Is Your Elderly Dog Facing Issues While Walking? This Walking Aid Was Designed For You

As our beloved furry companions age, they may encounter challenges during their strolls that hinder their once effortless mobility. Recognizing the unique needs of senior dogs facing walking-related health issues, 3 designers have unveiled an ingenious solution – the Steady walking aid. This seatbelt-inspired device not only provides vertical support to assist elderly dogs in their walks but also incorporates cutting-edge technology for data analysis, ensuring a holistic approach to the well-being of our canine friends.

Designers: Jungmin ParkChaewon Lee and Seungha Baek

The foundation of Steady lies in its innovative design, inspired by the structure of a seatbelt. Unlike traditional walking aids that can be cumbersome and restrictive, Steady offers a flexible range of motion while prioritizing comfort, freedom of movement, and adaptability to different terrains for senior dogs. The strap design mimics the safety mechanisms of a seatbelt, cradling the dog’s belly from behind and allowing unhindered walking.

Adjusting the length of Steady is a breeze, thanks to a simple turn of the knob, accommodating dogs of various sizes effortlessly. The device seamlessly integrates with joint-protective clothing, serving as both a walking aid and a harness, streamlining the preparation process before a walk. The strap part of Steady stretches and contracts like a seatbelt, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit for both the dog and the handler. In the event of a sudden rebound, the walking aid tightens securely, preventing accidents and ensuring the safety of our furry companions.

Steady introduces a practical feature that allows it to stand securely by pushing the brake, providing a convenient break for the dog and its owner during their walk. This innovative brake mechanism adds an extra layer of versatility to the device. Moreover, the supporting structure can be rotated for convenient storage after use, making Steady a hassle-free companion for both indoor and outdoor activities.

Complementing the physical product, the Steady app takes the concept of canine care to the next level. By analyzing and presenting information about the dog’s walking patterns, owners can gain valuable insights into their pet’s well-being. The app becomes an essential tool for identifying potential issues that may not be immediately apparent in the pet’s regular behavior, facilitating proactive care for aging dogs.

Getting ready for a walk with Steady is a simple and quick process, requiring just three easy steps. The back height of the device ranges from 250mm to 450mm, ensuring that it caters to the varying needs of different breeds and sizes of senior dogs.

Steady represents a perfect solution that addresses the unique challenges elderly dogs face during their strolls. With its innovative design, safety features, and analytical capabilities, Steady emerges as a practical companion that enhances the quality of life for both senior dogs and their caring owners. As we celebrate the bond between humans and their canine companions, Steady stands as a testament to the power of design and technology in ensuring the well-being of our furry friends in their golden years.

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MedEasy: A Medicine Box That Reminds The Elderly Of Their Dosages

MedEasy, a thoughtful medicine box designed for the elderly, aims to address the challenges faced by seniors in managing their medications independently, focusing on regions in India with a significant population of elderly individuals living alone, such as Tamil Nadu and Nagaland.

Designer: Tarun Pahadiya

The primary goal of the MedEasy project is to create a product that serves as a reliable companion for the elderly, helping them remember, manage, and stock their medicines efficiently. With a focus on addressing the loneliness prevalent among seniors living alone, the product aims to contribute to the well-being of this demographic, which constitutes 5.7% of senior citizens in India.

MedEasy primarily caters to elderly individuals who struggle with proper medication adherence due to memory issues or limited motor activities. This includes elderly family members, individuals living alone with forgetfulness concerns, and those dealing with Alzheimer’s issues. Secondary users encompass caretakers, including nurses, young family members, doctors, and NGO helpers who interact with the product to support the primary users.

Conducting extensive market research revealed key insights, emphasizing the importance of addressing sensory degradation with age, monitoring proper medication dosage, reducing dependence on others for medication, and creating a positive and engaging process for medication adherence. Additionally, the elderly often avoid taking their prescribed doses consciously, necessitating reminders and easy refill and dispensing mechanisms, however, I believe there could be a more emotional approach to motivating them to take their dosages which can be explored, rather than just reminders if they avoid them on purpose.

Inspired by the “less but better” ethos of Dieter Rams, the designer employs a minimalist, functional, and timeless design. The prototype underwent rigorous testing, focusing on the sliding-out day sections, the ambidextrous nature of the product, and the ease of interaction with the opening of cells. The color palette reflects morning, noon, and night cues, fostering a visually captivating aesthetic.

Slide Action: The sliding mechanism allows users to effortlessly remove cells, reducing physical effort while providing a smooth experience.

Physical Controls: The product incorporates minimal yet impactful physical controls for essential functions, ensuring ease of use with scrolling and selection.

Clean UI: Employing a simple and calm visual language to minimize visual complexity, fostering a welcoming approach to enhance user interaction with the product.

App Support: The inclusion of a user-friendly app enhances the medication management experience, providing interfaces for tracking medications, dosages, and schedules. This feature enables remote monitoring and management by caregivers, ensuring timely adherence and reducing the risk of errors.

MedEasy is not just a medicine box; it’s a comprehensive solution that empowers elderly individuals to take control of their medication regimen. By combining thoughtful design, cutting-edge technology, and a user-centric approach, MedEasy contributes to the well-being and independence of seniors, ensuring they can lead fulfilling lives with confidence and peace of mind.

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Segway-style, motion-activated ‘standing’ wheelchair helps users confidently navigate life

What is the ultimate freedom for those with lower limb disabilities bound to a wheelchair? A ride that not only helps get around with minimum external human assistance, but that allows one to stand up and sit down with similar convenience. Invaluable modifications have happened to the traditional wheelchair to reach closer to this dream of ultimate freedom.

Joysticks are used for maneuvering the wheelchair through obstacles and mechanics are to allow a wheelchair to rise from the usual sitting position to semi-standing freedom. Addressing this facet with an outstanding new approach is the Kim-e, a segway-styled wheelchair users can stand upright in just a matter of seconds.

Designer: Chronus Robotics

The brainchild of Chronus Robotics, a Lithuanian-based manufacturer, the Kim-e has been developed into a production model over four years of research, prototyping and perfecting. Unlike the traditional wheelchair, the Kim-e is instantly distinguishable with its two-wheeled design. There is no word on pricing or availability at the time of writing, presumably though, it should be out sometime later in the year. You can book a free test ride with Kim-e today.

Things are made ultra-convenient not just by the instant transformation of this wheelchair from sitting to standing in seconds, but more so by its hands-free functionality. Reportedly, Kim-e can be controlled by upper body movement to raise and lower the seat or glide the wheelchair through the crowd. And when you’re ready to hit the road, it can fold up to fit into the boot of your car for easy transportation.

Drawing its power from a lithium battery onboard, Kim-e can power up fully in four hours and travel up to 30 km on a single charge at a top speed of 20 km/h. This wheelchair, along with the built-in battery weighs 38 kg and has a payload bearing capacity of up to 90 kg. Kim-e may have a slightly lesser weight-carrying ability, but it is designed with safety in mind whether you use it in a traditional seated position at the work desk or while strolling upright with your friends in the mall.

Kim-e is equipped with a scissor-lift-type mechanism which allows the seat to raise enough to put the occupant at the eye-level of your companion. No more pushing or tugging. Let your friend/partner wall besides, while you maneuver the wheelchair on your off-road capable tires over sand, gravel or shallow water. At a semi-standing position, Kim-e straps the user’s thigh and even supports one to climb slopes of up to 20 degrees without breaking a sweat.

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A Music Instrument for the Hearing Impaired: This Synth uses Tactile and Color Cues Instead of Sound

“Play by ear” as they commonly say, doesn’t really apply to people with hearing impairments. The most common example of a hearing-impaired musical genius remains Beethoven, who composed entire orchestral pieces by relying on what he remembered from a time when he could hear. By the time he reached the peak of his career, Beethoven was completely deaf, but his memory served him well when it came to playing music… not everyone today has that luxury, but the Vibra helps the hearing impaired play music by connecting the audio to other senses like touch and sight.

Designers: Ahn Taegwang, Go Yeongseok, Hwang Jimin, Lee Wonjae

A winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award, Vibra is a new instrument and service that can meet the musical needs of people with hearing impairments. Unlike traditional instruments that rely entirely on auditory feedback, Vibra relies on a combination of vibrations or haptic feedback, and visual cues like color and composition. The musical instrument comes with a modular design that serves the needs of multiple instruments, from key-based to percussive, string, and even electronic. It eventually pairs with an app that allows players to visualize their music. With a fair amount of visual training and consistent practice, hearing-impaired people can use the Vibra to play existing tunes and even compose new music entirely on their own.

The companion app fills in the sensorial gaps left by the auditory impairment. It provides a visual interface that helps conceptualize sound in a graphic sense, allowing people to understand notes, chords, harmonies, and other complex theories through vision instead of sound. The app enables practice, helps users find which instrument they’re more comfortable playing, and also allows them to learn and practice how to play popular tunes!

The Vibra is a Winner of the Red Dot Award: Design Concept for the year 2023.

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This Korean institute’s robotic wheelchair can let the user stand up and climb stairs at will

Mobility has presented challenges for the differently abled, and it has also posed difficulties for the manufacturing industry in perfecting the concept of self-controlled wheelchairs to provide users with greater freedom. While addressing the quest for enhanced mobility, the focus has predominantly centered on the practicality of being seated and moving smoothly on level terrain.

A bright idea, which could change the way we see mobility on wheelchair for good, seems to be in the works as a new robotic wheelchair. The wheelchair, conceived by the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM), comprise mechanism that would allow it to climb stairs and let the occupant stand upright with assistance.

Designer: KIMM

The latest breakthrough in assistive technology, this wheelchair design places a strong emphasis on user comfort and adaptability. This remarkable idea comprises a central platform equipped with two distinct modules: a stair-climbing module located at the bottom, and a standing module on top.

The stair-climbing module, which is ingeniously designed to stay retracted within the chair when not needed, keeping the chair looking classic and sleek for everyday use. When the user encounters a flight of stairs, the stair-climbing module can be lowered and while maintaining the wheelchair’s horizontal level, it allows the user to tackle the staircase one step at a time without compromising safety. For safety, the stair-climbing module features pair of rubber tracks on front and back that grips the edge of the stairs to ensure it does not slip.

Beyond this enhanced mobility, this wheelchair offers an added dimension of well-being through its standing module. This module facilitates smooth transitions between various postures, including standing, reclining, leaning backwards or forward. This adaptability helps reduce monotony and the risk of poor blood circulation that can result from prolonged periods of sitting in the same position on a wheelchair.

As if these features aren’t impressive enough, the design team is reportedly working on transforming wheels to replace the climber module. These wheels exhibit the ability to remain perfectly round while moving on flat surfaces and tend to conform to the contours of stairs as they roll over them. With the combination of a retractable stair-climbing module and a standing module, this robotic wheelchair has the potential of transforming the lives of individuals with mobility challenges for good.

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This beautiful adjustable side table was made for accessibility and uses reclaimed wood

We’ve seen no small number of furniture here a Yanko Design covering a wide range of materials, shapes, and functions. While these designs try to cater to as many people as possible, few of them address one specific but very important use case. The word “accessibility” isn’t often used when it comes to furniture, mostly because of the stigma the term has in relation to sterile and clinical designs found in hospitals. That’s not to say, however, that these don’t serve a purpose outside of medical facilities, only that their aesthetics are a poor fit in homes and residences. The answer is not to shy away from these products but to shed new light on them, just like this handsome wooden side table that is actually an over-couch or overbed table that you see beside hospital beds.

Designer: Capella

The interesting thing about accessibility is that even though it’s sometimes seen as a burden on designers, it actually benefits more than just people with disabilities. Software gets new features that can be utilized by power users, and physical products gain capabilities or parts that wouldn’t be there otherwise. When it comes to furniture, however, accessibility suffers from the association with hospital equipment whose designs are driven by very different requirements from home use. Fortunately, all it takes is some creative thinking and smart use of materials to reshape one such common piece of furniture in order to benefit anyone at home, especially those who have poor mobility.

The Corbal Side Table looks like any other wood and metal shelf, albeit one that can easily be attached to the side of a couch or a bed. Its secret, however, is that the tabletop can actually swivel around, putting that surface right in front of the person sitting or lying down. It’s a kind of function commonly found in overbed tables in hospitals to help patients eat without leaving their beds. Corbal offers the same convenience for eating, working, or any other activity, all from the comfort of one’s home.

The side table definitely doesn’t look like any piece of hospital furniture because of its modern design utilizing finished solid wood and matte black steel supports. At the same time, it isn’t like any normal overbed table either, because of the feet that can be hidden under the bed or couch to provide stability, especially when swinging the height-adjustable tray. It looks like a perfect match for any home interior without giving away its clinical inspiration.

As if its features weren’t impressive enough, the Corbal Side Table has an equally interesting origin story to tell. It is made from vintage and reclaimed wood, specifically mahogany, giving it a sustainable and environment-friendly character as well. All in all, it’s a design that benefits not only those who are in need of accessible furniture at home but practically everyone else as well, and that includes even the planet.

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Affordable 3D-printed Bionic Prosthetic declared Luminary Winner at the 2023 Red Dot Award: Design Concept

Securing the Luminary Winner award at this year’s Red Dot Award: Design Concept in Singapore, the Lunet makes a bold promise of restoring functionality and dexterity in the hands of amputees… without breaking the bank.

Built with a low-cost design that features parametric adjustment for different hand types, and 3D printing to bring down the cost of production, Lunet looks to deliver a more accessible future that doesn’t rely on expensive medical prosthetics. Under the right conditions, Lunet can easily be manufactured even in one’s home using desktop 3D printers and can be assembled without any fasteners or extra components. In doing so, Lunet doesn’t just restore its wearer’s fingers, it restores their lives back, giving them the ability to grip and maneuver objects while also being able to point and gesture just like most people would.

Designer: David Edquilang

A 3D-printed prototype of the Lunet prosthetic

Lunet is a mechanical prosthetic that restores a degree of functionality for finger amputees by using 3D-printed appendages. The prosthetic is produced entirely through 3D printing, eliminating the need for a production line or industrial equipment. With the right 3D files, people can print, modify, and upgrade their own prosthetics for daily as well as situational use.

The prosthetic is made with a modular design and is crafted using parametric modeling, allowing for adjustments on the fly to suit a wide variety of hand types. The final model can be easily tweaked based on the ergonomics of the wearer, allowing for a custom-made solution that fits the user’s hands and needs perfectly. “Produced entirely through 3D printing, Lunet can be manufactured quickly at a low cost and personalized in CMF to the user’s stylistic preferences,” says David Edquilang, a design student at the University of Houston.

The prosthetic features mechanical linkages that can be controlled by flexing your hand. The fingers work by using a novel, robust linkage mechanism that mimics the motion and flexibility of real fingers. The entire design features components that snap together and require zero metal fasteners or fixtures. With the help of a unique mechanism, a user-friendly modular design, and the ever-expanding accessibility of desktop 3D printing, Lunet empowers individuals with finger amputations to restore the functionality of their missing fingers. Remarkably, this innovative solution costs less than 1% of the price of existing commercially sold finger prostheses.

“Lunet is not just a sci-fi looking concept, it’s real and it works; and will be released online to everyone completely for free as an open-source design. This way, Lunet can do the most good, helping as many people as possible,” David told Yanko Design, moments after being awarded the Luminary Winner of this year’s Red Dot Award. “I believe that good design should not be exclusive only to those that have enough money to afford it. Design is about solving problems, helping the fellow human.”

Click here to view the Best Of Best Winners from this year’s Red Dot Award: Design Concept.

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This keyboard-like device uses visually impaired person’s sense of touch to deliver smartphone features

In an impressive stride toward innovation for special needs, Moadream – dedicated to enhancing the lives of the visually impaired – has unveiled an updated version of its keypad-based smartphone-like device for the visually impaired. Seamlessly marrying form and function, the new device, dubbed Matrix5, boasts an array of features and textures designed to cater to the user’s unique needs.

The defining characteristic of the Matrix5 lies in its ability to facilitate multi-dimensional communication through physical touch. Serving as much more than a conventional keypad, the Matrix5 opens doors to a world of possibilities.

Designer: Areum Gu

Matrix5 not only allows phone calls but also boasts a microphone, speaker, and even volume control. Its ergonomic design ensures a comfortable and secure one-handed grip, aligning with the experience of using smartphones sans a visual display.

The device’s sleek, refined, and textured form factor speaks about its meticulous attention to detail, while its every facet has been thoughtfully crafted to cater to both practicality and beauty. Its curved outline enhances holding comfort, making every interaction an effortless delight.

The left side is equipped with a thermal sensor, intuitively located where both thumbs would be naturally placed. On the opposite side, a triangular embossment offers tactile orientation, aiding the user in effortlessly navigating the device. In the center lies a spacious touchpad, a hub of multifunctionality that adapts to diverse user needs.

The interesting new device is tailored to enhance the capabilities of those who are blind and find it difficult to interact with traditional phone. The heightened sense of touch, referred to as ‘taction,’ is finely developed in the visually impaired compared to the average person. This means that users can accurately perceive each function through touch, transforming the Matrix5 into an intuitive extension of themselves.

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This Wearable Helps Visually Impaired People Make And Receive Online Payments

The minute you sit and dissect our world and how much of it relies on an innate visual understanding of things, is the minute you realize how unfriendly the world is for the visually impaired. Credit cards don’t come with braille markings, and QR codes are innately visual, and require cameras that are controlled visually too… So how would blind people make payments or receive money from friends or family? Technology seldom designs itself for the minority, which is why devices like Shimmer really make a difference. A winner of the iF Design Award, Shimmer is a neck-worn contactless payment terminal that allows visually impaired people to make and accept payments. The device comes with a braille keyboard, an easy-to-activate and user-friendly camera, and a screen that displays a QR code to facilitate accepting payments.

Designer: Hefei LCFC Information Technology

A purpose-built device made especially for the visually impaired, the Shimmer sits around its user’s neck, letting them spend or receive money without needing traditional solutions that aren’t accessible to them. The device comes with a handy design that features a braille keypad on one end, and a screen on the other. A parting line running along the middle allows you to separate the upper and lower halves to reveal a camera too. The camera helps scan QR codes and make payments, while the display shows a QR code of its own while receiving payments. The braille keypad also has a built-in fingerprint scanner to help authenticate payments too, making it easy and secure to use.

“Mobile payment is very popular in Asia, but the current most common method of using a smartphone is not friendly to the blind as it requires screen reading software, which is cumbersome to operate and potentially exposes private data,” say the designers at Hefei LCFC Information Technology. The Shimmer helps these people keep up with the technological requirements of urban life in today’s world, because online payments need to be overwhelmingly inclusive.

The Shimmer makes some really clever design decisions to help the visually impaired stay up-to-date with current technology. For starters, it comes with a beautifully sleek design and a metallic finish that lends the wearer a keen sense of style. The handheld unit of the Shimmer is easy to use, with a braille keyboard and fingerprint sensor that’s virtually foolproof, and a hideaway camera that adds another layer of security. The Shimmer’s band straps around your neck and comes with built-in earphones too, allowing the user to get audio confirmations of payments made or received!

The Shimmer is a Winner of the iF Design Award for the year 2022.

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Sony launches PlayStation 5 Access Controller with highly customizable design for gamers with disabilities

Briefly teased at CES 2023 this year, Sony finally lifted the cloth on the PS5’s Access Controller, designed for gamers with limited mobility. Previously known as Project Leonardo, this highly customizable controller was formally launched today, on World Disability Day, marking Sony’s commitment to making gaming more inclusive.  The Access Controller is more than a conventional controller – it’s a sophisticated, customizable accessibility controller kit, created in collaboration with accessibility experts. Sony’s intention is to enhance the gaming experience, particularly for players with disabilities.

The Access Controller’s announcement precedes what is believed to be Sony’s major summer event (given that E3 was canceled this year). We’re expecting to hear of new game titles and hardware announcements during this event, including the highly anticipated handheld version of the PS5 and possibly a PS5 Pro with liquid cooling.

Designer: Sony

With a highly customizable accessibility-focused design, the Access Controller can be used independently, or alongside Sony’s DualSense controller, giving people a wide range of possible use-cases. The controller comes with a disc-shaped design, surrounded by large, interchangeable, easy-to-press keys (as well as a central key) that can be custom-mapped, with easy-to-change disc-shaped tags on all of them for reference. A modular, adjustable joystick on one side acts as the user’s navigation input, like the joystick seen on most controllers.

The Access Controller design comes in collaboration with various accessibility experts, who helped create a controller that isn’t just easy to use, it also encourages longer gaming without feeling any fatigue. The controller offers button caps that come in a variety of shapes and designs, including pillow, flat, wide flat (covering two sockets), overhang (ideal for small-handed players, placed near the center), and curved (pushed from the top or pulled from the bottom) form factors.

To help players keep track of button assignments, the Access controller includes swappable button cap tags. It also offers versatility in positioning, as it can be laid flat, rotated, or attached to an AMPS mount or tripod. Additionally, the distance of the analog stick from the controller can be adjusted as per the player’s preference.

The controller works wirelessly, and sports a USB-C port for charging it or even using it in wired formats. Additionally, four 3.5mm inputs located around its sides let players integrate their own specialty switches, buttons, or analog sticks.

The launch of this controller brings new possibilities to the PS5 console, making the world of gaming more accessible. This represents a step towards gaming that caters to every player’s unique needs, further leveling the playing field. We’ve also seen similar efforts on the accessibility front from Microsoft, who unveiled their Xbox Adaptive Controller a few years ago, and even from startup Augmental, who launched their tongue-powered MouthPad wearable controller last month.

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