How can design enhance the experience of ageing? This was the question that led three teams from NUS Industrial Design to create their award-winning prototypes during a two-day design marathon organised by DesignSingapore Council.
Held for the first time from 9 to 10 January at the National Design Centre, Designathon brought together design professionals and students, infocomm technology developers and healthcare specialists to design solutions around the theme “Living Beautifully: Designing for our Golden Years”.
With their simple yet effective solutions which married familiar objects with new technology, the winning NUS teams stood out from a total of 170 participants forming 33 teams.
Coming in second place were Year 3 students Alex Teo, Kevin Chiam, Anthony Yu and Lim Yong Kang from Team k.a.y.a who designed Loop, a stylish air cushion that promotes micro exercise movements for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. The constant motion helps the elderly be more aware of their posture while strengthening core muscles and lumbo-pelvic control. A pocket of air also assists them in getting up from their seat by gently propelling them forward.
Taking home the Best User-Centred award was Team Boleh comprising Year 2 students Jon Chan, John Teo, Chin Guo Hong and Ching Soon Tiac. The team designed an activity calendar app called Boleh to encourage the elderly to participate in community activities. With both tangible and digital interfaces, their design mimics the traditional calendar of yesteryears, complete with cut-out discount coupons.
Team Wheelchair, comprising research assistants Raymond Hon and Eason Chow, together with LASALLE College of the Arts student Tisha Haryanto, won the Best Business Model award for their creation designed to make daily living simpler for the wheelchair-bound. The design features a seat cushion that uses a pulley system to aid the elderly in putting on trousers as well as a collapsible shopping bag attached to the armrest by Velcro, allowing them to shop independently.
Participants’ designs were judged based on originality, design of user experience, technical feasibility and business sustainability by a panel of acclaimed professionals.
Presenting the awards to the winners, Guest-of-Honour Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said, “Design can be an effective approach for addressing societal issues and delivering better services for the community. I am happy to see so many teams comprising designers, design students, technology experts and healthcare specialists coming together to create innovative design solutions to help our elderly live better.”