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 Intelligent wheelchairs, predictive prostheses
20.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>