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Eagle Scout invents device for Alzheimer’s patients

Kenneth-headshotEagle Scout Kenneth Shinozuka has invented a device that could revolutionize care for the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s.

And did I mention he’s just 15?

The New York City teen’s grandfather is living with the disease, and Kenneth noticed his grandpa would often wander out of bed at night, sometimes injuring himself.

Fellow Boy Scouts who volunteered with Kenneth at nursing facilities discovered other Alzheimer’s patients wandered, too.

This inspired Kenneth to invent a small sensor an Alzheimer’s patient wears on his or her foot.

When the person stands up — to walk around, for example — the device instantly sends an alert to the caregiver’s phone.

The invention has already won Kenneth international acclaim — and a ton of money. He was the sole winner of the $50,000 Scientific American Science in Action Award, powered by the Google Science Fair.

“I wanted to create a real-time, low-cost alert system that would … protect the safety of my grandpa,” Kenneth explains in his project video, which you can watch below. “Until we find a cure for Alzheimer’s, I hope my sensor can make the millions of wandering patients safe and their caregivers relieved.”

Learn more about his project at this Google Science Fair page.


Vote for Kenneth for the Google Science Fair’s Voter’s Choice Award

Go here and find Kenneth’s project to submit your vote.

You can only vote once, and voting closes on Sunday, Sept. 14.


H/T: I first learned of this story over on Scouting Newsroom.

33 Comments on Eagle Scout invents device for Alzheimer’s patients

  1. Nelson Block // August 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm // Reply

    Congratulations Kenneth!

  2. Is Kenneth’s device available yet in the marketplace?

  3. This could also be used for patients in the hospitals. My wife is a nurse and she tells me about patients getting up because they think they can go to the bathroom or do something on their own, but then they fall and break bones. This could help prevent that.

  4. “Ordinary youth” doing extraordinary things!!! Hurray for him!!

  5. That is so cool! This is a constant problem in nursing facilities, hospitals and homes. Thank you Kenneth!

  6. Laurie Caulk // August 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm // Reply

    I wish something like that had been around for my grandmother. The police were constantly bringing her home. Then when she had to be placed in a nursing home, the only “safe one for a wanderer” was so far away that my grandfather rarely got to go see her.

  7. Great job Kenneth! Keep flying high.

  8. That is awesome Eagle Scout project! Something of immense value and not your typical new fence project we usually see.

    • It doesn’t say that this was an Eagle project and it sounds like he did most if not all the work himself. Eagle projects require providing leadership as others assist in the work. Leads me to believe this young man was already an Eagle when he invented this awesome device. Congratulations Kenneth on your bright, inquisitive and inventive mind!

    • This wasn’t his project.

  9. The “sole” winner…nice

    • It doesn’t say that this was an Eagle project and it sounds like he did most if not all the work himself. Eagle projects require providing leadership as others assist in the work. Leads me to believe this young man was already an Eagle when he invented this awesome device. Congratulations Kenneth on your bright, inquisitive and inventive mind!

  10. Great job, Eagle Scout Kenneth Shinozuka! All Eagles salute you and your extraordinary accomplishment. Keep up the fine work, young man!

  11. Good work! Brilliant!

  12. Bill Solomon // August 19, 2014 at 11:51 am // Reply

    Thank you Kenneth for an important gift to humanity. Congratulations Eagle Scout. 🙂

  13. Michelle Smith // August 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm // Reply

    I need this for my toddler! Brilliant idea!

  14. Dana Heffley // August 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm // Reply

    Way to go , my son has been in scouting since the age of 6 year’s old , he is now ready to get his ” tenderfoot ” . I congratulate you on the ideal and the ability to make this device , I’m positive it will save live’s in the near future ! Congratulation’s on your ” eagle ” , your family must truly be proud !

  15. Bill Kenney // August 19, 2014 at 5:45 pm // Reply

    This is a device with far-reaching effects. This Eagle is making a HUGE difference.

  16. This could be useful for children with autism who wander as well.

  17. God bless him!

  18. Scoutmaster Richard // August 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm // Reply

    Troop 333 Huntersville NC salutes you!

  19. That is such an awesome accomplishment. Well done, Kenneth

  20. Congratulations prepared. Scout Mexico.

  21. If this isn’t on the market yet and you have a need for something similar, they do make mats that can go beside the bed that will sound an alarm that can be heard by the caregiver in another room. One was briefly used for my FIL while he was in the nursing home. If the patient dislikes wearing socks to bed or takes them off, the mat could be more desirable. But it’s probably more costly….

    • Hi Dana, what is the floor mat called… I am having a serious problem with my mom. Two falls in three days. Thank you!

  22. Timex One GPS+, a 3G connected watch requiring no phone

    This seems to potentially “fit the bill”

    “In addition to live tracking the unit also can send out SOS alerts. These alerts can be triggered in the event of some sort of issue. For example if you run off the edge of a cliff while trail running, or simply can’t find an ice cream stand – both critical issues warranting immediate phone a friend support.

    The SOS alerts can be customized ahead of time as well, so you could have defaults such as “Fell off cliff, bring rope or helicopter!” to “Bring me ice cream, stat!”,

  23. While none of this technology is new, it does look like this is a new application for it. Pressure switches have been around longer than I, maybe. I think one problem this one may have is the ‘patient’ not cooperating? What might be done for that would be to place a pressure sensitive mat, or cover the floor around the bed with a pressure sensitive system that would send the very same signal to a monitoring device. The ‘patient’ would then not be troubled with special socks they may not take to and wouldn’t need anything taped to their foot.

  24. Add a GPS signal and the wearer is easily located

  25. I made a similar device when I was 15 to annoy my aunt. I bought a switched extension cord and ran it to her radio hat sat on her dresser, then when she got out of bed and took a couple steps I’d switch the radio off. Back to bed she’d go and when she got comfortable I’d switch the radio back on. It was hilarious until my bratty little brother told her and I didn’t sit comfortably for a week! That said I am glad that at least someone uses their genius for good!

  26. I don’t get how this is revolutionary, we have various sensors for this purpose already in place in nursing homes, at least where I am in Scotland. They either use pressure sensors in mats or beams which trigger an alarm when broken (ie when service user swings feet out of bed to stand up). You can also put a mat underneath a person who is sitting in a chair so that it goes off when they begin to stand up. None of the current methods rely on attaching something to the service users themselves, and in my opinion are much better for it =s this way a simple action such as taking one’s socks off or scratching a foot would not be a danger. May I point out that many elderly people have dry flaky skin on their feet, and are very likely to scratch their feet or rub them on something if they do not feel right.

  27. Kenneth is 15 years old. Let us all acknowledge his initiative. I met this young man at the April 2014 OA Ordeal at Alpine Scout Camp. He was converting to Brotherhood. I also had a conversation with him at that time and was very, very impressed with his knowledge and interpersonal skills. Congratulations Kenneth.

  28. Doris Leonard // March 26, 2015 at 10:01 am // Reply

    Kenneth, if you ever need more money, I’m sure ‘Shark Tank’ would jump at the chance to invest and give you as much as you would ever need. This is ingenious! Congratulations!

  29. Marc Messenger // July 27, 2016 at 11:50 am // Reply

    Kenneth thanks for this and being one of our Chapter Chiefs.

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