STICKu the smart cane is equipped with a wide range of functions. For example, when it falls on the ground without being picked up, an alarm will ring to call for assistance to avoid delay in resuscitation in case of a fall accident. It can also connect to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. The mobile application will send out an alert message to the user when the cane is left unattended at a distance. “My sister had been seriously ill and needed to use a cane. However, she was very reluctant since she regarded it as a sign of weakness and disgrace,” Richard Leung, co-founder of STICKu, recalled how he was motivated to redesign the canes to take them to a new level.
Leung used to work in the toy industry. In 2015 he teamed up with designer Brian Lam when both quitted their jobs to set up BNET-Tech Company to develop a smart cane. The path for a start-up is anything but straight. In the case of STICKu, it takes enormous knowledge which is outside of their professions. For instance, physical tests and durability tests relating to meeting safety standards were conducted by professional engineers with whom they worked together to modify the design. The two collected views from the community by visiting day care centres and meeting the elderly. They put themselves in the users’ and careers’ shoes to understand their needs when designing the cane. “The focus of STICKu is not just applying technologies but being convenient and easy to use. The whole thing is about a reliable tool the elderly can count on.”
Their excellent work was recognised when the smart cane won the champion of an entrepreneurship competition earlier. Nevertheless, there were financial challenges so severe that the two founders received no income for a while, not to mention a two-month delay in the work schedule. They were very desperate and almost gave up. Looking back at the three-year experience, with obstacles overcome, Leung arrived at three essentials of entrepreneurship, “Firstly, a clear goal. Secondly, commitment and resilience. Thirdly, being flexible and willing to look for alternatives when facing problems. As a social enterprise, we put giving back and serving before profit-making.”
- The SIE Fund is funding the start-up project of STICKu. More details can be found here.
Scope of Services
- Inspired by family, Hong Konger developed Smart Cane (TOPick 10/11/2017) (Chinese Only)
- Local start-up heads medical market with Smart Cane (Ming Pao Daily News 27/11/2017) (Chinese Only)
- StickU the Smart Cane can walk with you, call for help and more (IT Square 21/02/2018) (Chinese Only)