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The patient room of the future is redesigned in such a way to improve patient outcomes, reduce infections, streamline healthcare deliver, and also to look a lot cooler.
By Spooky on July 23rd, 2013
Angel Sanguino, an electronics technician from Caracas, Venezuela, who last year lost his left arm in a motorcycle accident, has recently been awarded a Prize for Science, Technology and Innovation, after he manged to build an ingenious robotic arm that allows him to perform a series of useful tasks.
33-year-old Angel Sanguino was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by a speeding car engaged in illegal street racing. He was taken to the emergency room, and doctors were forced to amputate his left arm from the shoulder. It was a devastating blow for the talented electronics technician who worked for a prestigious computer part manufacturer, as he could no longer do his job with just one arm. The orthopedist told Angel he should accept his disability and move on with his life, but he had other plans. While in intensive care recovering from the surgery, severe internal organ damage and fractured legs, Sanguino learned he was going to become a father soon, and that gave him the strength to fight for his life and make sure he was able to provide for his family. Three months after his accident, the young Venezuelan used his experience as a cartoonist to design a prosthetic arm that would allow him to repair electronic components just like before.
Read more at Oddity Central
Nice to see this Game Controller for the Physically Disabled. It is sure to help out many people. Caleb Kraft has made a new site for this project, check out The Controller Project. If you want to help out please get in tough with them!
“Custom gaming can mean a lot of things. They could be big easy buttons for someone with muscle control issues or they could be a fancy cockpit for someones favorite flight . Either way, off-the-shelf systems are disgustingly expensive and are often not quite what is needed for the job.”
By Damon Rose / July 16, 2013
In Gothenburg, Sweden, bars and restaurants with good disability access are being rewarded with beer instead of a more traditional certificate.
The specially brewed beer, dubbed CPA or cerebral palsy beer, is a hybrid of Indian pale ale and American pale ale and is described by the makers as "one that everyone will want to stock in their bar". The bottle features a stylised picture of a woman with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair.
The Gothenburg Cooperative for Independent Living (GIL) is behind the beer campaign and hopes to take discussion about disability to new audiences.
"We like to cause a stir and make people react and create feelings," says GIL's Anders Westgerd. "Disabled people are marginalised in media and hence you have to do something non-traditional to create feelings and make people angry."
Read more at BBC
By: Whitney Hill
Created: November 2012 / Posted: July 23, 2013
There is a problem. An epidemic, a sickness fragmenting our societies very fiber and woefully little is being done to eradicate it. This debilitating problem, plague to sanity, endangers over a third of the world’s population; the end is not nigh. I’m of course talking about the disease of the designers.
It can be argued that the sole purpose of a designer is to constantly create and destroy, which in turn creates a correlation with the individuals who purchase, use and discard what’s been generated. What the affluent designer assumes is needed for the community becomes implemented and unless a thorough user and market analysis is researched and taken into account, a flawed product becomes born. However, the imperfections of this bastard product (product of urban plans by architects, social structure by the lawmakers and government) at times become overlooked and instead scapegoated towards the ‘imperfections’ of the individuals who use them. I repeat, there is problem and it is with the ideology of the designer and their flawed product that alienates their users.
The unfortunate consequence of using flawed ideology to make decisions for the masses is usually paired in conjunction with flawed terminology. The words themselves are weighed heavy when they are inaccurately paired to an unfamiliar demographic. Basically, the more incorrect guesses and assumptions there are about a community, the higher chance that the words that are used to describe said community become inaccurate.
More harm is done when these particular labels not only begin to stick, but also used to define the individuals within the particular community. A good example of this is the phrase “deaf and dumb” which was coined by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. He concluded that since (inaccurately so) deaf people were incapable of being taught and lacked rational thinking, basic cognitive abilities, that they were a burden to society, an ideation that was encouraged by the design of the Greek empire. The unfortunate longevity of the phrase “deaf and dumb” far outlived Aristotle and has plagued the deaf community ever since.
Indeed, the ‘disabled’ communities are not the only ones being mislabeled. Almost every community that strays from the norm when it comes to race, gender or creed also becomes ill defined and therefore underdeveloped by designers who are unfamiliar. The needs are hardly ever then addressed.
When a design for an object, floor plan or legislation is actually considered from a non-biased perspective - leaving pre-conceived notions and poor definitions aside – the “objects escape the boundaries of categorization [and] they become wild, and like the wild card in a pack of cards, can be used to take on different values according to the state of play of the game.” Case in point, Apple’s iphone has been repeatedly praised by not only various ‘disabled’ communities (i.e. blind, deaf, autistic and cerebral palsy, to name a few) as well as the elderly community, but also by the already much designed for, mainstream market. A couple of the notable features include the software VoiceOver, which has been integrated with AssistiveTouch, Zoom and Maps and Guided Access. The inclusive features allow for easier access to map navigation (audio GPS tracker) and interpretation of text without depending solely on one’s personal mobility or technical understanding. The idea and word of “limitation” becomes rethought as a much broader user base is brought together. The age-old designer concept of different looking people needing to be segregated from one another other and forced to use only what’s available for them - starts to loose its appeal and thus becomes economically unviable for a companies success.
In turn, with many electronic devices on the market that are usually split between aesthetic and function, the iphone does become a rare case of a highly popularized and universally sought after product that actually includes good/inclusive design and interface. It should be noted that other companies start to base their business models after inclusive design if it is shown that it has been viable and finically successful for other companies (i.e. How Android phones are now heavily influenced by Apple’s inclusively designed iphone). The design can directly change corporate ideation, if done right.
The disease of the designers can be treated. It’s possible. The designer needs rehab, re-education. The remedy is surprisingly easy to understand. Simply by looking at the honest needs of the individuals within a specific group/demographic and designing an inclusive system that not only supports and empowers their community but the ‘mainstream’ as well, gets rid of conflicts dealing with lack of resources, improper handling, harmful terminology and destructive influencing of other communities. A higher quality of life is given to all members of society. A resuscitation of good design and designers can then be used to place the stepping-stones for a future of tolerance.
Student-built wheelchair runs indefinitely on solar
June 6, 2013
A solar-powered wheelchair designed by students at the University of Virginia has won first prize in a competition, Change My Life in One Minute, to mark World Cerebral Palsy Day. Entrants to the competition were asked to come up with an innovation that could make a significant difference to a person with a disability. The solar-powered wheelchair can run continuously powered only by the sun.
Apparently inspired by the folding roofs of convertible cars, students fitted a wheelchair with a custom-built 1-sq m (11-sq ft) solar panel which the team of students claims allows the wheelchair to travel indefinitely at 1 mph without drawing power from the battery.
At 5 mph, the wheelchair can run for 4.5 hours, which the students say is a range increase of 40 percent. They also point out that the panel brings the added benefit of providing shade to the user. The wheelchair is also fitted with USB ports for the charging of electronic newfangledom.
The team takes away a prize of US$20,000 which the team will use to perfect the chair, before shipping to Alper Sirvan in Turkey, who came up with the suggestion for the project. Any remaining prize money will be returned to United Cerebral Palsy.
In November 2010, inventor Haidar Taleb set out to cross the United Arab Emirates in a solar-powered wheelchair over the course of 11 days.
There's more technical info on the University of Virginia's wheelchair in the video below.
Source: University of Virginia
Read more at Gizmag
Kimberly Railey, USA TODAY
10:04 a.m. EDT July 14, 2013
While technology takes on a greater role in the college classroom, disability rights groups are seeking to ensure visually impaired students aren't left behind.
Jordan Moon graduated from Arizona State University last year with a lesson that may outlast his journalism and political science degrees: how to get help.
As a visually impaired student, some assignments, like newspaper designs, were nearly impossible to complete on his own.
"There are a lot of times where materials are way too print-featured and graphic-oriented that you have no choice but to get an aide," says Moon, who is legally blind. "Braille and software technology can only do so much."
Read the full story at USA TODAY
Healthcare Is Broken. And This Designer Thinks She Can Fix It
Healthcare is notorious for being technophobic, clunky and downright ugly. No one knows this better than Gretchen Wustrack, who is trying desperately to change that.
Wustrack, who leads the Active Health group at the design and innovation firm IDEO in San Francisco, has spent 12 years trying to give the healthcare sector a much needed facelift through design. Her approach is part of a growing movement called human-centered design, which aims to redefine how people experience healthcare by focusing on their specific needs.
She is uniquely qualified to do this, having worked with Google to redefine the search giant’s food strategy, with the pharmaceutical industry to modernize clinical trials, and with Kaiser to increase patient engagement. Much of her work deals with talking with people — getting to the nitty-gritty ofwhat they want and how they want to use different types of products. And that, she says, is what design is all about — understanding what people want. The problem with healthcare is that what patients, doctors and payers want is not always apparent, or complementary.
“There’s opportunity for design in healthcare in every nook and cranny,” she says. We sat down with her to learn more.
Gretchen Wustrack: Healthcare is kind of broken right now. There’s a lot of need for new thinking. That’s exactly where you bring design in – to think differently about a complex system and come up with fresh solutions. Our approach to design, which is human-centered, which is systemic, is exactly the right tool for deeply understanding the challenges, the people and finding new solutions.
I was brought up to think design was much more art, that it was about beautiful objects. It is that, but it’s also fundamentally about problem solving. It’s understanding where things can be better. That doesn’t mean things can’t be beautiful. I think that’s an incredible tactic for solving problems. If we can create beautiful products and desirable apps and things that just make us engage on a visceral level, that’s a tool for getting people to do what they need to do to be healthy.
Wired: What are the challenges to bringing good design to health care?
Wustrack: The big challenge is that you’ve got all these players intersecting. You’ve got regulatory agencies. You’ve got healthcare providers. You’ve got insurers. You’ve got patients. To move the needle is really a challenge. It’s about creating a common vision. The time is ripe to make some big changes. It’s not all going to happen in one fell swoop. I think it can happen in small ways. We might learn something from those smaller, more tailored experiences that can apply to the healthcare system at large.
I think that’s why there’s a real opportunity for startups. They’re identifying a need. They’re not trying to change the system in one fell swoop. They’re trying to meet the needs of a small group of patients or providers. If that works for that group of patients or those providers, or those insurers, then that becomes a bright spot that we can cultivate and spread hopefully.
Wired: How do you approach design in the context of health care? Is it designing better-looking products or better workflows within offices or hospitals?
Wustrack: It’s all that. I know it sounds really fuzzy, but I think that’s the power of design. It can tackle any – and all — of those challenges. We, as end users and potential patients, need solutions at every level, from the packaging our medication comes in to new healthcare services. What are the digital services that will help us become healthier faster? What are better experiences in the clinic or in the hospital? What are new ways physicians can communicate information to us that we’ll actually hear? Because most of the time they’re talking and we’re not picking it up.
We recently completed a project with a major pharmaceutical firm in the Bay Area to redesign theclinical trials system. That’s a big systemic challenge.
Wired: What was your approach to that?
Wustrack: One of the problems is this move from blockbuster drugs to a more personalized approach to medicine. They found that if they were to keep doing trials the same way, which has this incredible overhead, they’d go bankrupt. So it was about creating a more nimble system that could reach patients in more dispersed geographic areas. Keep those patients engaged throughout the trial so it lowers your recruiting requirements, basically make it a more distributed site model.
Read more at Wired
Cyborgs are here -- or, at least, they're in DARPA laboratories.
For a while now, the Defense Department agency, alongside civilian researchers, has been working to develop prosthetic limbs that can be controlled by the brains -- as in, the thoughts -- of their wearers.
And one of the most promising of those prosthetic devices, especially for near-term, practical application, has been something that emphasizes the "man" in "bionic man." (Or, of course, the "woman" in "bionic woman.") DARPA, through its Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program, has developed a prosthetic interface that relies on "targeted muscle re-innervation." TMR works, DARPA says, by essentially "rewiring nerves from amputated limbs," allowing the wearer of a given prosthetic to control the device with his or her existing muscles. The approach relies on signals, from nerves or muscles or both at the same time, to control the prosthetics and provide direct sensory feedback to the wearer. Limb to brain and back again.
Wearable robots, now lighter and more versatile, help people with paralysis become iron men and women
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2013, 5:18 PM
Still at least a year away from the market, the 27-pound Indego is the lightest of the powered exoskeletons. It snaps together from pieces that fit into a backpack. The goal is for the user to be able to carry it on a wheelchair, put it together, strap it on and walk independently. None of the products, including the Indego, are yet approved by federal regulators for personal use, meaning they must be used under the supervision of a physical therapist.
When he leans forward, the device takes a first step. When he tilts from side to side, it walks. When Gore wants to stop, he leans back and the robotic leg braces come to a halt. Gore uses forearm crutches for balance. A battery in the hip piece powers the motors in the robotic legs.