Engineering Students from Mumbai Invented a Wristband DISHA to make Dementia Patients Independent enough to Travel Safely

If a person has Alzheimer’s or other dementia, it doesn’t mean he or she can no longer participate in meaningful activities such as travel; but it does require planning to ensure safety and enjoyment for everyone.  

Traveling with someone with dementia can be challenging and stressful. People with Alzheimer’s disease often have difficulty with new environments, new people, and changes in routine, change of time zone, noise, and fatigue.  

Addressing this issue of insecurity, and to make such patients slightly more independent, the 21-year-old duo of Indranil Chandra and Vaibhav Yengul, engineering students of Veermata Jijabai Institute of Technology (VJTI), made a wristband that will help patients go out and move around safely. “The aim behind this device is to make a patient independent enough to travel by mentally motivating them,” said Vaibhav.  

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Image credit: Indranil Chandra  

Based on their observations and studies, the duo decided to come up with a solution that was not only economical but also easy to use. Thus, emerged the Disha project that not only would help the patient find their way back home, but also allow family members to track their route when they were outdoors.  

“Worldwide more than 44 million people suffer from dementia and in 60-80 percent of cases cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Of the total people suffering from dementia, 58 percent live in developing countries where they do not have access to smartphones and even if they have they do not have access to a high-speed internet connection,” said Mr. Chandra, as reported by AsianAge.  

How does it work?  

As soon as the patient goes out of the geofence area (safe zone set by the family members), it alerts the family members by sending an SMS on phones. Named ‘Disha’, the wristband not only helps keep a track of the patient’s movement but also guides them to find the right direction, when lost.  

The duo conceptualized this innovation during their participation in the Hackathon competition held in Goregaon earlier. Talking about the concept, Indranil Chandra, a fourth-year engineering student, said, “We have been doing projects related to the social cause which can benefit people.   

This wristband was conceptualized after research on dementia patients, many of whom are found in developing countries. Due to the lack of smartphones and high-speed internet, they are not able to find their way when lost. Our innovation works through a GPS receiver which helps family members to keep a track of the patient.”  

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Inventors Indranil Chandra, Vaibhav Yengul (Image source: DNA)  

Talking about how soon the product will hit the market, Vaibhav Yengul said, “We are working on new features to upgrade the device and soon we will be testing the wristband on dementia patients. After the testing process, we will make it available for people to buy. The approximate cost of the wristband will be Rs 5,000.”   

So what are the upgrades one can expect? The duo will be adding audio to the system. “We made another device named Auro which helps one to locate the way by audio voice. We will be merging both devices by next week. This feature will not only help dementia patients but also those visually impaired to locate his way,” said Chandra. (Source: DNA)


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