A young Pakistani entrepreneur Neha Shahid Chaudhry studying at the University of West England has come up with an invaluable invention that seeks to help improve the quality of life of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
The 24-year-old Pakistan-born Neha Shahid Chaudhry saw her late grandfather struggle severely with Parkinson’s for years with his mobility hugely compromised due to the disease. This inspired her to invent a device that helps ease up mobility for Parkinson’s patients.
As reported in Gulf News, Chaudhry is passionate about her invention and about helping people in need.
“I believe in solving real life problems in simple yet smart ways using creativity” she said.
According to information available on the website of the University of West England, the device, which can be described as a ‘smart’ walking stick, detects when a user’s limbs have frozen and they cannot continue walking. Recognising a pause in motion, the stick vibrates to help the patient regain their rhythm and get moving again. Once the patient stats walking again, the stick senses this and stops vibrating.
“My ideas was to make it aesthetically please as well as technologically advanced, ” Chaudhry said of her invention. “People with Parkinson’s get jammed in one place and can’t step forward — it can cause falls. They need any kind of rhythm or sequence to get them started again, because it acts as a reminder.”
Chaudhry, who is now pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of West England after having completed her undergraduate studies at the same institution, has founded her own social enterprise company Walk to Beat to support further development and improvement of her invention.
“Walk to Beat is two years of my dedication to make a difference for disabled people and I am committed to make it real till it reaches the user” she said.
Gulf News further reports that Chaudhry has produced a final prototype device at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and has also secured nearly £100,000 of investment to develop the walking stick.
The young entrepreneur has been residing in the UK since 2010 and began working on the device while studying for her undergraduate degree in product design technology. The project was part of her final year research work and has been successfully tested among dozens of Parkinson’s patient. According to the University of West England’s website, Britain’s National Health Service and the charity Parkinson’s UK have expressed an interest in her product.
Neha Shahid Chaudhry further states: “There isn’t a cure for Parkinson’s – medication just prolongs the condition and helps you stay alive for longer. My aim is to make people’s lives a bit better while they are dealing with it.”
The mobility aid, while not a cure for Parkinson’s, if developed further and marketed properly, has the potential to revolutionize treatment for the disease, which affects around 10 million people worldwide.