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.

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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:

DSC_2842

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.

xv

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.

DSC_2844

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

dsc_2839.jpg

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

(Amazon)

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

DSC_2835

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.

DSC_2836

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:

DSC_2837

 

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.

DSC_2818

 

 

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?

Handles
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!

Summary:
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.

Thermotherapy and Vibration Therapy

Using therapy to reduce arthritic pain is another way that can help those who suffer with every day tasks. My research has led me to vibration and heat therapy (Thermotherapy), where the user would wear something that would provide heat or vibration to the joints in their hands or feet to relieve any pain.

Thermotherapy:

It has been proven that alternating between heating and cooling pads can relieve issues that are caused by arthritis (101Arthritis.com) 

 

Heat glove.jpg

(completecareshop.co.uk)

The glove above, called “Thermoskin Thermal Arthritic Gloves” are made of thermal fabric to keep the hands warm, whilst leaving the finger tips out to provide the user with grip and mobility whilst wearing them.

Some forms of Thermotherapy use heated pads to warm.

(ventureheat.com)

Venture hear uses FIR (Far Infra Red) Technology pads to directly send warming infra red waves to the effected muscles in the hand to provide the heat needed to relive pain from that area. This work by getting the FIR radiation deep into the muscle, in some cases down to the bone, to increase heat and improve the blood flow through that area of the body. The following happens when using this technology:

  • Accelerate healing time
  • Reduces stress
  • Increase blood flow to tissue and muscles
  • Provide extended pain relief
  • Increase ease of movement
  • Provide relief from muscle spasms                                                         (ventureheat.com)

More versions of this product are below:

 

Vibration Therapy:

The other form of product therapy comes in the form of vibrations. Similar to Thermotherapy, vibration therapy work by to increase the blood flow and reducing  pain of any muscle groups effected by arthritis; however this wok by covering he effect area with a controlled amount of vibration. Firstly, “applying gentle vibrations to stimulate muscles and ligaments to increase blood circulation. Secondly, the vibrations serve as a sensory distraction, disrupting pain signals that are constantly traveling from your body to your brain and replacing them with gentle, massaging sensations” (http://www.brownmed.com/our-brands/intellinetix/).

These products above are for the hand, elbow and knee and use vibration technology to help with muscle pain. There are made from cotton materials and are said to be a replacement for taking large amounts of medication.

vib glove 2

(http://www.brownmed.com/product/intellinetix/vibrating-gloves/)

As shown in the image above, this design has been done to make it easy to use and comfortable to wear:

  • Vibrations aid in pain relief
  • Provides mild compression to enhance blood circulation
  • Anti-slip design features positive affirmations
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Cotton material allows skin to breathe
  • Available in Small, Medium and Large.

In Summary:

This technology has showed me that I could incorporate heating and vibration in my designs to make using my product easier and more comfortable for the user. When a final design is reached, further research will be needed to see how I can put this technology into it and possibly combining the different kinds of therapy depending on what kind of product i make. For instance if I am to design a jug for carrying water, using vibrations won’t necessarily be the smartest idea as it could lead to lots of spilled liquids!

The Power of Facebook and Surveys

So from the previous group meeting, I was informed that good, credible research, was needed from the people who my product will be aimed at. I decided to create a survey and reach out to those who live with arthritis. Here is the link to this survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FMYB3DJ

I was informed that the research is only credible if at least 30 responses were obtained from the survey, so I reached out to a group on Facebook for those who suffer with arthritis (for the purpose of this research they requested to stay anonymous at this point). because of the power of Facebook I was able to amass 151 response, 131 of those were people who suffered with arthritis. This is what their responses showed me:

131 respond

The main focus of the survey was to find out who was the main sufferers and whether or not this primary research matched with the statistics of the secondary research. This stated that those most vulnerable were woman aged 45 and over, my survey proved this, that the majority of those responses were females over the age of 45.

The next question related to the products they use every day and which of these caused them issues every time they were used. This is what my survey showed:

136 prodcuts

It shows that the use of 26 different every products are effected by the lack of fine motor skills in arthritis, with most of the respondent saying that they are unable or find it difficult to use openers, cutlery and squeezing bottles.

The final part of the survey, I wanted to understand what gross motor movements were effected by the illness. Gross motor skills are the opposite to fine motor, where they require large muscle groups like the legs, and the arms for such things as walking, standing, and sitting down. My survey showed the following:

39 motor

The results showed that the majority of sufferers struggled with using the stairs, going for a wash of simply getting out of bed in the morning.

The next stage of my design process will be developing this research into ideas that could solve the issues raised by this survey. From the feedback given to me, I must develop a wide range of concepts that will cover all areas of the project. Looking at things that could help with both fine and gross motor skills.

Further feedback from toady’s group meeting was the following:

  • Think future thinking – what about using robotics and new age technology, and bringing it into the every day.
  • Understanding women’s perspective if designing for females – do woman have a lower grip on object compared to men in general.
  • Go an get some clay models of hands for research.
  • Produce an info graphic for the research I have acquired.

All of this will be thought of for the next portion of this project as I aim to further understand the issues raised in my research and best to solve them.

Material Research

Almost a eureka moment thanks to Dycem materials! Dycem is a polymeric compound that uses non-woven fabric coated with the non-slip properties. Below is collection of images of Dycem and what products the material is already part of.

Dycem images.png

(Dycem, 2017)

Dycem is :

  • Non-Slip
  • Long Lasting
  • Antimicrobial
  • Simple to use
  • Non Toxic
  • Latex Free

This makes it the perfect material to help reduce the need for fine motor skills in the hands of those suffer with arthritis. The simplest idea I can think of here is to replace all appliance handles with this material so that less grip is needed to just hold it. This material is also fairly affordable as the reel shown in the top right hand images is only £11.99 and can be cut into any shape desired by the user (www.nrshealthcare.co.uk).

 

Another positive for this materials is the Antimicrobial properties of the product that can  be made by combing Silver ion-based antimicrobial products from BioMaster that can stop the effect of many forms of harmful organisms (https://dycem-cc.com/).

It is also shown that Dycem strive to produce materials that are environmentally friendly that can be recycled, add that to the estimated long life of the product and it can assumed that this product with create a sustainable future for all involved. “At Dycem, we are committed to always improving our manufacturing processes, and we are striving towards making our products as recyclable as possible.” (https://www.dycem-cc.com/environment)

(iStock, 2017) / (Allfreedownload, 2017) / (Tangent, 2017) 

The only negative for me is the aesthetic of the material, I can see that when added to certain products it gives them a clinical feel and this may lead to some people who suffer from arthritis to not want t purchase these items due to the fact that it make other more aware that they are suffering, which in some cases can be a psychologically distressing matter.

no medical

(Mozdex, 2017)  

So to conclude, I have learned that this product is Affordable, environmentally friendly, improves grip and can easily be implemented with hygienic properties. Moving on from this I aim to develop my idea with this material in mind and see if it would be possible to implement the material without making anything look to medical.

Product Analysis and Fine Motor Skills

I think I have found what could be known as competitors of the grip market. OXO good grips are currently one of the leading brands that focus on perfect ergonomics for the average person, not necessarily those witch arthritis, but better ergonomics is always the way forward for any product.

OXO brand (John Lewis, 2017) (Amazon, 2017) (Lakeland, 2017) (House of Fraser, 2017)

The collage above shows the range of products that OXO currently have. It’s clear to she that the usability and ergonomics have been thought through in detail and after purchasing and using a few of their products I managed to find the following:

  • Excellent Ergonomics
  • Great H.C.D features
  • Light weight
  • Easy to read
  • Relieves excess strain on the wrist
  • Simplistic Design

However this was countered by the fact that I could find any reference to the sustainable factors of these products and that I am left to conclude that they are made from non-recyclable materials through and non-recyclable manufacturing processes. On top of this the usability of these products for people with arthritis would not be ideal. This is due to the amount of fine motor skills that are still required to operate the products.

Fine motor skills are the small movements that are done done by the body, an example of this is using cutlery or moving small objects. These all relate to the joints in the fingers, toes and wrists. (BabyCenter.com) . In arthritis, it has been proven that there is a distinct loss of fine motor skills (Dr Kari Kauranen) This means that the motion of picking up and using the OXO products or any other brand of kitchen utensil would cause difficulty for those whose fine motor skills have been decreased.

hand held up(MedicalDaily.com)

Another set of products that I have found in my research, use a simple strap to attach handled products to the users hand so that the user does not have to apply much grip to their utensils.

(GripSolutions, 2017) / (EasyHold, 2017)

These products work best at the removing this need fr a lot of fine motor skills. as well as the following:

  • A great multi functioning use.
  • Simple to use.
  • Comfortable ergonomics.

However just like above, these products come with some negatives:

  • Affordability.
  • Have to be put onto painful hands.
  • Restricted to things with simple handles.

The GripSolutions handle is on the market for approximately £30 and the easy hold stands at approximately £38. This made me wonder why these products have to be so expensive for what they are and if it would be possible to find a material and process that could make it more accessible for those who cant afford much.

Dull light bulb

(Cinelight.com)

So here we are the first stage of ideas coming along, my light bulb feels a little dull at this moment so this must improve with more ideas!

From this research it is clear that I must find a way to change how objects are used and why we need to grip things to use them? The solution should fully consider the sustainable applications and what happens to the product at the end of life.