As it’s been a while I thought I’d write a quick update on the progress I’ve been making on the Design For MSK project. Working alongside my fellow designers Houda Kaddouh, Claire Davison and Adnan Arif, we have collaborated with a group of young patients to try and create a selection of products to assist them in everyday life.
Initially I began by researching the products currently available to those who suffer various musculoskeletal conditions. What I noticed was although many of them helped with the functionality of every day life, there were few which were also aesthetically pleasing. Most of the items I found are bulky and conspicuous, rather than stylish.
The ideas I firstly sketched out were modular pill boxes and medicine cases which would allow you to only carry the medicine you need around. I also was interested in redesigning bags, or elements of bags to make them more comfortable for use at school or college.
At the first workshop I discussed the idea combining a pill boxes with other items carried around regularly such as makeup bags or water bottles. I was particularly interested in creating modular pieces which would allow the user to organise their medication for the week/month, but only carry what they need around on a daily basis. Again like many other medical products, there are very few available which are stylish.
Over the past few weeks I have been developing ideas not only for the design of the boxes, but also the way they will connect together. I don’t want this to be a difficult as many participants said they struggle with dexterity. I have been considering clips, magnets and sliding mechanisms.
Another area I have explored is the way to make bags more comfertable, partially for school or college. A number of people who attended the workshop mentioned they struggled when choosing a school bag as it was difficult to find a design which is both fashionable and supportive. One main issues they came across was the straps were not wide enough causing shoulder pains. They also said they would like the ability to turn a shoulder bag into a backpack if necessary.
I have looked into adapting a back support to allow it to hold a variety of bags, turning them into a backpack when needed. My concern at the moment is it will be difficult to create a stylish design. A purely functional design is something I want to avoid.
Alternatively, rather than create a whole back support I have also been thinking of creating an attachment which will make shoulder straps thicker adding extra support. This could be attached to any bag strap and a small pocket would allow the user to insert an ice or heat pack to help alleviate any shoulder pains they were feeling.
I’m looking forward to the next workshop on Saturday to discuss these ideas with everyone! Follow the progress of this project by using the tag #DesignForMSK over on Twitter and Instgram.