[vicsireland] Re: Designers address challenge of getting from A to B

hi tim,
this is a great read and gives hope to many people with a disability, some great ideas here,
hopefully this recession wont render them  to the dust shelves
regards
paul
----- Original Message ----- From: "Tim Culhane" <tim.culhane@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <vicsireland@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 1:27 PM
Subject: [vicsireland] Designers address challenge of getting from A to B


From Today's Irish Times.



Engineering and designer teams were challenged to come up with ideas to
allow disabled people to get around Dublin city, writes JOHN REYNOLDS

STRONG COFFEE, intense collaboration and a wide range of ideas and opinions
fuelled Dublin's first 24-hour Universal Design Challenge last Friday and
Saturday,
and the capital's streets might soon become a little easier to navigate as a
result.

Five diverse teams of web and product designers, architects, engineers,
design students and partners discovered that the city presents a surprising
number
of obstacles to those with disabilities who are simply trying to get from A
to B.

They were presented with a design brief last Friday morning and asked to
examine various routes in the city centre, several of which took in the
Millennium,
Ha'penny and Grattan Bridges, then to design something that would make the
route, environment, space or journey more accessible.

Urged by renowned British designer Michael Wolff - who has worked on
branding and logos for Audi, Apple Records, BP, British Airways and the
Labour Party
- not to plagiarise from other designs or imitate them, challenge organiser
Julia Cassim also spoke about the growing market for products for people
over
the age of 50.

"In western Europe, spending by the over-50s has increased three times
faster than spending by the under-50s during the past 20 years. Thirty per
cent of
Japan's population will be over 65 by 2030.

"Disabled people are another key group because, by understanding the
extreme, you can innovate for the mainstream. If you can address the
requirements of
these two groups of people, universal design principles dictate that you can
create something that can be used by everyone, regardless of their age, size
or ability," she said.

With these guidelines in mind, the overall winner of the challenge was What
A Load of Bollards, a simple but effective mapping system designed with the
needs of the visually impaired in mind.

The system consists of a navigation unit that sits on top of the ordinary
bollards that are found in many of the capital's streets with arrows that
point
in the direction of well-known landmarks such as St Stephen's Green,
Connolly station and the Guinness Storehouse.

It features a slider that revolves around the unit and increases the size of
the text displaying directions to the landmarks, a backlit display for
night-time
use and a button that can be pressed to activate spoken directions as well.

Led by architect and PAC Studio director Peter Crowley, the design team
suggested that bollards be coated in rubber to reduce injury in the event of
a visually
impaired person colliding with them and suggested that they be painted in a
fluorescent colour for the same reason. Bollards could also be painted in
order
to show a route that users could follow.

Justin Knecht, programme manager at Sligo IT's Centre for Design Innovation,
led the team which won the People's Choice Award.

With the help of their visually disabled partner Genny Carraro and their
experience of walking with her along Abbey Street between Capel Street and
Liffey
Street, they designed a navigation system based on the route with the least
obstacles for someone with a disability.

The system consists of a website, where registered users would record the
routes they found easiest to travel, and it could also make full use of the
navigation
capabilities of many mobile phones.

Silicon Valley native Chris Kurjan, a co-founder of consultancy Innovation
Delivery, who has worked on innovation systems with BMW, Pepsi and Procter
Gamble,
led a team who designed Green Leaf, a logo-based signposting system for
highlighting how accessible a location is for wheelchair users.

The information would also be accessible via a website, public information
points and through mobile phones.

A fourth team led by architect Viktoria Kavanagh designed Ground Control, an
illuminated plate attached to the footpath that houses a spring-activated
button,
which in turn activates traffic light buttons, wheelchair ramps or requests
a bus to stop by sending a radio frequency signal.

The team of design consultant and NCAD industrial design lecturer Frank Long
faced what initially seemed like an impossible challenge in coming up with
an idea, given that their design partner Nick Corish (85), a former school
principal now working in outdoor education - and who enjoys windsurfing and
rock-climbing in his spare time - lacked any obvious problems in getting
around the city centre.

After learning about his wife, Pheny, who suffers from osteoperosis, and on
hearing a tale about how Nick and Pheny enjoyed a memorable motorbike trip
from
Dublin to Rome when they were younger, the designers had an idea.

The result is Plus One, a pod-like trailer designed to be compatible with
bikes of the popular Dublin City Bikes scheme. It can be used to carry a
passenger,
to carry shopping, or to carry a child in relative safety and has
power-assisted wheels so it can be used with minimal effort by a cyclist.

In a closing speech, Prof Mark Dyer, head of TrinityHaus at Trinity College
- which co-hosted the event with the National Disability Authority's Centre
for Excellence in Universal Design in association with the British Royal
College of Art's Helen Hamlyn Centre - urged each of the five teams to apply
to
Enterprise Ireland for funding in order to take their ideas to proof of
concept stage with a view to commercialising them.

"These inspiring ideas, that have been developed in such a short period of
time, can be turned into something tangible, showing at least one path that
can
help to take us forward out of this recession," he added.

-------------------------
Tim Culhane,
Critical Path Ireland,
42-47 Lower Mount Street,
Dublin 2.
Direct line: 353-1-2415107
phone: 353-1-2415000

Tim.culhane@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.criticalpath.net

Critical Path
a global leader in digital communications
------------------------



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