We have all had to deal with the aging process of parents or grandparents. Between frequent falls, various surgeries, moves to assisted living, the onset of dementia, and general declines in overall function, I had a lot of experiences with aging from the perspective of a family member. As one of 12 grandchildren, I didn’t know how my Grandma Ann was doing in her new assisted living apartment form all the way across the country. When I talked to physical therapists about the difficulties of keeping my Grandma Myrla independent, they admitted to having very little idea about what was going on in the home. And when Grandma Kathleen fell while alone at home because she wan’t using her walker, I knew that something had to be done.
All three of these women use walkers to help keep them safe and independent for as long as possible, and it turns out that 3-6 million Americans do the same. I realized how great it would be for families to have access to fitness data, such as with a smart watch. Alas, my family and I couldn’t get my grandparents to wear them, and thus came the light-bulb moment for WalkWise. These women used their walkers all the time, so all we had to do was track their walkers in order to track fitness! And perhaps more importantly, we would know when their walkers were not being used. After gathering walker use data from my grandparents and a number of early adopters, it became clear that WalkWise was so much more powerful than just a fitness tracker. We learned how to count bathroom visits to effectively screen for urinary tract infections. We designed an alert system that warned families and caregivers about a lack of motion and walker tips. We helped reduce falls by making walker use “fun” and by alerting assisted living staff when residents got up at night. We provided my own family and others with the mobile app to have peace of mind throughout the day.
WalkWise was built because of our grandparents, and now we want everyone to have access to the technology that has provided us with so much as our loved ones have aged. With the idea born in 2016 between Massachusetts and Oregon, WalkWise (formerly WalkSmart) has been based in North Dakota since 2016.
Founder & CEO
Peter Chamberlain, Founder & CEO
Peter is the Founder & CEO of WalkWise, and is focused on saving lives and helping older adults maintain their independence through innovative technologies. He earned a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his work on the automated manufacturing of micro-fluidic devices. He is a founding member of the MIT Hyperloop Team, who won the inaugural SpaceX Hyperloop Design competition and built the world’s first functional Hyperloop Pod prototype. He was a founding member and Director of the MIT Water Innovation Prize, where he managed a diverse organizing team. Their work resulted ina series of entrepreneurship workshops and the award of $30,000 in grants. While at MIT, he took courses in product design, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and robotics. He was the lead engineer on the Otter Infant Warming System project with Design that Matters, which is now being deployed in hospitals around the world. While studying at the University of Portland during his undergraduate degree, he won the Dean’s award and interned at Biotronik, a medical device manufacturer.
Peter can be reached at email@example.com