ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani student-entrepreneur whose maternal grandfather was debilitated by Parkinson’s disease has developed an innovative walking stick to improve the lives of patients with the condition.
Neha Shahid Chaudhry, a 24-year-old graduate of the University of the West of England, in an exclusive, said that she was inspired to invent the mobility aid - a smart walking stick- after observing with helplessness her late grandfather in Pakistan struggling with Parkinson’s disease.
Neha, a (B.Sc) Product Design Engineer with a (M.Sc) Masters in Marketing, and the founder of Walk to Beat, was born in Lahore and gained initial education from the Beacon House School.
She moved to Saudi Arabia with her engineer father at the age of 14 and studied there till 2009, moving to the UK in 2010 to study at Kingston University, London.
She passed her product design technology undergraduate in 2014, Masters from the University of West of England Bristol in 2016 and has ever since been working on the stick.
“My grandfather struggled with the Parkinson’s disease towards the end of his life and we couldn’t do much; he repeatedly suffered falls, rendering him unable to walk and as a result falling and hurting himself,” she said.
The smart walking stick invented has won praises in British media. Her invention detects when a user’s limbs have frozen and they cannot continue walking. As soon as the stick recognizes a pause in motion, it starts vibrating to help the patient regain their rhythm and get moving again.