One such student is Fiona Harperwho is studying BSc (hons) Product Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee.
Fiona was inspired to focus on older people because “I started researching how the changes in demographics will start to change the way we care for our elders, particularly in the community and how the strain on resources and costs will mean that our government will have to make plans to provide additional care for those living at home”.
“Reassure“ aims to create a new way of communicating with more vulnerable members of the family who are living independently, allowing carers to feel reassured about their wellbeing in a subtle and non-intrusive way.
“Reassure”is a pair of porcelain electronic milk cartons. One carton is placed in the older person’s fridge and the other in a prominent position in the family or carer’s home. The devices are activated when the older person opens the fridge door which triggers the family’s carton to light a particular colour eg 1st fridge opening red, 2nd fridge opening blue and so on. The ambient colour change allows families to be reassured that their older relative is active and mobile throughout the day.
I particularly like this design because although it is a “telecare” product, it is simple, familiar and non-intrusive. Milk bottles have always been a way of subtly checking on a neighbour’s wellbeing. In the days when milk was routinely delivered to the door, milk still outside the front door at midday would signal to the neighbours that there was a potential problem. “Reassure” brings this concept bang up to date.
You can see Fiona Harper’s work (which has earned her a first class degree) at the DJCAD degree show from 16th – 27th May and at New Designers in London 4th – 7th July.