The Lifeline Gets a Facelift

The sleek new Lifeline design

When you think of sleek white objects with buttons on them that you’ve come to depend on for keeping your whole life in one place, a certain fruit-centric company comes to mind. So just take a look at that little gadget there to the left and tell me that it doesn’t look like a new iPod.

You know you kind of want one, don’t you?

As it turns out, it’s actually the newly designed and award-winning Lifeline AutoAlert system, the safety gadgets worn by the elderly to help in times of distress. Lifelines are instantly recognizable, thanks to the unforgettable catchphrase from late 80s: “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
The updated design for the Philips Lifeline AutoAlert was conceived by the Radius group at Nypro, a Clinton-based manufacturer that in all likelihood produced a plastic part in almost every room in your home — from your BlackBerry to the little box for your floss. (I visited their 18-acre campus recently, and the excitement about plastics can only be matched by Mr. McGuire in The Graduate.) Radius won the Silver Award at the Medical Design Excellence Awards this month, after Philips, the Andover-based tech company, approached them saying that their customers had grown weary of wearing the devices. The main issue was that the buttons just didn’t look cool enough.
“Our research showed us that many users do not wear their help buttons all the time,” says Stephen Heath, Creative Director at Philips. “They are conscious of feeling stigmatized by the device and viewed it as a visible symbol of their frailty.”
Radius was tasked with updating the usability of the device while also making it more attractive to its users, and they say they’re honored by the award. In a statement about their win, they company praised the Lifeline: “It works seamlessly with a senior’s lifestyle whether they are walking in the garden or standing in the shower. We are excited to be part of the team that has developed cost effective protection for our most vulnerable population.”
So now your grandma doesn’t have to worry; now she can have the dopest device on the block.