Zest for Leisure

The next industry run project, an interesting brief, a great opportunity, a lot of work and only 24 hours to do it.

The brief:
To design one of the following:

  • Garden Planter
  • Garden Arch
  • Piece of furniture

For one of these Markets:

  • Family Focused
  • Convenience Gardeners
  • Garden Prouds

We were informed that the design must consider flat packing, easy assembly and would primarily be made from pine wood, due the company’s standard materials.

How it all went:
As this was an independent design project, I decided it as best to try and combine each of the products to produce a full range of products. First off I wanted to see what the company were already producing and how I could develop the aesthetics to fit it with a new market.

z4l products
Figure 1

From this, I put together my own sketches to develop a range, based on form or combination of function through one product.


Figure 3

As shown here there was a drive to develop something that was new. An innovative idea, that look different to the standard garden furniture would add something to the market place, and hopefully engage with buyers on new level.

Using locally sourced materials.
From this I then thought about how slate is very nice and upmarket materials and that using this, could help to aim the product at the ‘garden proud’ market, having something that looks pleasing and long-lasting.
So how would Zest 4 Leisure obtain such slate? Through Welsh Slate, a company based in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda. Where high quality slate in quarried and can produce refined looking slate as shown below. This could be used to create nicely tiles sections in my design.

weslh slate
Figure 3


Presenting Ideas:
From the quick presentation that was given to the design team of the company, it was agreed to go forward with a modular design, that could incorporate all 3 products, with a range aesthetic.

A late night and a final concept:
Thanks to the late opening times at the university I was able to stay late to process that days research and develop a final concept. This was the outcome that was reached:

Figure 4

As you can see the design uses the ranged aesthetic, with each piece consisting of pine wood and slate. The range is: a fold away seat (middle), a raised planter bed (either side of the seat) and an archway (either end). The archways were the focal point of my design, with the image below showing how it consists of 3 panels with embedded slate. These panels are slotted together using a Mortise and Tenon joint and allows for flat packing. The top panel on the arch could also be used as the bed panel for the raised planter making it a more sustainable and more cost effective design.

Figure 5

Upon reflection, time was definitely my enemy on this project. As you can see I was unable to produce a fully developed flat packing range for all the products, nor was i able to produce situational image to show how the chair would work using ropes, and how the raised planter would be stabilised using correct fixtures. However, this project has been thoroughly enjoyable and a great insight into a different company with different values and products to others I have worked with. In the long term, given the chance, I would like to develop this idea and find out whether or not it would be plausible to manufacture for the market.


Figure 1: Hortweek.com. (2016). Zest 4 Leisure go double decker at Solex. [online image] Available at: https://www.hortweek.com/zest-4-leisure-go-double-decker-solex/retail/article/1401504 [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Figure 2: Image Authors Own

Figure 3: Welsh Slate Products. (2017). Slate flagstones and floor tiles – Welsh Slate Products. [online image] Available at: http://www.welshslateproducts.com/slate-flagstones-and-floor-tiles/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2018].

Figure 4: Image Authors Own

Figure 5: Image Authors Own


24 Hours of PDR

This was quite the experience! Given a brief, deliverables, a chance to win some cash and all to be done in 24 hours.

The brief:
To design a piece of wearable technology for release in Q1 of 2019. This must fit the market of one of 5 options. The group I was in decided the market of “Crime and Punishment” would have the most scope for a new design will a lot of idea already in place after the first hour of design.

The deliverables:
Were very flexible, giving us the freedom the design what we want. As it was only 24 hours, it was more to see how far we could push each other and a design within the time limit.

The prize:
£300 cash or an escape room day out for runner up!.

How it went:
So to start with our group, Callum, Todd, Mathew, Natalie and I went for crime and punishment as the brief, to develop this new wearable tech. Withing the first few hours, ideas were getting sorted and detailed market research was done to see where the gap in the market was. The main outcome was that rehabilitation was the key to bettering the life of convicts post prison sentence.

The research identified that housing each prisoner per year was approximately £32,510, which does not include court fees and labour fees, which can round this amount up to £90,000. Another figure that adds to this, is the amount of time, prisoners re-offend which again, adds a further £30,000-£90,000 a year for the housing of prisoners, standing at 59% of all UK prisoners will re-offend within the first 12 months of release.

Money gif
Figure 1

So it was obvious, Rehabilitate, Reeducate and get them back into society with a better mindset to helping the community and repaying the money that it cost to put them in in the first place. This will even stop the re-offence of a prisoner and save those high costs.

So how do we do this? More Research! This showed that prison life was distracting and lacked the necessary requirements for sensory stimuli and motivation. This was due to the many hurdles faced on the inside, with the high amounts of noise, leading to the lack of sleep, self worth and any determination to better themselves.

Figure 2

The solution:
Develop a wearable product for prisoners that can help them regain independence to motivate them, providing them with a way to reduce background noise and increase the chance of reconnected with society. So concept sketching and further research was done to define what we could class as wearable technology and how we could implement it into prison life.

Call Sketching
Figure 3

Figure 3 shows a sketch and development sheet, of a variety of wrist bands, ear clips, watches and similar that use current technology to store music, educational works and personal information. The device will allow the prisoner (on good behaviour) to upload all of this, to provide a reduction of background noise through music, personal motivation through messages from the outside and rehabilitation exercises buy listening to educational resources to make them better suited for society upon release. All of this will aim to reduce the amount of the re-offences that occur and save over £30,000 a year buy not having to house and provide labour for each prisoner.  This, in turn, may also reduce any over population that prisons may face today.

Interim Presentation:
From this presentation, we were informed that the research behind the idea shows excellent grounding and that the feasibility of this project was sound. However we needed to go back to drawing board in terms of product complexity, why does the prisoner need a band or watch to listen to music, why not simplify the design and re-imagine the headphones for prison use.

Final Design:

A new style of headphones, made from industrial, durable foam, with not externals components. All of this produces a simple to use design that can incorporate downloading software that is not weaponlizable.

Inmate Headphones
Figure 5

To make sure that prisoners can’t use the software in any illegal way, all the information would pass through a regulated VPN (virtual private network). As mention previously the materials used are light weight but durable and all of the components with be contained withing the device. This will stop the product from being used in a malicious way, with the internal components being inaccessible for any purpose other than what they are intended for.

So… The Outcome:
Runner up. Our team came 2nd, with information from the PDR team that the decision between us and 1st place team team was a difficult one to make.

Upon reflection this has been an incredible opportunity, being thrown into a brand new project with a daunting 24 hour deadline, pushed myself and my team to produce a prize winning outcome. The best part of this, was seeing what can be done in 24 hours. By pushing myself and my creative ability, the short timeline and interesting design processes really helped in producing a well thought out, and surprisingly plausible, design idea.

From this, I aim to start every new project with a new vigorous approach, applying a solid 24 hours to developing new concepts and a wide variety of ideas that can then be taken forward for the remaining time of the project. For this, the research sections should be done with a team of different minded people to produce an even wider variety of concepts; things, that on my own, would not have been thought of.

Figrue 1:  GIPHY. (n.d.). Free Money GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [Online Image] Available at: https://giphy.com/gifs/916t1VsCg2qoo [Accessed 27 Jan. 2018].

Figure 2: 14 Tips for Jumping entrepreneurship hurdles (2014). [Online Image] Avaiable at: https://www.inc.com/14-tips-for-jumping-entrepreneurships-hurdles.html [Accessed 27 Jane.218.].

Figure 3: Image Authors Own

Figure 4: Image Authors Own

Figure 5: Image Edited from: Man behind bars sitting in jail cell (u.d.). [Online Image] Available at:https://www.videoblocks.com/video/man-behind-bars-sitting-in-his-jail-cell-jcsboeb [Accessed 27 Jane.218.].

Developing Other Ideas:

From previous modeling, I finally have access to some Dycem material, so using this I have developed my jug models to incorporate this and see what effect it could have on the product.

dycem 2

Above is an image of the kinds of rolls of the materials that are currently on the market. The great thing about this material is that it easy to mould with a cutting the Dycem can be done efficiently with a pair of scissors.

To see the non-slip effect of this material, a colleague and I wanted to see how much pull it would take to remove a pool queue from his grip with the material.

Grip 1
Figure 1


Grip 2
Figure 2


Figure 1 and 2 shows the pool cue with no Dycem applied and my colleague holding the cue with a light grip. As you can see I was able to slide the cue out of his grip with little effort. Figure 3 shows the Dycem being applied.

Grip 3
Figure 3

My colleague then applied the same amount of grip as previous. He even says that he can feel a stronger grip on the cue, even though he applied the same level of gripping force as the previous test.

Figure 4 below shows that even after me pulling, the only thing is was moving was the person holding the cue and I was unable to move slide the cue itself out of his grip.

Grip 4
Figure 4


These images shown above are the first developed model of my jug idea, removing the handle all together and simply using Dycem as the gripping point of the jug. This would remove any need for the user to grip onto a handle and the Dycem would provide enough friction so that the user cold tilt the jug with at enough of an angle to decant the liquid inside.

Asking for feedback on this product I was met with response like: What about weight, wont be too heavy to lift when it is full of water? and What about heat, wont it burn if its filled with boiling liquids?

More Research:

So to do help me understand the capabilities of this material a little further, I attached a sheet of Dycem plastic to a pre-existing jug design, to see if incorporating some sort of handle would help:


I then put boiling water into the jug and asked another colleague to pour the water from the jug into a cup.

Figures 5, 6 and 7 shows the user pouring the water into the cup. This was done slowly as the user thought the grip wouldn’t hold if done too fast. Figure 7 shows the angle at which the jugs grip started to fail. This was not due to the materials lack of grip but the fact the weight of the jug itself has shifted over the point of its centre of gravity.

The following were more comments given by my colleague:

  • The heat of the boiling water was bearable but over time and more use it was getting uncomfortable, so using thicker Dycem to remove excess heat would be beneficial.
  • Having the handle there was good as it provide support for the hand whilst using the jug, so having something to at least lock in index finger is needed.
  • The Dycem material would need to cover enough of the jug to fit the top range of hand sizes.
  • Pouring was possible but without the handle the correct angle couldn’t be achieved.


Another Development:

These images shows this developed idea and includes the following:

  • A support ‘handle’ so that the fingers can easily slide underneath and be supported when operating the jug.
  • A strip of Dycem on the rear of the jug to cover the palm of then hand, providing grip and stability for the user.
  • A deep enough area so that people with larger hands can use the jug.

Again collecting feedback from colleagues, here are a few things that need to be worked on for the next development:

  • Consider width of the Dycem material to allow grip on the fingers and thumb not just the palm
  • Think of the material underneath and how it will attach to the materials.
  • Look at the handle and see if it can be made more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Could the handle be made to fit the hand perfectly for the user?

This product need further development to come to a much better conclusion and getting a response from those who suffer from arthritis would be beneficial in finding out how they would use the product.

Understanding Arthritic Grip

So this time i really wanted to understand what it wold be like to have arthritis, or ate least a reduced amount of grip in my hands. From my research I found simply making a fist was difficult as these images show:

Curling Figiners

The image circle in Blue shows what the doctor demonstrated for the patient to copy. The images circle with Red are the patients hands. It shows that the joints in patients hands were unable to curl completely and listening to the original video lined here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNLfa9d5aEs) the patient was dealing with some pain when attempting to do this task.

Making a fist

The same issue was raised here, where the doctor demonstrated a fist to the patient, but when the patient attempted to make a fist, the grip was almost non existent as the doctor was able to fit 2 fingers into the hand where the grip should be at its highest.

From this i wanted to see what it would be like, to not be able to grip things as I usually do:

Removing Grip:

Figure 1 and 2 above show how my usual grip can open this jar with ease, Figures 3, 4 and 5 shows my device made from a fidget spinner and elastic bands. As shown the gadget seriously decreased my ability to make a fist, even just curling my fingers to grab anything caused an issue and the release of my finger caused minor pain as my joints tried to lock up into position.

So I moved on and attempted to open a jar:

Figures 6, 7 and 8 above showed my attempting to open the jar in different ways, first using my fingers which wasn’t very good as my finger quickly warmed up and that meant the increased sweating made me lose grip. I tried to the grip it as usual but this caused minor pain in my fingers. Then I tired using my palm, this again wasn’t very good and I was causing sweat and losing grip rapidly. As shown in figure 9 below, this task was not impossible but after opening the jar I realised that it had taken me much longer than usual and i was left with a sore sensation in my hand.

Jar 8
Figure 9

Figure 10 even shows that using my pinky finger and my thumb was better than using my three usually much stronger fingers:

jar 9
Figure 10


Ulnar Drift:
From this I thought that there isn’t just one form of arthritic deformity in the hand, Ulnar drift is another major problem. This is a deformity that causes swelling of the thumb and fingers and makes the hand bend toward towards the pinky as shown below:

UlnarDeviationlabel (http://www.ohmyarthritis.com)

So in an attempt the replicate this, I moved my device from my three stronger fingers to my pinky as shown in Figures 11 and 12 below:

From this I wanted to see if was possible to open that same jar that I was able to earlier:

Figures 13 and 14 above show that was possible to do so; however this process took much longer and figure 15 is blurry because of my shaking hand, caused by the increased amount of pain. This was due to more pressure being put over the weaker joints in the hand and with the pull back from my device, it simple made the opening of the jar very difficult.

Their are currently products out their that aim to remove this issue:

This “Polycentric Hinged Ulnar Deviation Splint™” from (ohmyarthritis) has been made using A splint to stabilize the hand and fingers. This helps reduce the pressure which helps to reduce the discomfort. This in turn allows the user to make a fist as shown in figure 18 above.
Maybe this technology is what I need to further research, to take this and adapt it into a new kind of product.

Tape and a participant:
For the next stage of this research i asked a friend to give me feedback from this process. To do so i applied a small amount of tape around each of his joints in his hand to simulate the lack of mobility caused by arthritis:

Taped up 1
Figure 19

Figure 19 shows his left hand strapped up by tape on each joint, the initial comment from him was “my joints fell restrained” showing that this demonstration works at reducing grip in the hands.

Figure 20 shows the participant pouring water from the jug into a mug:

Taped up 3
Figure 20

His comments were:

  • The tape made it harder to operate jug
  • Not being able to bend joints made it hard to hold handle
  • Maybe the handle is not the problem but the device
  • Could a cantilever system be put in place?

This idea of a cantilever would solve a lot of issues, so that heavier the product is that more it will push down. Maybe a jug can be made so that the more liquid it has in it, the easier it will be to poor and the less the user will have to lift it by to allow in to poor.


The main thing I have taken away from this exercise is that the grip given by arthritic people can’t be made much better without the use of expensive products or medication. This has made me think that the products being used should not be gripped with a handle but have a place where the hand can be inserted. For instance jugs, jars anything that requires being picked up should have a handle that allows for arthritic people to just slide their hand into it to operate, to remove any need for grip at all.

Branding Exercise

From my research survey into popular brands, the following were the top 5 given when asked the question: What kind of kitchen brand do you prefer to use in your house?

  • Oxo Good Grips
  • ECover
  • JosephJoseph
  • Miele
  • Russel Hobbs

From these brand I gathered a collage of images for each and from my perspective I could see that this minimalist, contemporary style of design is what people liked to see. The use of repeating colours or a single colour and the same materials to enhance a brand is something I am quite interested in. When designing my own products, a cross branding feature could be involved to help a product look less medical.

The following image is a collection of words that were gathered from a branding exercise with my piers. I asked them the question, what you see this brand what 3 words would you use to describe them?

Brand All

This backed up my initial thoughts of using colour and materials to enhance branding. What i noticed wasn’t there, was any word relating to medical or clinical. This was perfect because when designing a product for the less able, the aesthetics tend to be clinical and not very nice to look at. I aim to stop this from happening by using the wording from this exercise in my own designs.

Using Clay to Understand Grip

The best thing about clay is that it is very easily to mould with. This exercise was to understand my own grip, the grip of an able bodied person. The reason for this was to create a model from my own hand:


This was the outcome of this exercise, no its not a skull and bones. These models above were made from my own grip and an attempt to understand the kinds of grips that are given by those who suffer from arthritis. Since I do severe arthritis this test s done based on the following grips from my research:

hand grips.png

(capalabanaturalhealth.com.au / rheumatologistdelhi.com / girlishh.com / joint-pain-expert.net)

Firstly, this model represents the best grip I could give showing that all of my fingers and my thumb could put force into the mould.


Secondly, this model gives an impression of a person who’s index and middle finger had reduced grip. So what if a handle was made bespoke for that person to have a “resting” spot where the index finger rested on this to remove the amount of force that would be needed to from a stronger grip.


Lastly this model is an impression of someone who’s ring and pinky finger is completel curled in known as ’boutonniere deformity’ (http://www.joint-pain-expert.net/rheumatoid-arthritis-hand.html). So what if a handle could be made bespoke for them so that these finger did have to go under any strain at all?

In Summary:

I believe that a lot of arthritic pain can be countered by created bespoke handles of the use that will consider their person deformities and combat them in a way that assists the use of day to day objects. Imagine having a set of utensils and devices that has a handle perfectly formed for your hand? It will be much easier to use and learning how to use it in the first place will be self-explanatory!

How will this work? If personal mouth guards can be made to protect teeth, why not use the same technology and materials to create these bespoke handles? As explained by the infographic below:

gum shielf(http://www.healthandcare.co.uk/opro-mouthguards/opro-junior-mouthguard.html)




Modeling and Ideas

For this weeks group meeting it was time to show my ideation stages and how I have used my research to devise my own concepts! This is a list of some of my favourite ideas that went to the the modeling stage:

Automated opener


This simple idea comes from not being able to open Jars. As you can see, the white section on the top would be placed on a jar, where the blue holders will grip the jar. Rotating the jar from the lid will open the jar and mean that no force will be needed from the user to access the contents of the jar.

jar open


I am aware that their is already a product that can do this on the market, however this product is quite large and I would like to research if it is possible to reduce the size and give it another function other that just to open jars!

The black marks on the inside of my concept are their to remove the seals from milk bottles and the like. Below is an example of this:

(Enercon Industries Ltd, Braineet)

As you can see by the comedic image on the right, this is something that even able bodied people find frustrating and maybe my device will be able to open the jar or bottle and remove the seal, which with remove any of these things being an issue!

Extending jar opener


So here we have another device for opening jars, however this still requires the user to apply force to it, but less force. The contact point between jar lid and opener would be made from non slip material which will dramatically decrease the amount of force needed to take of the lid.


Then for those who struggle with rotating their wrists, the adapter can be attached to the end of the handle to provide leverage on the device. The removes the amount of rotation needed on the wrist, thus helping the less able to open the jar:



Helpful Robot
Below is a quick model of a little, dual tracked robot. This robots purpose is to move around a work surface, whether that be a desk or kitchen top, or on the floor and move small objects around so that the user does not need to. This will reduce the amount of mobility that the user has to do around the house and may provide some much needed pain relief on leg and foot joints by not needing to walk around as much.




The talking tablet box
Never forget to take your tablets again! 

The idea here is that people with arthritis have to take lots of medication during their week. The basic design of this tablet box already exists; however these concept will have a small computer built into the base with the concept on the right having a sensor. The purpose of the computer is to keep track of the days of the week and with a small inbuilt speaker the device will be remind the user (at the time of the day necessary) to take their medication. Then depending on which day it is, the sensor will detect when the is ready to open the box and will open the box on the correct day.

The slanted design on the left is there for ease of use. The computer will remind the user, the sensor would open the box and the slanted design will aid the user from having to complete rotate the box to remove the medication from the box.

The automated chair / bed / bath
This concept may remove the need to walk around the house entirely!

The idea here comes from the comments that people with arthritis find it difficulty to get out of bed, off the sofa or go for a bath. This 3 sectioned design with use an automatic, hydraulic system to stand the person up, sit the down, lie them down and with developments this could contain some sort of system that allows them to go up and down stairs easily.

£239.20 (Recliner, 2017)                        £5994.00 (Alpine HC, 2017)

These designs are already used in the market, the one on the left is a reclining sofa that can lift the legs of the user and recline them to a comfortable position. The products on the right is an entire bed that can go from lying completely flat to sat-up positions.

These designs are great at what they do, but come with quite a price tag as shown above. What if  my design could incorporate these ideas at a much more affordable price with more functions built into it?

The concept here uses magnets to help the user pick up new devices in their house.

As you can see, the top images show the user inserting the handle onto a mock up, compatible jug. The 3rd image shows the jug being lifted up by the user, using the handle.

From this final concept I thought:
Why not just get rid or grip?
So below is the same mocked up jug, but only using the palm of the hand to lift the jug.

Of course the issues here are, what if boiling water was in the jug, wont that burn the hands of the user?
So then use non heat inducting materials with a non slip surface that will allow for the best use of the jug with better grip for the user and higher functionality!

From this ideation, I aim to develop these models. This will help me decided which of these ideas is worth perusing and what else i could add to these designs to make them the best versions possible.