Innovating through Inclusive Design Workshop
Hong Kong, 31 August 2008
Irene is a student and wheelchair user. With her help, the team isolated a range of issues and from these and discussed 20 concepts. Two were chosen for further exploration.
The team extended the design scenarios by imagining the persona of Evan, an office worker who, like Irene, spends many hours at his computer, also, others personas such as long haul air passengers and long distance drivers. All share the same need for a device that provides ergonomically sound posture and comfort, to alleviate long periods of being seated and avoid back pain or, in extreme cases, pressure sores.
Their second concept of a rainbelt also considered the dual scenario of Irene and Evan.
Concept 1 - Underair
The team came up with the idea of underwear with inbuilt air pockets that can inflate to provide comfort. Taking advantage of Irene's habit of pushing upwards and shifting position periodically to alleviate tiredness and promote circulation, the team envisaged a system that would fulfil these requirements.
The inbuilt pockets of Underair would be activated by pushing a button and raising the body to inflate the cushioning. The pockets could be deflated by doing the reverse. The material would be cool and breathable, wicking moisture away to reduce the discomfort experienced with traditional foam or gel cushions.
Concept 2 - Rainbelt
Hong Kong is subject to sudden summer showers that pose problems for wheelchair users like Irene who cannot use an umbrella.
The team proposed a lightweight raincoat with a hood integrated into a rainbelt and worn around the waist. It would have a release mechanism for quick access. The shape would take into account wheel clearance. An alternative version would cover the joystick interfaces on electric wheelchairs which are vulnerable to water. The version for Evan would be a lightweight cape with a hood that could be rolled and stowed in a pocket.