In India, we have these huge families.
I bet a lot of you allmust have heard about it.
Which means that there area lot of family events.
So as a child, my parentsused to drag me to these family events.
But the one thingthat I always looked forward to
was playing around with my cousins.
And there was always this one uncle
who used to be there,
always ready, jumping around with us,
having games for us,
making us kids have the time of our lives.
This man was extremely successful:
he was confident and powerful.
But then I saw this hale and hearty persondeteriorate in health.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s is a disease that causesdegeneration of the nervous system,
which means that this personwho used to be independent
suddenly finds tasks like drinking coffee,because of tremors, much more difficult.
My uncle started using a walker to walk,
and to take a turn,
he literally had to takeone step at a time, like this,
and it took forever.
So this person, who used to bethe center of attention
in every family gathering,
was suddenly hiding behind people.
He was hiding from the pitiful lookin people’s eyes.
And he’s not the only one in the world.
Every year, 60,000 peopleare newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s,
and this number is only rising.
As designers, we dream that our designssolve these multifaceted problems,
one solution that solves it all,
but it need not always be like that.
You can also target simple problems
and create small solutions for themand eventually make a big impact.
So my aim here wasto not cure Parkinson’s,
but to make their everyday tasksmuch more simple,
and then make an impact.
Well, the first thing I targetedwas tremors, right?
My uncle told me that he had stoppeddrinking coffee or tea in public
just out of embarrassment,
so, well, I designed the no-spill cup.
It works just purely on its form.
The curve on top deflects the liquidback inside every time they have tremors,
and this keeps the liquid insidecompared to a normal cup.
But the key here is that it is not taggedas a Parkinson’s patient product.
它就像一个你 我 每个笨手笨脚的人都会使用的杯子
It looks like a cup that could be usedby you, me, any clumsy person,
对于他们来说 这样使用可以更加舒适 更加和谐
and that makes it much more comfortingfor them to use, to blend in.
So, well, one problem solved,
many more to go.
All this while, I was interviewing him,
and then I realized that I was gettingvery superficial information,
or just answers to my questions.
But I really needed to dig deeperto get a new perspective.
So I thought, well,let’s observe him in his daily tasks,
while he’s eating, while he’s watching TV.
And then, when I was actuallyobserving him walking to his dining table,
it struck me, this man who finds itso difficult to walk on flat land,
how does he climb a staircase?
Because in India we do not havea fancy rail that takes you up a staircase
like in the developed countries.
One actually has to climb the stairs.
So he told me,
“Well, let me show you how I do it.”
Let’s take a look at what I saw.
So he took really longto reach this position,
and then all this while, I’m thinking,
“Oh my God, is he really going to do it?
Is he really, really going to do itwithout his walker?”
And then …
And the turns, he took them so easily.
So — shocked?
Well, I was too.
So this person who could notwalk on flat land
was suddenly a pro at climbing stairs.
On researching this, I realized thatit’s because it’s a continuous motion.
There’s this other manwho also suffers from the same symptoms
and uses a walker,
but the moment he’s put on a cycle,
all his symptoms vanish,
because it is a continuous motion.
So the key for me was to translatethis feeling of walking on a staircase
back to flat land.
And a lot of ideaswere tested and tried on him,
but the one that finally workedwas this one. Let’s take a look.
He walked faster, right?
I call this the staircase illusion,
and actually when the staircase illusionabruptly ended, he froze,
and this is called freezing of gait.
So it happens a lot,
so why not have a staircase illusionflowing through all their rooms,
making them feel much more confident?
You know, technology is not always it.
What we need are human-centered solutions.
I could have easilymade it into a projection,
or a Google Glass, or something like that.
But I stuck to simple print on the floor.
This print could be taken into hospitals
to make them feel much more welcome.
What I wish to dois make every Parkinson’s patient
feel like my uncle felt that day.
He told me that I made him feellike his old self again.
“Smart” in today’s worldhas become synonymous to high tech,
and the world is only gettingsmarter and smarter day by day.
But why can’t smart be somethingthat’s simple and yet effective?
All we need is a little bit of empathyand some curiosity,
to go out there, observe.
But let’s not stop at that.
Let’s find these complex problems.Don’t be scared of them.
Break them, boil them downinto much smaller problems,
and then find simple solutions for them.
Test these solutions, fail if needed,
but with newer insights to make it better.
Imagine what we all could doif we all came up with simple solutions.
What would the world be likeif we combined all our simple solutions?
Let’s make a smarter world,but with simplicity.