Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University Designers Tackle Universal Problem

02.04.2003


Designers at Staffordshire University have come up with a solutions package with the potential to make life a lot easier for everyone.



The University’s Centre for Rehabilitation Robotics has spent more than a year involved in PACKAGE, a £1.5 million European Commission project concerned with making small changes to consumer packaging in a bid to improve "openability"

Now after rigorous trials carried out throughout Europe, the Centre are hoping that the world’s biggest food and drink manufacturers will use the research to help disabled and elderly people to get to grips with the problems of awkward packaging.


"The project chose to concentrate on selected pack types where simple modification would benefit a much larger market quickly and effectively, "explained senior designer Richard Huxley.

These included screw top drinks bottles, biscuit packets, bread bags and cereal boxes. Modifications were made and put to the test in user trials in the UK, France, Italy and Sweden. The trials involved a wide range of users and were conducted under a strict protocol with video back up.

Richard added: "There have been a number of articles released in recent years highlighting the need for better packaging design. Design companies and other institutions have discussed how design with the aged in mind can improve market share.

"After our research and contact with different user groups, we feel positive that industry can change most pack types and make a difference, without incurring great cost."

Successful modifications include:
• the introduction of a small notch on a screw top bottle cap which would allow the use of a simple moulded spanner tool to open and close. The notch could be replaced by the embossed logo of a manufacturer.
• a simple ring tab was used on biscuit packets and bread bags, the current tear strip proving difficult to operate for many users. This enabled many users, even those with severe arthritis, poor muscle control or tremor, to open the pack without the need for kitchen knife or scissors. Video evidence supports this case with a young girl who has cerebral palsy opening the packs perfectly for the first time in her life.
• a conventional cereal box was adapted with a large tab for initial opening. Once open, the tab becomes an integral part of a pouring spout proving useful for all, including those with tremor and poor co-ordination.

Through the project, the University’s Centre for Rehabilitation Robotics has also developed the Powerhand - an electronic opening device which designers hope will be available in shops in time for Christmas.

The overall project was carried out in collaboration with Strathclyde University, Lunde University in Sweden, German company FTB and test centres in France and Italy.

Richard added: "Both integrity and brand image remain strong drivers in packaging design. Our studies reflect in a multi-national sense that there is a wider market for making small changes to packaging.

"Our centre would be very interested in taking studies further with companies wishing to trial products over Europe and in the design of more easily openable packaging. We have a large number of users available to trial packaging with established and successful protocols and analysis."

The Centre for Rehabilitation Robotics at Staffordshire University is currently involved as a Partner in a number of EU-funded projects concerned with the development of devices designed to aid the rehabilitation and improve the quality of life for elderly and disabled people. The Centre can be contacted on (01782) 294477.


Maria Scrivens | alfa

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Etching Microstructures with Lasers
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Applying electron beams to 3-D objects
23.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified

05.12.2016 | Information Technology

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>