All posts by Foresight and Innovation

The Foresight and Innovation unit is designed to help Scope access the best new thinking, external ideas and practical tools to develop pioneering processes and services that help us achieve our vision of a better world for disabled people and their families. Our weekly blog series Disability Innovations gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field! The team is made up of Ruth Marvel, Director of Foresight and Innovation, Rosa Manning and Zoe Boult.

Disability Innovation: Citizen-led design that’s giving people more independence

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field.

In 2015, a new design challenge called Design Together, Live Better launched in the West of England. The challenge was run by the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN), who asked designers at National charity Designability to deliver their human-centred design approach in order to engage people and work with them to develop new product ideas.

Gaining insights and generating new ideas

Over 100 people took part in the challenge, sharing their personal accounts of living with a disability or health problem, or caring for someone who needed regular help. Many of these people came to public workshops held across the West of England to participate in the challenge.

The workshops were a hive of activity and the result was a number of great ideas covering areas such as; mobility, personal hygiene, food preparation, travel and medication management.

Selecting ideas with potential to make an impact

Unfortunately only a few ideas could be developed within the challenge time frame and Designability along with WEAHSN had a tough job deciding which ideas showed the potential to have the greatest impact on independence.

When shortlisting product ideas, the following criteria was used:

  • Are there any products that already exist to solve this problem?
  • Does the idea have the potential to impact a number of people’s lives?
  • How much impact will the idea have on somebody’s independence?
  • Is the idea a potential, workable solution?

Taking three ideas further

The Design Together, Live Better team took on board all of the feedback and chose three ideas to be developed further and made into prototypes over the course of only two months. The people the products could help had regular input into the design and testing to provide insight into how they should look, function and fit into their lifestyle.

One of the three ideas was Pura; a convenient, portable bidet to promote dignity and independence

The team heard from a gentleman living with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair. He spoke of how he requires help from a friend or carer to clean himself after toileting whilst out and about. The need for this kind of support can be uncomfortable and undignified for both parties.

From this insight, Designability came up with the idea for a portable bidet that can be used with ease in public toilets without the need for assistance in cleaning.

Key features include:

  • Ease of transportation – Pura is a sleek, compact product that can be carried with you wherever you go
  • Contemporary – the designers ensured that Pura looks good with a simple, smooth appearance that is easy to clean
  • Simple to use – Pura has been created with easy-to-use clamps to secure it to the toilet, and a large button to activate the wash facility without difficulty
  • Safe and secure – Pura’s size means that it fits the majority of standard toilets and sits securely in place when used

The two other ideas developed to a prototype stage during this challenge were a companion walker trolley for use at home and a child seat harness, which can be fastened with just one hand.

What next?

We are hopeful that these three products will move further towards being available on the open market, and we are working hard with the people that would use them and commercial partners and manufacturers to ensure this.

Designability are always happy to hear about your ideas for a product or solution that may help to transform someone’s life. If you have something in mind which may enable you or someone you know to gain more independence, please get in touch:

Web: www.designability.org.uk

Email: info@designability.org.uk

Tel: 01225 824103

To find out more about the prototypes and the design challenge, please visit the Design Together, Live Better website: http://designtogetherlivebetter.org/

Designability invited people to share their daily living experiences and ideas for potential new products that could improve their quality of life and enhance their independence.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

Disability Innovation: A day in the life of an iPad

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We are having a tech fortnight to focus on technology and hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field.

The development of various tablets has already had a huge impact for many disabled people, making it easier for them to plan, communicate and engage. There are lots of different apps and software out there that can offer support, and although many were developed without disabled people as the intended audience, they can be used throughout the day to make life easier and give more control. The following is a possible day in the life of an iPad.

Starting the day

7 am: My alarm wakes me at 7 with a gently increasing sound, so as to not wake me with a shock. Now there is a range of possible alarms including vibrating or high pitched sounds, so regardless of your impairment you can still be up on time.

7:30 am: Using Skype or Facetime I can get in touch with my support worker to discuss the day ahead and let them know how I feel- is today a good day or a bad day? Is there anything unexpected I might need today they can bring?

8 am: I turn on the radio using my radio App to find out what’s happening in the world today, how the traffic is and what I can expect from the weather. It helps me plan my outfit, transport and activities. If you need more detailed weather information there a range of weather apps to choose from.

8:30 am: Using assistive technology from Perrero I switch open the door so my support worker can get in.

Keeping active during the day

9 am: I’ve checked emails, LinkedIn and Facebook. Whether you are working from home, checking on freelance opportunities or just staying in touch with friends and family it’s easy wherever you are.

10:30am: I’m enjoying a mid-morning relax with an online paper. Sadly the iPad won’t make my a cup of tea (yet!)

1pm: The taxi I ordered via my app has arrived to take me into town for a doctor’s appointment, and once it’s done I can book a follow up appointment online.

2pm: Just seen a great top in a shop window so I’ve taken a picture on the iPad camera so I can hunt it down online later and get it delivered straight to my door.

5pm: Catching up on my favourite TV programmes via demand services such as BBC iPlayer.

6pm: As a treat I’ve ordered takeaway from somewhere local to be delivered to my door using Just Eat. Got no cash? That’s OK because I can pay online as I order.

Winding down

8pm: I may not be going out tonight but I can still socialise online: What’s App with a friend, chat to someone new on Tinder or contribute to online discussion boards like Scope’s Community.

9pm: Quickly check my Google calendar for tomorrow’s plans and see if there’s anything I can book in advance.

9:30pm:  Chilling out watching a film online to unwind for the evening.

11pm: Back in bed I’m going to read a bit of your current book via my ereader app before a good night’s sleep.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

Disability Innovation: What might the future be for technology and care?

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We are having a tech fortnight to focus on technology and hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field. In this post we hear from George

My name is George and I am a law student at the University of York. I, like most people my age yearn for independence from my family and seek to carve a future for myself. However, achieving independence is made harder when you live with a physical disability which means I occasionally have to depend on carers to assist me with care.

While striving for this independence, I have spent a considerable amount of time wondering what the future of care will look like. As budgets continue to get tighter and tighter, I find myself questioning whether technology will ever fill the place of traditional carers and if so, how will it work? What will it do? And how should it be implemented?

What is out there now?

 At the moment there seems to have been a trend towards inventing more devices to help with care tasks. These are aimed more at the aging population, but cover many of the tasks that millions of adults struggle with every day. The first of such inventions is the Oasis Seated Shower system. This product from America allows a person to remain seated while various outlets provide both water and soap to all body surfaces. The device features a unique seating system that allows a thorough washing of areas that would normally be inaccessible on a traditional shower chair. The entire process can be controlled with either a remote control or in an automated process. This not only means that a person using the device does not need help to do so, but also means that there is less strain on carers looking after people.

Another area where there have been lots of recent developments is toileting. While there have been many innovations in this area such as the introduction of Clos-O-Mat toilets, there has been little in the way of development with incontinence. This rather delicate area has not significantly changed for decades, however, a new product from a company called Novamed could solve some of the problems associated with this care activity. Their new Solaticare device provides a means whereby people who have difficulty transferring or are confined to a bed to use the toilet without having to wear pads. The system is able to remove waste and then provides warm water and warm air to clean the user. This once again means that users can stay in bed and do not have to depend on others. It also means that there is less need to wake up in the night to change pads or clean bedding in the case of accidents.

What does the future hold?

After a whistle stop tour of some of the products that are available, we must look towards the future of care and how it will be provided. Once again there are a number of products in the pipeline that are seeking to help disabled people and the elderly stay independent for longer. One example is the ISupport shower system being developed as part of the European Horizon 2020 event which is seeking to completely automate showering. Another instance is the increasing and experimental use of healthcare robots in Japan to help care for their aging population.

I personally feel it is up to us to be vocal about what we want from this technology. So, what would you do? What would you automate? Would you like to be helped by a machine?

Discuss technology on our community.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

Disability Innovations: An orchestra trying new things

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We are having a tech fortnight to focus on technology, including guest bloggers, like Rebecca. We hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field.

What is Able Orchestra?

The Able Orchestra is a project in which young people with varied needs and abilities, collaborate with professional artists in order to create extraordinary live performances. Creating multi-sensory experiences for audiences, the collective adapt the use of technologies, to help realise innovative methods for people to perform audio-visual content.

Started and developed by members of the County Youth Arts Team in Nottinghamshire, the project works with various groups and organisations to achieve their performances. Over an intensive period of days, artists Si Tew, Rebecca Smith, Ronika and Angus Mcleod work alongside groups, to create all component parts of the content.

How does it work?

Using recorded sounds and visuals from the young people’s environment, rich textures of material are captured, layered and further manipulated. Using software such as Ableton Live, Resolume, Quartz Composer and Madmapper, audio-visual aspects of the performance can be triggered, manipulated and even created live. “We may take something as simple as a bleep from the young persons wheelchair, or the sound of them dropping sticks from outside. But we then take that source material, and further work with it, to create something truly unique and with its own identity” – Si Tew, Artist.

The use of ipads with midi-controller apps such as Lemur, permit custom controlled instruments to be built. Light beams, physical pads, button, dials and a host of accessibility options allow for adaptive control of the content, regardless of the user’s mobility, movement or dexterity. “Our aim is to help enable freedom of expression through means that the young people may not have experienced before. Over the course of the sessions, we develop and create digital interfaces, to enable those with the most profound disabilities to contribute equally” – Rebecca Smith, Artist.

Always looking to push creative possibilities, the group have recently collaborated with musicians from the BBC Concert Orchestra to create a mixed traditional and electronic live performance, with behind the scenes footage available. “It’s a really exciting and new experience. This is my first real experience of music and it turns out you don’t need to actually play an instrument.” – Jessica Fisher, Participant.

The possibilities are endless

The collective are currently in the process of experimenting with new devices and processes to further enhance their work. These include wearable technologies, conductive paint and the live manipulation of scents to create a fully sensory experience . “We simply use the technology in order to make high quality, (sometimes complex) processes, very accessible, hands-on and expressive. Most importantly, it must always be fun and leave a smile on our face” – Rebecca Smith.

Discuss technology on our community.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

Disability Innovation: A brief history of my Communication Aids

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We are having a tech fortnight to focus on technology and hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field. In this post we hear from Simon, and his journey to the right communication aid. You can ask Simon questions about technology on our online community.

 Since I was eight years old, I have used online keyboards with a chin or head switch and operated various on screen keyboards.

When I was about ten, I had a BBC computer with a program called Beeblink. In those days, there was no word prediction as we know it. This program had a word bank. How it worked was if I wanted a word beginning with ‘E’, I would select the letter ‘E’ and go into the word bank with words beginning with that letter. Then hope the word I wanted was there for me to select. This was long winded because of how it worked.

The advent of the personal computer came and so did on screen keyboards. Word prediction was introduced as well which made typing much quicker.

Windows, on screen keyboards and word prediction

The Windows operating system came along and on screen keyboards evolved. For many years, I used a piece of software called EZ Keys. This was a really good package as it gave me full control of the computer using a head switch. It had word prediction and I could set up my own abbreviations as well. For example, if I typed ASAP, it would type “as soon as possible”. EZ Keys also had a facility for me to use the mouse which was really useful and this software package was also on my communication aid.

When I obtained my first communication aid, it was really amazing because I could drive up to people and have a chat. This was before Windows so it looked basic compared to the communication systems today. It gave me a huge sense of independence as I was in total control of who I chose to talk to. Since Windows has been developed, I have had a number of communication aids with EZ Keys on and they were great because they were like mini computers. This meant I could also do my college work on them, which gave me a lot more flexibility as to how I could conduct my affairs.

About eight years ago, I wanted to try something different so I obtained a Lightwriter, operated by a head switch. It was nice and small but I did not like how it scanned. For example, it had a ‘QWERTY’ keyboard and if I wanted a letter at the end of the row, it took ages to scan to it. However with EZ Keys, the rows were shorter which meant it took less time to get to the desired letters.

Finding EyeGaze

Four years ago, I was getting fed up with my typing speed because I was typing about two words a minute, so I contacted someone I know who works in Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC). He told me that he was working for a company called Tobii who makes communication aids which operate with eye gaze software. I had previously had trials with eye gaze technology but he advised me that it had changed since then and that this system accommodated movement of the head. I instantly said I would like to have a go and I had a two week trial of it and I found I was typing quicker. At the end of the trial, I did not want to let it go back.

I definitely wanted one so I approached a charity for some funding and within about a year, I received a Tobii and I was really happy. Tobii has a piece of software called Communicator which has facilities such as mobile phone, email and writing documents; each of these functions has a different page set. A page set consists of pages with buttons on. For instance, a page set for email would have buttons such as “compose email”, “select receiver” and “send email”. I can customise those buttons and where they are on the screen to suit my needs and way of working.

Having Tobii has changed my life because I can talk to whoever I want to and they do not need to have knowledge about how to use my communication aid. Since I have had my Tobii, I find it much easier to conduct my life. Tobii also allows me to text people as well which is great because I can keep in touch with friends and family easily.

The Communicator software is a very adaptable package. People at all levels can use it. People can create vocabulary page sets with symbols on and even whole phrases on. People can be really creative with it.

In conclusion, I have been lucky to have been born at the right time to take advantage of technology – I could not live without it.

Talk to Simon on our online community.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

Disability Innovations: Six apps we can’t live without

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We are having a tech fortnight to focus on technology, including guest bloggers, like Sharon. We hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field.

In October 2011 I had a serious motorbike accident, 18 broken bones, cardiac arrest (twice), coma for a month and hospital for six months. Diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury amongst other physical conditions, my family and I are like other people living with a neurological condition and slowly coming to terms with a dramatic change in lifestyle.

In October 2014 we released the first issue of Health is Your Wealth magazine. This was created because although we understand there are many neurological conditions they tend to have similar challenges which can affect independence. The magazine is available electronically for free and is particularly suitable for people who have visual or co-ordination issues because they can zoom in on the text and turn pages easily.

The magazine is split into six sections and formatted so it can be easily read, lends itself to audio listening and is colour coded so the publication is easy to navigate. Amongst other articles each issue has a review of mobile phone, tablet and PC applications. The following are our top rated applications which are all free and can aid independence; we hope you will find them useful.

  1. SwiftKey Keyboard

 What does it claim to do?

Allows you to type quicker and easier. Especially good for people with co-ordination issues and impaired speed or performance

How friendly is it?

Easy and quick to install, however you may need to power off your phone and turn it back on

What phone or system is it compatible with?

Android, Apple iPhones and tablets

Review of application and rating

We give this a five star rating. One of those pieces of technology you wondered how you did without!

  1. Google calendar

What does it claim to do?

Helps you to remember what to do and when. Gives you reminders and lets you plan your day, week or month. You can see your schedule at a glance with photos and maps of the places you’re going, quickly create events all calendars on your phone in one place.

How friendly is it?

Very easy to use and quick once you know where things are. The interface is simple and straight forward to learn.

What phone or system is it compatible with?

Android and Apple iPhones

Review of application and rating

We give this a five star rating. Without this tool we would be unable to function.

  1. Evernote

What does it claim to do?

Allows you to jot notes down and carry them wherever you are. You can also to-do’s and checklists, attach files and search through your notes easily.

How friendly is it?

Easy to get started plus has lots of features that are inherent but the interface is so simple that if you want to use it just as a note taker then it works beautifully.

What phone or system is it compatible with?

Android and Apple iPhones

Review of application and rating

We give this a five star rating. If you are unable to write this application combined with Swiftkey keyboard will keep you organised and in control!

  1. Medisafe

What does it claim to do?

Helps make sure you take the right quantity and dosage of medicines at the right time. It also allows you to determine the shape and colour of the pill rather than know them by medical name.

How friendly is it?

Easy to get started and intuitive plus has most medicines already built in!

What phone or system is it compatible with?

Android and Apple iPhones

Review of application and rating

We give this a five star rating. It’s awesome and is appropriate for various age ranges.

  1. Smart Recipes

What does it claim to do?

Gets you eating well balanced food, through existing recipes and a meal mixer option. Encourages you to follow simple instructions and has a shopping list function.

How friendly is it?

Extremely friendly.  The recipes are well explained. Detailing which ingredients you need, how long you will need to prepare and cook for plus what utensils are required.

What phone or system is it compatible with?

Available on Apple Store and Google Play

Review of application and rating

We give this a five star rating. It’s very good, simple to use and fun.

  1. Block Puzzle

What does it claim to do?

Helps to maintain or improve your logic and problem solving skills plus it’s fun! You have to fill the board by dragging different shaped blocks into the correct place to make a single larger shape, there are different modes and difficulty levels to try.

How friendly is it?

Block Puzzle is incredibly intuitive and fun for all ages and skill levels. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked!

What phone or system is it compatible with?

Available on Apple Store and Google Play

What does it cost?

Block Puzzle is amazing value, packed with over 6000 free mind-bending levels of increasing difficulty that’ll keep you busy for hours.

Review of application and rating

We give this a 5 star rating. It’s very good, simple to use and fun.

The magazine is released bi-monthly, starting in February and is distributed to major hospitals. To get the next issue free! go to the Health is your wealth website. Please note Health is Your Wealth magazine magazine is now formatted to work with the Adobe read aloud feature.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

Got a question about technology? Join our Q&A about assistive technology

Disability Innovations: Sounds like an innovation in hearing aids

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We are having a tech fortnight to focus on technology, including guest bloggers, like Margie. We hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field.

Margie is the Empowerment Officer at Scope and here she tells us about her favourite new piece of technology that makes hearing a more effortless experience for her.

How I found Resound Lynx2

Back in June of this year a friend bought to my attention the Resound Lynx 2 hearing aids that work through your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

I have to admit I’m a bit of an Apple fan so had to check this one out. Having worn NHS hearing aids since 2006 (which are free). I was somewhat shocked to find out that the cost for each hearing aid was £1600, but the private audiologist said I could try them for two weeks to see how I got on with them.

What are they like?

As soon as they were digitally tuned in to my particular needs, I was hooked. The clarity was amazing: using the app on your iPhone you have full control to suit your environment; you can reduce background interference such as air conditioning or wind: adjust tone for bass and treble; and control volume .

You can also produce settings for your own preference such as TV, music concerts and so on. Apart from all this when your phone rings it goes straight to your ears via Bluetooth linking- no more struggling to hear it ring! You can also use it to listen to your music, catch up on TV, films and any other sound though your apps and iPhone. Mind blowing!

Why I like them

I love them and they have made such a difference to my working life, hearing all that’s going on instead of missing all the gossip. It means life in general has a new clearer outlook. You can find out more at resound.com– it’s worth a try!

Have you tried this new equipment, or something similar by an alternative provider? If so we’d love to hear about it. Comment below or join our community to share your thoughts with others.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

(Photography by istock 2015, featuring models)

Disability innovation: Introducing tech fortnight with eye gazes and music

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier.

We are having a tech fortnight to focus on technology and hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field. In this post we hear from Chris, director of The Apogee Project, who tells us which assistive technology he thinks is making a difference to disabled people.  

I work with disabled people all over the UK.  Most of these people are unable to express their feelings, emotions, wants and needs. They can’t tell us when and if they are happy or sad. It is usually impossible for them to initiate a conversation – or even get involved in the conversation – without a huge amount of support and facilitation.

Every day I travel the country meeting people who have a whole range of abilities and diagnoses – from Rett Syndrome to Cerebral palsy. My job is all about creating opportunities for people, with the help of assistive technology: from switches to eye gaze and head trackers  to sensory rooms. My small team and I work with individuals, their families and support networks to integrate technology into their lives and help them to communicate, experience and express themselves.

Which technologies work the best?

That is a huge question. Working predominately with disabled people who have profound and multiple disabilities, I have found the most exciting developments and opportunities coming from the fantastic leap forward in Eyegaze technology and the resources developed around that technology.

Eyegaze technology has enabled us as professionals, support workers and family members to gain an insight into what someone is thinking and understanding, by being able to track and tangibly observe their reaction to stimuli and what captures their attention on a screen. There are,  of course,  a wide variety of variables and, in some cases, large obstacles to overcome – and if that’s the case, then that is the starting point for our journey.

We have seen young people start off by moving lights around a screen with no demonstrable signs that they understand they are causing a reaction and then with the right support and teaching strategies move on to use Eyegaze with a computer as a communication aid. I hear so many similar stories as this scenario plays out more and more in schools and homes across the world.

So, what have I learnt?

The biggest learning curve has been around our expectations when working with someone and the power of motivation. Quite often people are not given the opportunity to use certain technology or explore certain activities because they haven’t demonstrated an understanding of what we might think should be a prerequisite skill to that activity. If someone hasn’t demonstrated an understanding of cause and effect, for example, then people often don’t try out choice-making activities.

What would I recommend?

At The Apogee Project, we often use a fantastic piece of music software called Beamz with our eyegaze users. It requires a relatively accurate manipulation of the mouse pointer across four purple lines to activate a musical sound. There are also small buttons to control certain functions, such as turning on the background music. Which helps disabled people with limited communication to interact and communicate.

People who we have struggled to engage in any kind of activity will work for an hour or more moving a mouse pointer for music! Another huge motivator can be social interaction with peers. Playing simple switch games and introducing an element of competition creates a fantastic energy and just seems to motivate people into achieving things outside their assessed level of understanding.

I believe technology really does have the opportunity to unlock potential for disabled people. The important thing is not to give up. It’s all about spotting the little things – those seemingly insignificant details that can send you exploring in a new and fresh direction with someone. It’s always worth presuming that someone understands more than they are able to demonstrate. That’s what keeps us pushing the boundaries for them.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

Chris is running a technology question and answer session on our community about assistive technology. If you have any questions, then get involved.

Disability Innovations: The next generation of tableware

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field.

What is “Staybowl”?

Staybowl is a bowl that will not tip when in use. The same technology can be used to adapt many other items, including your own tableware so that they too become stable and cannot tip. Staybowl can be used on any surface, including a tablecloth and has not only been designed to be very functional, it also looks great.

What’s the story behind it?

Malcolm and Loretta Rhodes have a daughter, Michela, who has Cerebral Palsy affecting her manual dexterity and fine motor skills.  This means she often has difficulties when eating independently.

Malcolm attended a Scope focus group to discuss what items parents and carers of disabled people would like to see readily available at stores such as IKEA. He discovered many other people had the same challenge as Michela, and would love to see a bowl that would not tip, thereby making eating independently a lot easier and safer for many people.

Currently available products were discussed (such as suction cup bowls and skirt bowls) but everyone agreed these had limitations and something new was needed.

How does it work?

The challenge was to design a bowl that was functional but would not stand out as a bowl for disabled people and actually looked great.

As parents, Malcolm and Loretta had vast experience of bringing up a disabled child to adulthood so fully understood the needs of the potential users.

They decided to fix the bowl to another object that itself could not be tipped. The way to do it was to use the same mechanism as that found on a food processor, by simply engaging the two parts and turning slightly to lock them together. They become, temporarily, a single item. It was also decided to embed the bottom part of the mechanism into a place mat.

The reason this makes the bowl untippable is that the edge of the place mat is either at or beyond the edge of the bowl as in the below diagrams.

The next day the first prototype was produced using a porcelain bowl, a mechanism made from a Thermos flask cup and a standard place mat. It worked, the bowl would not tip.

With the support of Innovate UK, Malcolm worked with a local product designer, who using CAD and 3D printing produced a working model of the mechanism to be used.

A CAD prototype was produced of a place mat incorporating the bottom half of the mechanism, and a bowl incorporating the top half of the mechanism. This proved that the product could be both useful and stylish. Further prototypes were developed in response to testing, including improving the portability of the product.

The finished prototype even allows you to use your own tableware on the base.

What is the potential?

With research and development complete Malcolm is now looking at how to take the product to market, including discussions with major distributors. But it is also an opportunity to get involved with Staybowl at the early stages, as they seek business partners and investors. Malcolm is also looking for people who can understand and make use of the product. If you fall into either, or both of these groups then contact us at innovation@scope.org.uk and we can put you in touch with Malcolm directly to find out more.

What we like about it

What we like about Stay Bowl is that Malcolm heard a problem, direct from potential users, and went away and solved it simply and effectively. Keeping in mind a design that people would actually want to use – not sacrificing aesthetics for practicality. Fingers crossed you’ll see it on the market soon.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

Disability Innovations: So, what do you think?

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field.

From the outset we’ve been hoping that by showcasing ideas and innovative products, this blog will help inspire and encourage other people in this field. We are passionate about how we can help share the news about innovative products, to allow all you lovely people to hear about, and hopefully benefit from them.

Since starting this blog series we have received emails from a number of people who are involved in making innovative products for disabled people. They are often looking for direct feedback to help them design the most exciting and useful product possible.

That’s where you come in! We’d love to present a couple of new ideas that have been sent our way to get your feedback. Whether you are disabled, or are interested in this area, your feedback (positive and negative!) is really valuable and could help in designing and perfecting the next great product.

We’d also like to hear what you have thought of other things featured in our blogs so far. We’ll do a round-up of some of them at the end and we’d love to know what you think and if you have any personal experience of any of the products. Have a read of the ideas below and get in touch either by commenting on this post or emailing us at innovation@scope.org.uk.

  1. Accessible, 3D printed products

We recently heard from Luca Parmegiani, an Italian product designer based in London working for Myminifactory. He is focused on creating products that offer solutions for a range of daily challenges that are linked to mobility or dexterity.

collage of 3D products

He has designed 3D printed items so that people who own a 3D printer can download and print them freely. They include key holders, bottle openers, and cup holders. He wants to work with individuals to make products as tailored as possible to the individual.

Luca is looking for constructive criticism, advice and suggestions around his products and idea. Check out his Facebook page to see more about what he is working on.

  1. Brunel University and Blue Badge Style winners

Fiona Jarvis got in touch with us from Blue Badge Style. They asked students at Brunel University to design accessories that would make a standard wheelchair more stylish. Fiona is looking for feedback on two of the three winning ideas.

Backback Pack

The first is the BackBack Pack, which fulfilled the criteria of being universally desirable, not just by wheelchair users. They are currently investigating production of the bag. The aim is that it will be a high quality, well designed item that is remarkable for its superior quality and design.

Cup Holder

The second is the cup holder that attaches to a wheelchair and is suitable for a number of different sizes and styles of glass or cup. Like the BackBack Pack it is also in prototype stage. Check out this video of how it works.

Image of an accessible cup holder

Fiona would love feedback on both of these ideas, what you think of their design and whether you think you might use any of these products. She would also more specifically like to know how much realistically you would be willing to pay for these items and why.

  1. Featured Innovations

Since we started this blog series we have featured 14 different innovations. We’d like to hear about whether you have followed up on any of the things you have read about, and what experience you have with these products. Some of them were still in the test phase and aren’t widely available, but we’d love to know what you think of them. Here is a quick rundown of six of the most popular ideas featured:

Talkitt – a voice to voice app which aims to enable people with motor, speech, and language conditions to communicate freely and easily using their own voice. We liked how it is based fully on the user’s own voice, enabling more natural communication.

RogerVoice – an App that enables people with hearing impairments to have conversations on the phone, by converting speech to subtitles in real time. What interested us was how it aims to make mainstream technology even more inclusive.

Una Tickets a new primary ticketing service that hopes to develop the most accessible ticket system out there. Una’s approach is hoping to improve accessibility at all stages of the ticketing experience, from purchasing a ticket, to accessing the venue. This is a mainstream service that wants to put a real emphasis on accessibility, which made it stand out for us.

Be My Eyesan iPhone app that connects visually impaired people with volunteer helpers from around the world via live video chat, to allow sighted volunteers to ‘lend’ their eyes and assist with tasks such navigating surroundings and identifying food labels. We love the sense of community and the simple pleasure of helping someone out that this app creates.

Andiamo a startup creating healthcare solutions for disabled children, with a mission to see no child ever having to wait more than one week to receive medical device. Their first venture is looking to 3D print orthotic supports, from back braces and wrist braces, to open foot orthoses. We like how this project is driven by parents of a disabled child who are using their first hand experience to find innovative solutions to real problems.

HandSteadya cup designed especially for people with arthritis, tremors, muscle weakness or limited dexterity, to help reduce spills when drinking and increase independence. It’s a simple design, and a nice reminder that innovation isn’t always ground breaking new technologies, but sometimes small tweaks that make a big difference.

Over to you!

So there you go. We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about these ideas and products. Please send us your comments and feedback and together we can be part of creating innovative products that are centered around the user.

As with all our blogs, this is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

To give us feedback on these products, or to tell us about another disability innovation you have seen, please either comment on the blog or email us at innovation@scope.org.uk.