Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Design Innovation (CDI) and Scope Australia have commenced a three-year product design program. Working with Scope’s Innovation and Service Delivery teams, CDI researchers and experts in design and manufacturing technology, are using new and emerging technologies to identify opportunities to improve the lives of people with disability.
The aim of the program is to develop viable solutions that take advantage of the opportunities design and technology provides to large numbers of Scope’s customers and disability support workforce. The initial discovery phase commences in late 2020.
The Swinburne Scope partnership, Collaborative Research Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding was established in 2018. The product design program builds on two joint projects underway within the Faculty of Health, Arts and Design and the Swinburne School of Design - Safety@Work and the Wheelchair of the Future.
Swinburne’s Centre for Transformative Media Technologies, with Director Professor Kim Vincs and her team, has been collaborating with Scope on the Safety@Work project using virtual reality (VR) technology to improve staff training in the provision of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS).
Trialling the Saftey@Work prototype at Swinburne CTMT | CTMT
The project launched in September 2019 with Victorian Government funding, following development and testing of a VR prototype. Deputy Director of CDI, Professor Jeni Paay, is a lead researcher on the project. Scope’s lead expert is Mark Di Marco, Senior Practitioner, Positive Behaviour Support Services.
A fully integrated PBS and VR learning program for disability support workers is due for completion in late 2020, with a comprehensive evaluation planned in 2021.
The Wheelchair of the Future project aims at improving prescription, manufacture, comfort and affordability of wheelchairs. Director of CDI’s core program, Smart Products Engineering, Professor Franz Konstantin Fuss leads the project, and with CDI members Dr Udi Weizman, Dr Adin Tan and Professor Rachael McDonald from Swinburne’s Iverson Health Research Institute, the team has developed a world-first high-accuracy sensor platform for wheelchairs.
The complex needs of individual wheelchair users can be customised | Scope
The sensor platform monitors wheelchair travel variables such as speed, location, surface incline and a user’s body position. The data collected enables a more personalised prescription and adjustment for an individual’s wheelchair and responds to real-world usage over time. Future research effort is focusing on innovative construction methods for wheelchairs, customisation and the development of a prescription process that has a user-centred approach.
The Wheelchair of the Future project aims at improving prescription, manufacture, comfort and affordability of wheelchairs | Scope
In the new CDI product design program, Director of CDI, Professor Blair Kuys and Director of CDI’s core program Future Self Living Lab, Associate Professor Sonja Pedell, will be driving research and concept development that focuses on exploration of emerging technologies that can potentially be implemented into the lives of Scope’s customers and workforce to further improve their lives. The collaboration effort from Scope is led by John Scahill, Manager Innovation & Competitive Practice, and draws on a range of disability experts.
“The program will result in a range of new ideas for Scope developed using a structured user-centred design approach, with the aim of having some of the new product ideas developed further through to manufacturing and commercialisation,” says Professor Kuys.