Problem

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three adults aged 65 and older falls at least once a year. In 2010, the total direct medical costs of all fall injuries for people 65 and older in the United States exceeded $30 billion. Additionally, falling can be a traumatic experience and many people believe falling is associated with a loss of independence.

Solution

Luna Lights DemoThe design team created a prototype device for providing automatic lighting assistance for the elderly to reduce the risk of falling at night. Older adults will get up several times in the night to use the restroom, get water, or take medication, leaving them vulnerable to falls.

The working prototype can wirelessly turn on and off lamps across a 50-foot range when a user sits up or lies down in bed, guiding users safely to their destinations. 


Development Process

The Luna Lights team
  1. The team observed and interviewed older adults at The Mather Lifeways residence in Evanston, Illinois, to gain insights into falls and their causes. Additionally, they met with a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher to learn more about the science of falls.
  2. Under the guidance of professors and design coaches, the team synthesized their research findings and began brainstorming possible solutions.
  3. The students prototyped ideas and obtained feedback on their mock ups.
  4. After receiving positive reviews for their initial concept of an automatic lighting system, the team iterated on this idea and created an early version of Luna Lights.
  5. Luna Lights became a project for the ME 398 course, where a team developed a working prototype of the concept.
  6. Over the course of the year, the team continued to work with a variety of business and design mentors to further define the scope and nature of Luna Lights.