Mettle has recently unveiled a wearable tech device that has the potential to transform the lives of those living with dementia. Proximity Button is a simple and discreet device that tackles out-and-about care of dementia patients by using beacon technology to act as an "early-warning system" when a patient wanders and is put at risk.
Conceived of by Natalie Price, the daughter of a dementia carer, and designed to be sleek and comfortable, Proximity Button fastens easily to the inside of the patient's clothing using a magnetic clasp, resting flat to avoid distracting or distressing the patient. Weighing 17g and measuring 34mm in diameter, it is light and discreet. A Bluetooth beacon in the Button sends a signal to an accompanying app on the carer's phone, also developed by Mettle. When the patient wanders out of sight the signal is lost and the app alerts the carer by notification and vibration.
Made from aluminium, ABS plastic and rubber-plastic composite, the Button is water-resistant, has no moving parts and is designed to be durable. Powered by a coin cell battery, it lasts for three months if switched on continuously, or years if turned off when not in use. Switching the device on and off is achieved by a fuss-free squeeze of the case.
The Proximity app interface is designed to provide an effortless technological experience, with a step-by-step tutorial for new users and simple, bold buttons to ensure ease of use. The integration of Bluetooth technology means that Proximity does not rely on satellite technology so it can be used in all environments from the supermarket to the park - or even underground - and is compatible with Android and iOS. The Proximity alarm goes off when the patient wanders out of the carer's line of sight or beyond the 20 meter maximum range of the beacon signal, alerting the carer instantly if the patient has disappeared around the corner of a shopping aisle or into a crowd of people.
"Carers and patients are at the centre of our design process and we mould every aspect of our hardware and software designs around them," said Alex Bone, Creative Director, Mettle. "We didn't want this to look like a medical device, it is a life enhancing device and we designed it as such, with simple and elegant design detailing and an effortlessness of use. We hope it will create a richer and more active life for those suffering with dementia and will empower carers by giving them peace of mind while they do their amazing, selfless work."