Disability, difference and design

The Festival of Design and Innovation, 2012, showcased the work of final year students on a range of programmes and was truly inspirational. On these pages, we are proud to promote participating students who have either received ongoing support from ALS or those who chose to design a product specifically for use by people with disabilities or differences. We wish them success with their work and future careers in the design industry.

Tom Edwards: BA/BSc Product Design (Hons)

RAid Cookware

It’s hardly surprising that Tom’s product, designed for those with rheumatoid arthritis, has received so much interest and so many plaudits. As Tom says, this is a disease that affects the smaller joints of the hand and wrist and using conventional stove-based cooking equipment is a painful and uncomfortable experience.

Tom wanted to remove the image of a disability aid and has successfully designed a range of cookware that spreads the weight of the equipment over the larger joints in the arms. These are stylish products that would enhance any kitchen and improve the lifestyle of those with arthritis. 


Jennifer Thomas: BA/BSc Product Design (Hons)

Diabetes equipment storage for 18-25 year olds

Type 1 Diabetes has the potential to govern lives. Not so, according to Jennifer who, inspired by her twenty year old diabetic friend, has designed a product to suit the clubbing lifestyle of the young. Current storage cases for diabetic accoutrements are geared towards older people or are too bulky. Jennifer’s case, which can be customised to suit individual tastes, enables the owner to plan their day ahead and assess their insulin intake. There is also a removable pouch, small enough to fit in a clutch bag or the pocket of men’s jeans, yet containing all the essentials for a night out including the means to monitor  alcohol effects. As Jennifer says, this enables the user to continuously self-manage an illness without compromising their lifestyle


Cara May Firks: BA Product Design (Hons)

Wheepush: The Wheelchair Pushchair

Watching her cousin, who has MS, struggle with two small children, inspired Cara to design a unique product that allows a wheelchair user to travel easily from the house or the car and be independent enough to wheel themselves and their baby. Cara noted that pushchairs currently on the market are too high for compatibility with a wheelchair. Her design easily attaches to the majority of manual wheelchairs to cradle a baby’s car seat. Therefore, it gives the user freedom to take a baby out in a safe and secure environment thus reducing reliance on others. It further encourages close interaction, essential for building bonds in a baby’s first year of life.



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