an impact in this area.

Flexfit is designed to help seniors stay active. Flexfit was designed with a curved display and intuitive user experience for seniors. The device connects both family members and physiotherapists who can monitor, engage and motivate the senior to stay active and/or perform exercises accurately. 

Flexfit also acts as a private medical diagnosis device. With its in-built sensors, it can track user movement during exercise or general activity which is used to diagnose and report problems or corrections.

Prototyping

The prototyping phase went through multiple interventions from paper-cardboard models to 3D printed prototypes. 3D models were created using a laser cutter, 3D modeling, and 3D printing. Application interfaces for target users and other stakeholders were created.

Using accelerometer and magnetic sensors, a mobility diagnosis application was also prototyped. The application helped demonstrate the at-home diagnostic capabilities that were possible through Flexfit.