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Design for well-being


Innovation for People-this is what the project “Design for Well-Being” at Luleå University of Technology is all about. If people’s needs can be captured and carefully considered, then technology can help us feel better. This is the basic approach that is guiding eleven of the students in this year’s version of the course titled SIRIUS-Creative Product Development. Together with students from Stanford University and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, they are developing a wheelchair for winter use and intelligent systems for the home that increase the chances of the elderly being able to remain at home longer.

The project “Design for Well-Being” started at the Department of Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering, in the late summer of 2003, and soon connected with representatives of the departments of Health Science, Workplace Science, Educational Science, and Civil Engineering. Besides this interdisciplinary approach, contacts were forged with the Swedish National Association for Disabled Children and Young People (RBU) and the Swedish Disability Federation (HSO).

Designing for well-being means making it possible for functionally disabled people to participate more fully in sporting, cultural, leisure, and entertainment activities--aspects of daily life and of quality of life that are too often out of reach for the handicapped.

At an early stage of the project Stanford University and KTH in Stockholm expressed great interest in collaborating in this field, and this led to two global student projects being launched in October 2003 and scheduled to end in May this year. Within the framework of the final class in the SIRIUS--Creative Product Development Program, students from these universities are working together, supported by the world’s leading technology and methods for distributed engineering work.

CRE[EATIVO]2 is a collaborative project between Luleå students and students from Stanford University. The project grew out of the project team’s thorough needs analysis, which showed that the need for winterized wheelchairs is great. The goal of the project is to develop a safe mobility aid--an alternative to the wheelchair of today--that is easy to maneuver in varying terrain and weather. The aid must enhance the user’s access to public places and means of transportation, and it must be easy to transport. With three different foci-accessibility, seating comfort, and ease of transportation-this work has been carried out in an interactive developmental process in a global arena. The final design will be determined when the whole project team meets at Stanford University next week. Then there will be extensive hard work, since the objective is to show both a virtual model and a physical prototype at the final presentation in May.
INTELiCARE is a project in which Luleå students collaborate with students from KTH and Stanford University on a commission from the technology company Intel. The project aims to provide elderly people with a greater sense of well-being and quality of life by enhancing their ability to remain in their homes longer. The solution is to use intelligent systems in the home that monitor the level of physical and social of the user. With the aid of this system, both relatives and care-givers can get a better picture of the elderly person’s life. The system will also encourage physical and social activities by creating networks among elderly people. One plausible scenario would be a 70-year-old widow who lives alone. She has a son who is living a stress-filled life balancing career and family. He doesn’t have time to look in on his mother as often as he would like. Thanks to the INTELiCARE system he will be able to get a picture of his mother’s social and physical activities.

Lena Edenbrink | alfa
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