Disability & Difference at the BU Design & Engineering Show

The Design and Engineering show 2017 showcased the work of final year Design and Engineering students and was truly inspirational. On these pages, we are proud to promote some of the participating students who have either received on-going support from ALS or those who chose to design a product specifically for use by people with disabilities or differences. We wish all of them success with their work and future career in the design industry.

Joshua Perry: BA (Hons) Product Design

MiTime – Organisational Aid for adult ADHD

Adults with ADHD find organisation and time keeping the most difficult tasks in their day to day life. Joshua says the aim of MiTime is to reduce the inattentiveness of adults with ADHD. The product has been designed to help aid this by using cognitive but also sensory elements to keep the user on task. The product consists of two parts a wearable device that is paired with a dock station.

The product works by letting the user write their tasks onto magnetic cards and organise them into a desired order. The user can then set a ‘Distraction Time’ 5,10,15 or 20 minutes and this will then send a reminder to the wearable to give an alert. This is so the user gets a reminder if they go off task.

Once the user has completed the task the board will visually show how long they have been on the task and they can record this on the card for future reference and better plan their day.

Joshua tells us that first he was looking into distraction as a theme for his dissertation project, but further research led to ADHD. He realised that adult ADHD is a grey area and he thought it would be a unique niche for a dissertation project.

Perryjt08@gmail.comJoshua Perry








George Carrow  BSc (Hons) Product Design

BOOST – Wheelchair Power Assistance

Watching a relative, who is a wheelchair user, and his family struggle with the day-to-day difficulties around pushing a wheel-chair inspired George to look into what’s available on the market and design a product that’s more affordable and lighter than the already existing aids.

BOOST helps bridge the gap between a manual wheelchair and a fully electric chair by providing a boost of power when required by the carer. This universal product attaches to an existing manual wheelchair; providing additional mechanical power through an innovative friction drive system.

The product makes many of the key advantages of an electric chair accessible to people who would otherwise be unable to afford it, assisting and improving the mobility of wheelchair users while also helping to reduce the risks of carer injury. Another advantage of BOOST is that the wheelchair can be folded without removal of the product to ensure it’s clear for someone who has not seen it in person.George C








Ciara Bergin BA (Hons) Product Design

The Sensory Tepee

Ciara designed a sensory den targeted for children aged 18 months – three years who have autism and hyposensitive tendencies. The den is designed to stimulate children through visual, tactile and auditory stimulation while maintaining a relaxed approach in a controlled environment. The stimuli satisfy sensory seeking behaviour preventing stimming and aiding progress necessary at this key stage in their mental development. The sensory tepee encourages sensory play with the correct level of fulfilment.

Ciara was inspired by personal experiences to come up with her design idea; there is a child with autism in her family and Ciara noticed that there is gap on the market with regards to toys that can be customizable.

Whilst researching her product, Ciara talked to parents and therapists who were interacting with her product and listened to their feedback and recommendations. Ciara tells us that this was the most valuable part of her research.

baraic@hotmail.co.ukCiara Bergin








Jimi Friel BSc (Hons) Product Design


PADL is a prosthetic swimming arm for lower arm amputees, acting as a catalyst to increase the participation in amputee sport. PADL removes the tendency of asymmetrical swimming, facilitating a balanced front crawl swimming stroke.

Jimi came up with the idea due to the low impact nature of swimming and how this could be utilised to aid rehabilitation of amputation. He saw that a product could be utilised to increase performance but also social aspects as the product could be utilised as a catalyst to increase the participation in swimming.

Jimi says: “I specifically chose a design to make the amputation stand out and be embraced by the user as there tends to be a stigma to hide amputation as people feel self-conscious about their amputation, but this product almost promotes this and shows amputees they should be proud of who they are.


Joseph Nixon BA (Hons) Product Design

FOCUS – A fidget toy designed for children with ADHD

Joseph has worked with us in ALS, supported by Steevie W, specialist tutor. Joseph designed a fidget toy for ages 7 – 11 years.

Research has shown that gross body movements enable children with ADHD to perform better at working memory tasks; this product encourages this.

Joseph says: “The hardest thing about this design was creating something that would get the users interest without taking their attention away from the primary task. By making the product purely tactile and simple to use, meant the user is able to use the product without thinking. Focus is a product which rotates on a single axle, provides the user with an opportunity to move discretely without distracting others.”



JN1Joseph Nixon- stand


Peter Noble BA (Hons) Product Design

All Food One Arm Food Preparer

Peter’s main aim of his final year at university was to create a product to help people. He quickly honed in on the problem faced by people who have lost an arm or reduced mobility when preparing food to be cooked.

Peter found there was a real shortage of products aimed at this particular market. He felt that none of the products available were either exciting to use or made you feel able bodied. He wanted to create a product for the mainstream and to be inclusive.

Peter says: “I knew the product had to be simple to use and also intuitive to remove the stigma attached to disability products.”

He had the product tested by a friend with Poland syndrome who absolutely loved it. He was able to chop, slice, and then as an added bonus, able to peel a potato using the product as well.

“I was very happy with the outcome to use the product in such a simplistic but interesting design, whilst also being extremely beneficial to the user.”

Poland syndrome is a disorder in which affected individuals are born with missing or underdeveloped muscles on one side of the body, resulting in abnormalities that can affect the chest, shoulder, arm, and hand. (The editor)

peternoble9@hotmail.comPeter N











Claire Cox  BA (Hons) Product Design

ARTUSEW – Rheumatoid Arthritis Sewing Aid

Rheumatoid Arthritis affects over 700,000 people in the UK. The hands, fingers and wrists are the most commonly affected through swollen joints, stiffness and muscle weakness. These symptoms cause a considerable amount of pain which results in a lack of dexterity.

This product is aimed towards users who have an interest in needle craft activities, such as cross-stitch or sewing. Many doctors suggest taking up a hobby as a distraction from pain, however research found that Arthritis sufferers have a lot of issues with gripping a sewing needle. Artusew works by allowing the user to use a mechanism to grip the sewing needle, making it easier for them to push and pull the needle through fabric.



artusew 2



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