Samarth is an assistive mechanism to provide an easy, safe and convenient way of shifting wheel chair users, from wheelchair to other mediums and ease the life of care givers.
Two member Team project of integrated medical device design course, also part of the James Dyson Product Design National winner 2018.
Working from the start to the end of a
2-month engagement with multiple
ideation, iteration, prototyping and testing.
HOW THIS STARTED ?
As part of our 2nd semester Medical Device Design Project - we had an initial discussion with the doctors and came across the problem of shifting from wheelchairs. We initially made our designs mostly orienting the feedback from doctors - which led to the first prototype - though serving the purpose, it had initiated further conversations.
More than anything else, what mattered the most to the wheelchair user community was their dependency on multiple things for every need. There were multiple factors behind a simple act of getting transferred. To understand the complexities and designing a solution which could solve the problem holistically from their perspective was the major challenge.
We had learnt about the Design Thinking Process by Stanford. d school. It is a creative problem solving framework which helps in addressing key challenges of the real world. The process seemed linear to begin with,but only after our first prototype we understood that it was the repetitive pattern within the process which actually helps understand the problem.
Our visit to hospitals and care homes gave us deeper understanding of issues faced by the users like fear of falling, portability and Repetitive Strain Injury for the caregivers. On interacting with individuals at the Cheshire Home for Disability, we learnt that there is lack of an effective solution which could efficiently shift patients to and from wheelchairs addressing our Indian context.
- Follow a designated routine for activities
- Outdoor activities are usually avoided
- Force acceptance of hardships being faced
- Try to come as close as possible to the shifting medium
- Wheelchair makes them more handicapped
- The wheel is preferable to be in the front for better operation
- Limited activities possible once you sit in wheelchair
-The users had this notion that, even after accepting the harsh reality of a limited lifestyle, they are reminded of their hardship in each and every step of every activity
Perpetual Backpain of Caregiver
There are Different wheelchairs for differrent purposes
Stability is very important for Patients
They usually feel Cramps while shifting If height differences they prefer shifting to lower heights
They prefer portable solutions
Age is an important factor
“Saree ka Pallu atak jata hai”
DESIGN FOR INDIAN CONTEXT
”I have to call my father for every small thing” EMOTIONAL STRESS OF patient
“I don’t prefer carrying anything extra” ADDITIONAL BAGGAGE
“How can I trust any object without testing” PRODUCT ACCEPTABILITY
“I cannot spend my entire salary on my illness” AFFORDABILITY
REVISED PROBLEM STATEMENT
“To develop an affordable medium for transfer of wheelchair users from wheelchair to any medium and vice versa.”
A 52-year-old loco pilot in Indian railways. He lives in Govt quarters of railway in Faridabad Haryana. Rajesh’s Wife is wheelchair user from last 3 years because of her knee failure. He has a son who is an IT engineer in Bangalore. Rajesh can’t afford a full-time maid to take care of his wife Instead, though for household jobs he has hired a maid. During Festive season, the maid usually takes leave.Owing to the same festive season rush, the railways also had delayed trains running quite late.Rajesh’s wife struggles throughout the day coping with every task on her wheelchair and stays awake at night waiting for her husband
1. The Chineese Fan
2. The Seat - detach
3. The roller model
4. The inflatable airbag
5. The cascading flap
6. Wheel Modulation
7. The openable armrest
Our Ideation sessions included many discussions and sketching where we tried to map out every solution in our mind. We tried visualising most of our ideas by different scales of prototypes which helped us refine our solution to a great extent. When the modification of the wheel seemed a feasible option - we had many questions of the strength and durability of a wheel modulation, hence multiple iterations.
We further Modulated the wheel for creating space to facilitate convenient lateral shift.Total 5 trials of wheels were made to tested for strength and stability, eventually leading to full scale wooden prototype.The arm-rest prototyping was another self-invention as we formulated an additional use of table.
This was the best phase of the entire project. Showing the outcome to one our users who had been part of our discussions since the beginning. He had been delighted to see the outcome and his delight was our biggest achievement. His feedback included important
observations which are very important for our future work.
1. Working on the aesthetics and form appeal should be focussed
2.Height of the board should be adjustable to accomodate different solutions
3. Just one opening in the wheel would be sufficient, as efficient manuevering is part of wheelchair usage training.
4.Lock mechanism of the wheel should be quick and easy
Anupama, a 42 year-old homemaker’s life changed in 2012, when she met with a brutal accident to become a paraplegic individual. We not only witnessed her affected mobility but also the mental trauma she suffered owing to extensively exhausting struggle, every single time she had to shift.
With all this in mind, we started our journey to find an answer which could make these lives a little burden free and independent.
It was an amazing summer where we learned and had a lot of fun as well.
It was the best team work we'v donee.