In our rapidly ageing populations, a small glimmer of hope comes from those who instead of focussing on anti-ageing devices, are creating ways to deal with the effects of getting old instead. One such individual, Archibald Godts, a Design Academy Student from Eidhoven, studied the over-65 demographics of Belgium and the Netherlands and their need for frail-care. His findings prompted him to create Man’s Best Friend.
Our canine friends have been successfully trained to help humans in a number of different ways – from professional service dogs and sniffer dogs to those helping humans with disabilities. Godts’ final year project at the Academy looked into the possibility of dogs being used as a helpful companion to the elderly, with the possibility of assisting them in a variety of ways.
Already, dogs are helping with mobility but Godts also explores the possibility of using them to assist with carrying items with four different products, the chariot, the pillbox and the messenger bag and treasury:
- The chariot allows a dog to pull a wheelchair, much like a horse would pull a cart.
- The messenger bag sits over the sides of the dog with enough space to carry small items of shopping.
- The pillbox and treasury are both small containers attached to the dogs collar that carry medication and cell phone respectively.
“In the age where taking pills is recurrent, but forgetting as recurrent, where carrying the groceries becomes a major burden, or being mobile is absolutely problematic,” says Godts, “the symbioses between dog and human shows potential for the purpose.”
Godts’ research involved an extensive look at various aspects of the relationship between human and canine, combining both anatomical properties and intelligence. Man’s Best Friend items could also help carers who need the extra pair of hands, or paws, to help.