We made a tangible interface for design for health, this is a master module of LUCA school of art Genk Belgium. We needed to make a solution for people with a special disease. Therefor we chose to make something for people with rheumatoid arthritis. The problem with this people is that they have deformed hands. Hereby they have a lot of problems with grabbing things for example an umbrella.
Step 1: Big Brainstorm
The solution will ensure that these people can hold things by a simple handle. because we only had two weeks the time to do this we have currently only focused on holding an umbrella.
We named it “The Handy Handle”. The handy handle is an tangible interface that can be used by people with rheumatoid arthritis provided by caregivers.
So what we did in the first step is :
- Making the solution in Rhino, grasshopper and arduino (firefly)
- How can we do this by a tangible interface?
In the next step we go on with our brainstorm about this tangible interface.
Step 2: Brainstorm Tangible Interface
First we began to prototype the interface.
We wanted to see how we can get the dimensions of our fingers. How can we measure the diameter and the position?
We went first trying to make a carton grid made by a lasercutter. The target could put his hand through it so we have the x and y coordinates and also the thickness of the fingers. Hooray, we created our first problem. By stabbing through the carton grid you took several pieces of the cardboard which the dimensions weren’t exactly correct. Conclusion this prototype failed completely.
Up to the next one. Then we tried to make some kind of handle with clay in which the target could hold the hand so that the print could be scanned. We could unfortunately not stay with this because of the technical defects and much tinkering and fiddling. It was too filthy and messy and also a too long duration. But we think there could be way that you can do it with clay or something else like plasticine!
Third time’s the charm.
The next prototype interface was the best interface. This has become our slider board with a handle with sliders.
Step 3: The Slider Board
The board has 4 buttons and 1 slider. It can measure the diameter of each finger. This allows that you can see the design of the product while you change values. Also you can change the handle through the plate thickness and you can soften the edges.
After many failures (such as buttons who were placed wrong and creating ambiguities ) we have yet a clear slider board with explicit steps you can go through.
Step 4: The Handle With Sliders
The handle was very difficult to design. This is because each hand is different and we aren’t product designers. We have done research about the ergonomic handles to make it comfortable for each hand. After many try-outs we came to the most-leaning ergonomic shape. The sliders themselves were still a problem. These were too short so you didn’t saw it as you grab the handle. Because of this we made also buttons for the sliders with a 3D printer.
Step 5: The Table
After all these we made also a table to put the board in it. So it will look fabulous in its entirety.
The table was first to short and not stable enough. By changing the height and put some extra plank down to the table, it’s now perfectly to sit down for our target.
Step 6: Additions
It would be better, we were able to make it along with several professionals as a product designer. People with other acquaintances of ergonomic products for example.
The handle is an unfinished product, but gives you an idea of how it could be.
The principle of working with clay could certainly provide better technical skills and materials.