Students work with DEMAND to design products aiding people with disabilities

DEMAND hosted a project in collaboration with second year BSc (Hons) Product Design students giving them a free reign into designing a product that aided people with a mental or physical disability.

DEMAND have recently hosted a project in collaboration with second year BSc (Hons) Product Design students giving them a free reign into designing a product that aided people with a mental or physical disability.

The students were briefed to research and create a new or develop an existing product which had to take into account and address the needs of disabled individuals. The solution had to be suitable and cost-effective for low volume manufacturing and they had to consider applicable safety standards, ergonomics and anthropometric data throughout.

Students had a three-week period to produce their designs, where they had to prepare a ‘pin-up’ presentation to present to a panel of judges from DEMAND, followed by a question and answer session. The students presentation had to include: a feasibility book, an A3 sketchbook (with concept and development sketch sheets), an A3 presentation board, A3 user interaction storyboard and sketch models. The students had a ten minute window to present their ideas.

After much deliberation DEMAND chose the winning group that designed a horse riding saddle for therapy use with children with cerebral palsy. The design was created by BSc (Hons) Product Design students Adam Harris, Oliver Hamer, Samuel Bowdler and James Payne.

Daniel Tyas, an employee of DEMAND, said afterwards: "DEMAND chose the paediatric therapy saddle as this year’s winner due to its real-life potential to benefit disabled children by offering them more access to a previously identified therapy method, that could result in an improved standard of living. The project was well researched with a clearly identified problem, allowing the team to develop a well-designed and effective solution."

One creator of the design, Samuel Bowdler, said afterwards: "We looked at a few different ways that children deal with cerebral palsy and we were intrigued by therapeutic horse riding with the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA). When the child rides on the horse, the heat and movement of the horse helps to relax the spastic muscles in the child’s legs. We decided to re-engineer an existing saddle that would allow the child to ride on the horse securely with their legs in contact with the horse; whilst being lightweight and comfortable for the horse.

"The most interesting part of the project was having to design the saddle so that it could be made with easily bought in parts. It was interesting as it made us think twice about how the saddle could be made using reduced costings. We did this by taking apart a used and unwanted saddle that we were given for free, and used it as the main building block of our design.

"One of the main skills that I have gained from this project is a better understanding of research methods. As we were thrown in at the deep end, we had to go out and find a user and then discover as much about them as possible through conversations charities as well as medical documents. Another skill that I have developed is that of teamwork. Working with a team throughout this project allowed me to work on the way that I communicate with my peers as well as how I present my ideas to them."

Students work with DEMAND to design products aiding people with disabilities

Published on 25 April 2016
  • Category: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418