Medical Emergency Necklace

The Talk mobile communications concept is a response to reduced government spending on healthcare for elderly populations, an epidemic that effects not only millions of seniors but the family and friends of those who are vulnerable and living alone. The easy to use pendant can be customized to call up to 3 designated numbers, assuring that loved ones have access to 24 hour support at the push of a button.

Designer: Tom Harries


  • Ray says:

    So this is merely a cell phone with a three number limitation? If you’ve the time to turn and press the button on this device, you have the time to hit speed dial on your phone.

  • carl says:

    the cradle is massive. whats wrong with a mobile?

  • Tom says:


    Many people of an older age or with cognitive difficulties can find it difficult to operate mobile telephones and do not require additional functionality found in most mobiles. This design seeks to address these issues by concentrating on providing one core function: establishing contact with those who can help in a time when the user might be in distress. By positioning the device outside clothing with a strap and clip a call may be made with only one hand – crucial if in distress or injured.

    It is hoped that this instinctive activation sets this design apart.

    With regards to the call selection:
    By design, one caller is always selected on the dial (24/7 care line). The other numbers are provided to make the device more useful to the user in an “everyday” sense, or so that in a scenario where reaching a family member or friend is more appropriate than contacting a care team they may do so.

    I hope this answers your questions.

    Tom (the designer)

  • Mick says:

    Hi Tom
    Can this device notify those designated for help to the individual’s location (eg: if my grandfather is walking his dog through a park and has an episode, does triggering the Medical Emergency Necklace pinpoint where he is or only that he’s in trouble)?

    Thanks Mick

  • Mario Cisneros says:

    The main problem would be that most people would forget to recharge the battery, but if they did charge it it means they have to take the device off their neck to do so and place it into that pretty but massive and little functional cradle, what happens if an emergency comes while the device is charging and away from the user? what happens when they travel? will they have to take the massive charger with them?
    While in distress trying to figure out the process to select a number then call can be very complex, a simpler method would be required.

  • I’m a little confused on how to select the caller. You rotate the outer ring? Or the middle white part? Wouldn’t it be more intuitive to just have 3 buttons?

  • Tom says:

    Mick – as this concept is based on technology (GPRS) used in current mobile devices it is plausible that a location could be pinpointed. Additionally personal details such as medical history and contact details of friends close by could be displayed when a call comes through to a care line. Some infrastructure would need to be developed to support the concept.

  • Tom says:

    Mario – Charging the device is an important issue. If the device is flat then it is no use to anyone. The most likely scenario is that the user would charge the device overnight – and you will notice that when charging the device button is upward facing and accessible to the user (should they need to reach out to their bedside table and make a call). The raised height of the dock aims to place the device in a prominent position when surrounded by clutter on worktops and bedside tables that could make the button difficult to access.

    For travel a smaller cradle could be designed.

  • Tom says:

    SamLi – One caller is always selected (caller I shown above). This caller should be the care provider who is available 24/7 and is therefore the most reliable. So when the user wants to make a call all they do is press and hold the white button (the whole front face). This button also rotates to select other (secondary) callers, who could be family or friends and be used in a less threatening scenario (asking for directions or just for a chat for example). To clarify it is the white face that rotates. Having 3 buttons would require the user to look down and select the correct button which could mean selecting the wrong caller or a caller who does not answer (or at least that is my rationale).

    A explanatory video is currently in production.

  • Xiang says:

    Please do have a look at Philips Lifeline Tom:)You may get more inspiration.

  • Susan says:

    I think this looks great. I studied the use of mobile phones and older users I found there to be many, many problems found with current designs. This product allows the user to use it as an emergency alarm, as well as additional functionality to contact there nearest and dearest.

    I think people who haven’t spoken to older people and seen the problems first hand that they experience wont appreciate this design.

    It does a job simply and easily, looks clean and cool without the stigma of ugly older person specific mobiles and emergency contact devices. Great work Tom 🙂

  • Joy says:

    i agree. My father once needed to contact us and didn’t have his cell phone. We talked about getting him one of these types of necklaces but they didn’t offer the option to call a relative or friend, which was all that was needed in his case. I love this design sooo much because you do add that capability.

  • For people of an older age group this makes a lot of sense! Very cool design!


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