A group of Master students in industrial design from Mid Sweden university received a special mention for “great effort, innovative ideas and important contribution to the contest” by the jury of “…ma così è la vita!”, a design contest that the students participated in.
Why did you choose to participate in the competition?
We had a course called “User centered design for all, process 2”, in which our teachers asked us if we wanted to take part in this competition as a part of the course, an idea we thought might be fun since we could apply our knowledge from our studies on solving the competition´s particular problem.
Can you describe your project and your contribution to the competition?
In the competition, they asked us to look into Huntington's disease and especially into their toilet situation. Since signs and symptoms of the disease can vary between individuals without any typical patterns, it means the disease needs special attention in terms of design. So what we tried to do was to meet as many people with the disease as possible, to gain an understanding of their situation. Then, since the disease is so rare, we tried to see similarities with other diseases based on the symptoms, to be able to test our solutions. It was a process that gave us insight into many different diseases and situations. In the end, it all came down to: How can we improve their lives by designing something that everybody wants and anybody can benefit from? An important part of our design is that we all thought that we should not design something exclusively for people with a disease, but rather to design something that everyone can use.
You received a special mention for innovative ideas and important contribution to the contest. Can you tell us what made your project and contribution special?
In our program we are always supposed to question everything. In this project, it happened to be questioning the toilet, a design that hasn't changed for decades. For a toilet to become something more than what it is today and to be functional for more people, it was in need of a bigger change. We believe that the thing separating us from the other groups and the thing that granted us this prize is that we made a big change to make the toilet fit into any person’s home, based on studies we conducted that covered people with different disabilities.
Do you plan to participate in more competitions in the future?
Yes, competitions are a great way of putting yourself and your knowledge to the test. Often, these kinds of competitions cover an interesting and more or less unexplored area where you have the chance to give your thoughts on how it should develop.