PAR-ki-Sho is a collaboration project that I took part in during my period as an exchange student at Aalto University, Finland. The Par-ki-Sho project focuses on people who suffer from Parkinson's disease. The three pillars of the project are inclusive design, smart textiles, and user research.
We wanted to design a shoe that would be easy to wear, comfortable, and fashionable. We conducted extensive user research and tested our models on patients, in order to receive feedback. We discovered that, for people who suffer from Parkinson's, walking can be a daily challenge. By incorporating sensors and software code in our shoes, we were able to solve two primary problems that people suffering from Parkinson’s reported:
"Walking on clouds" - The patients may experience a numbing sensation, described as "walking on clouds". We addressed this by incorporating small vibrators in the sole that vibrate with every step
"Freezing" - Parkinson's patients often face a "freezing" sensation when the road is perceived as “flat and constant” - having no identifiable marks on it (marks may include cracks, painting, or sidewalks). We approached this by installing small laser projectors, that mark the user's route on the ground.
Utilizing smart textiles, we were able to integrate the electronic circuit and sensors in the shoe pattern, without compromising on design, appearance, or comfort. My role in the collaborative process was modeling the final shoe with traditional and modern shoe-making techniques, writing the code for the operation of the sensors, and integrating the code and the smart textile to create the final product.
For the PAR-ki-SHO project, we won the iF Design Talent Award of 2021.