March 30, 2008

Welcome to the Everyday People Design Project blog, which was set up in 2008 as part of the Open University course, ‘Innovation: Designing for a Sustainable Future’. 

The course dealt with questions such as; how do successful innovations emerge, how do designers, technologists, managers and end-users create and develop new ideas, designs and inventions, how are these translated into marketable products? It also looked at how innovation can be directed towards ensuring an environmentally sustainable future.

Structured into five blocks that explored various aspects of innovation, at the end of each block, students were expected to submit an assignment. In addition, central to the course, was a design project.

Children like Zak and Jeno were the inspiration for the Everday People Project.

Children like Zak and Jeno were the inspiration for the Everyday People Project.

The Everyday People Design Project blog was set up partly for user research, partly as a diary and partly as a way of keeping in touch with those who I hoped, would be kind enough to help me, with ideas, comments and feedback – thankfully there were lots and I am indebted to them for their help.

Even before I started the project, I knew that I wanted my chosen design to help people with disabilities in some way, as I believe that products are often designed with no consideration of the needs of disabled people and that people who have no experience of disability, are often blissfully unaware of the issues disabled people face.  The name for the project came from a song by Sly and the Family Stone.

A number of alternative ideas were considered in the early stages of the project but it was the concept of an all terrain vehicle for a child with a physical disability which was later progressed; research undertaken by myself indicated that there was a gap in the market for an all terrain vehicle, designed specifically for a child, that would allow access to mountains, hiking trails, beaches and music festivals held in muddy fields.

One parent advised that, having searched high and low, she was unable to find a decent all-terrain motorized buggy for a child with a neuromuscular condition. She commented that scooters, are often huge cumbersome things weighing an absolute tonne, which needed a trailer just to transport them and for which children needed to be a minimum age of 14.

Adam was one of the children of this project - this image shows him on his bicycle which has supportive seating and a safety belt.

Adam was one of the children who inspired this project - this image shows him on his bicycle which has supportive seating and a safety belt.

The course was challenging to say the least but I learnt a lot and at the time of writing, had received interest from a number of people, wanting to know more about the outcomes of the project, so I am hopeful that maybe something positive will come out of my work.

To learn more, please use the links on the right, which will take you through the different stages of the project. If you are interested in learning more about the findings of the project, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Setember 2008


12 Responses to “About”

  1. Pat (in New Jersey) Says:

    You have done such a fantastic job with creating and growing The Information Point for Centronuclear and Myotubular Myopathy! You are making a positive difference on a global scale. THANK YOU!! We wish you great success in this and in all that you do!

  2. tonilouisa Says:

    Thank you so much Pat.

    Hopefully things will get a bit more interesting as the course progresses. I will try and include some pictures here too.

    Can’t actually believe that in 7 months I could have a degree – it’s been a long time coming.

    I always said if I got this far I would go for Honours but I am just focusing on getting to October right now.

    Toni xx

  3. wendy Says:

    Hi Toni,
    Well done you for your determination and tenacity and for coming so far in your OU….the end is almost in sight!! We think you are an incredible girl! Can’t wait to see the end ‘product’ for this module! Here’s hoping you get your honours too – you certainly deserve it!
    Much love, Wendy, Simon, Sophie and Zak xxxx

  4. tonilouisa Says:

    Thank you Wendy – it has been a long haul but as you say I am almost there now.

    Toni xx

  5. Liz Murray Says:

    Hi Toni,

    Thank you for logging your query on the EHDC website (ref 8158 and 8160).

    As part of the new Cycling for All project in East Hants we have access to 3 trikes and a tandem bike and we are aiming to promote the hire of these bikes to people with disabilities in the local area. The initial focus of the project is at Alice Holt Woodland Park, nr Farnham. There will be a small launch event for the project at Alice Holt on Monday 5th May from 10am.

    Clive Andrews is the Cycling Development Officer for the project and would be more than happy to provide you with more information. If you contact me directly i can provide you with his contact details.

    Look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

  6. tonilouisa Says:

    Thought I would write a few words to update on the progress of this project. I have now submitted my second assignment, including a project proposal for a motorised vehicle for a child with with a disability. I received my results pretty quickly last time, so am hopeful to hear back from my tutor by the end of next week.

    The survey result for this project highlighted a number of products that are currently on the market, however, all of these were considered to need improvements, to make them suitable for all terrain use and for children:

    ATV: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-terrain_vehicle

    Boma: http://www.moltenrock.co.uk/

    Invacare Storm: http://www.invacare.eu.com/innovation_zone/power_wheelchairs.php

    MK1 Power Trike: http://www.pdq.tv/powertrike_mk1

    TGR Explorer Wheelchair: http://www.tgr.it/explorer/explorer-caratecn-en.html

    Tramper: http://www.tramper.co.uk/specifications.htm

    Trekinetic: http://www.trekinetic.com/

    Wassilli wheelchair from Italy: Unable to find website.

    I would be really interested for some additional detailed feedback about these products for example what people like and dislike about the products, what features make the product suitable / unsuitable, what features would make the product more suitable etc. You can email me direct or leave a comment here, so that others can read and respond.

    Although my research is indicating that people think a trike design is the most appropriate design for their needs – I need to come up with a minimum of 4 possible design ideas, so if you do have any other ideas, that are not ‘trike related’ please let me know.

    All feedback will be valuable to me and maybe, at the end of the project, the ideas could be submitted to manufacturers of such vehicles for consideration as possible improvements to their products. I have been in touch already with a couple of organisations who are showing an interest in this project and Molten Rock, the makers of the Boma, have advised me that they have talked about developing a ‘Baby Boma’ for children, so there may be an opportunity here to influence the design of this.

  7. Helen Bryant Says:

    You could contact the Disabled Parents Network: http://www.disabledparentsnetwork.org.uk/cgi-bin/site/site.cgi
    This is mainly for disabled parents, but of course they were children, once, and they may also have a disabled child (or more).
    Good luck!

  8. sarah Says:

    try looking at the deigns by http://www.dragonmobility.com/


  9. Helen Says:

    Hi, I’ve already sent an email but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to send something here, too.

    I wondered if you watched The Gadget Show last night – they had a very entertaining item on outdoor vehicles (quad bikes, really).

    I don’t think any would’ve been suitable for disabled people, (particularly the one that turned over and split its presenter into the mud!) but it might be a good frame of reference.


    Hope all is well with the project.

  10. tonilouisa Says:

    Hello Helen

    Thank you for the comment.

    I didn’t see this show but will take a look at the link you sent.

    I did catch the tail end of a previous show though, that covered green bicycles, see http://gadgetshow.five.tv/jsp/5gsmain.jsp?lnk=401&featureid=789&pageid=-1&show=s8e10&section=Features, which has been very useful when considering the energy sources for my design.

    Unfortunately, the government seemed to re-consider the use of bio fuels earlier this week, so http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7494105.stm might have to do a bit of a re-write now.

  11. tonilouisa Says:

    Hello Sarah

    Thank you for the comment about Dragon Mobility.

    I have taken a look at their website and contacted them also, as their designs are specifically for children and therefore very relevant to my project.

  12. Pat Haughey Says:

    Hi Toni

    Just been reading your course work and the high marks you got on each assigment, Well done, you are some kid
    what with your marvellous work on the web and keeping in touch with all your fans, you are an inspiration to us all, long may it continue.


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