SAMARTH

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.

PROJECT TYPE

Two member Team project of integrated medical device design course, also part of the James Dyson Product Design National winner 2018.

ROLE

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.

Picture1.jpg
Picture2.jpg
Picture3.jpg

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.

SNEAK PEAK

APPROACH

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.

Picture4.jpg

RESEARCH

WHY?

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.

OBSERVATION

 

- 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

SELF EXPLORATION

- 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

INTERVIEWS

-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

Picture6.jpg

SYNTHESIS

FINDINGS

  • 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

INSIGHTS

  • “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

HOW?

REVISED PROBLEM STATEMENT

“To develop an affordable  medium for transfer of wheelchair users from wheelchair to any medium and vice versa.” 

USER STORY

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 

Picture7.jpg

IDEATION

Picture8.jpg

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.

123.jpg
20180531_222615.jpg
20180531_224544.jpg

PROTOTYPE

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.

20180829_134219.jpg
qwe.jpg
Untitled-5.jpg

WHAT?

10.jpg
1wdee.jpg

FEEDBACK

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

1234566.jpg

My learning

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.