Studio 930 is a design consultancy at RIT, made up of design, business and engineering students, collaborating to research, develop, and deliver design solutions for emerging issues in the field of assistive and health technology.
During my time I was assigned to manage the Universal Lavatory project and later, the Speculum Redesign project. I managed the Universal Lavatory team from R&D, design and concept development to rapid prototyping a full-scale, functioning electronic mechanics. For the Speculum Redesign, we worked on R&D and iteration, working closely with the client, resulting in the concept stage. After the 10 weeks, the design solutions were presented to a group of clients and potential investors.
The project and presentation posters are as follows:
The common accessible public lavatories at care facilities, although functional in aiding people with mobility impairments, are alienating to users. They highlight the user's disability more so than their abilities with bulky attachments that makes the toilet look bizarre. This causes the targeted users to feel disheartened even in the most basic activity. Our group's goal for this project was to create a lavatory that was functional and also universal, to maintain the dignity of the users.
We worked with Rochester Regional Health, to conduct user-research, interviewing the care facility residential communities, as well as the staff and therapists who worked with them. Our primary advisor, Denise Lippa was crucial to our research as she is a physical therapist. Other sources of research came from the American Disability Act, benchmarking with foreign accessible bathroom designs, and conducting various design research methods.
The project was then interpreted into two parts; an interior design project and a product design project. For the interior design project, we sought out for the optimum universal bathroom set-up that met the needs of a variety of people with disabilities, as well as consideration of color swatches and materials references. For the product design aspect, we designed and engineered both the sink and toilet that would adjust in height to aid with universal mobility, keeping in mind a human-centric interface. The toilet had a secondary adjustment capability by including the angle adjustment of the toilet seat to help those with hip impairment. These designs were realized through traditional and rapid prototyping, having created several paper mock-ups and finalizing with a full-scale prototype with working electronic mechanics, at the LiveAbility Lab, at RIT's Al Sigl campus.
Video of our exhibit with the full-scale prototype.
Currently, the design of the speculum is a source of fear and nervousness for those who need to receive a vaginal exam. The common speculum used by OBGYN is the duckbill metal speculum. Cold and intrusive, the device causes patients to tense up making the procedure difficult for the examiner and the experience more stressful for the patients. Dr. John Jaeger (MD), our client, proposes a solution which will alleviate the process for the examiner and the patient.
Our role, with three other team members, were to develop his redesign for a speculum which promotes colposcopy to ease the care-provider's job, thus creating less discomfort for the patient, along with various other requirements which had not been realized in his design. Our research heavily focused on the human-centered aspect of the speculum and the interaction both the patients and care-providers would have with the device. We conducted several interviews with industry professionals on-campus and benchmarked with alternative speculum designs that exist. We also went on to further develop the form for the rest of this new speculum, namely the handle and shape of the speculum. We prototyped various forms, both in traditional and rapid (CAD) methods and adjusted the blade shape for more comfort for the patients. These were presented at the exhibit along with notes for future developments.