Design Innovation

Design Age Institute is partnering with designers and industry to develop innovative programmes and invest in pathfinder projects that will help bring an array of exciting new products and services for the healthy ageing marketplace towards market.

Design Innovation

The Healthy Ageing Marketplace

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FUNDING: TRANSPORT FOR LATER LIFE

Calling innovators with an idea that reimagines how transport options in the UK can better support a rapidly ageing population: Apply for up to £120k per project by 27 Feb.

Apply now  

Working with industry partners and businesses across the UK, our pathfinder projects focus on using design and design-led innovation to develop products and services that will enable people to enjoy five extra healthy, independent years of life and to remain at work for longer.

Our investment into innovative design for the under-exploited healthy ageing market includes seed funding, access to cutting edge-research, business opportunity scoping and mentoring, as well as connecting project teams with design expertise. Pathfinder projects will address key priorities across the core sectors of home, health and work

Case Studies

Discover more about our current Pathfinder Projects below.

  • Press release from January 2022, launching the first six Pathfinder Projects and a new call out for applications
  • Press release from January 2023, launching the Transport Innovation Pathfinder Programme

 

The Centaur - increased mobility for the world we live in

The Centaur - increased mobility for the world we live in

Centaur Robotics

Centaur is a revolutionary self-balancing, two-wheeled personal electric vehicle. The Design Age Institute is already collaborating with Centaur Robotics to enhance the way the Centaur communicates with users.

Now the Institute and Centaur Robotics are teaming up with the ExtraCare Charitable Trust to further enhance the vehicle’s sophisticated technology and the support services that make it easier to drive the vehicle. The work will also increase the potential market for the Centaur, which will be available at an affordable price.

Design principles and research enabled by the Design Age Institute will help make the Centaur attractive and ultra-safe for mobility impaired people in communities and private homes, both across the UK and internationally.

Coaroon coat - staying warm at home

Coaroon coat - staying warm at home

Ava Innes

As we age, a number of different body changes affect our tolerance to cold temperatures. This can have a significant impact on our health and independence. Coaroon, which takes its name from ‘cocoon coat’ and from the Scottish word ‘coorie’ meaning cuddle, is a garment for the home that supports an individual’s freedom of movement, while sustaining an even body temperature across a range of everyday activities, from reading, to working, to cooking. Conscious of the increasing costs of heating and its environmental impact, the creators of Coaroon, Joan Johnston and Sarah Morehead, were inspired to produce a skilfully made garment that helps people live longer, and more sustainably, at home.

Data-driven diabetes management

Data-driven diabetes management

Sheffield University and DAFNE

The Design Age Institute, in collaboration with Sheffield University and DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating), is working on a project to explore the design inclusivity of the WithCare+/Glucollector technology platform, a unique data-driven, evidence-based, bio-psycho-social integrated technology platform developed at Sheffield for diabetes management.

The project will allow the platform to be accessible to more people with diabetes. The platform will be both website and app enabled technology that allows diabetics to monitor their glucose levels quickly and easily at home, encouraging exercise and mobility, whilst also allowing healthcare professionals full data access and monitoring when required. This will enable optimal personalised control leading to better glucose control, avoidance of complications, improved quality of life and reduced costs.

Gita - a cargo-carrying robot companion

Gita - a cargo-carrying robot companion

National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA)

Gita® is a first-of-its-kind cargo-carrying following robot. The Gita robot pairs with a person and follows them while they walk. It can carry up to 18kg of cargo freeing the hands of the user. The Gita robots are being tested by Newcastle University’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), where they will study human experiences and interactions with the robots and explore user acceptance. NICA is a Design Age Institute partner.

The aim of the Gita robot is to supply older people with an intuitive and responsive companion, enabling them to have the confidence to engage with the outside world and their communities in a meaningful way. Designer-in-Residence Roseanne Wakely has been brought into the project from Design Age Institute to explore and expand the capabilities of Gita. She is using Gita as a platform to consider how older people can accommodate robots in their everyday lives in the city and support healthy ageing. Gita provides a new lens that grants them the opportunity to re-imagine and dream of their ideal city of the future. You can watch videos that showcase the benefits of Gita, including Health, Conversation and Companionship, here.

Gita® is made by robotics company Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF) and is backed by Piaggio Group, manufacturer of the iconic Vespa scooters.

Hearing Birdsong - an app to support early hearing loss diagnosis  

Hearing Birdsong - an app to support early hearing loss diagnosis  

Kennedy Woods

Hearing loss drives many critical age-related challenges, including social isolation, with strong links to increased dementia risks and cognitive deterioration. Design Age Institute will work with Kennedy Woods to develop a Hearing Birdsong app that will remove the barriers of social stigma and poor user design which currently leaves millions of people undiagnosed with an age-related hearing impairment and contributes to an average delay of 10 years.

Hearing Birdsong is an immersive digital audioscape that uses the inviting sound of British birdsong to engage people with their hearing health. It aims to humanise the diagnostic process and inspire users to protect their hearing health and long-term wellbeing by reconnecting with the natural environment. Hearing Birdsong has previously been trialled as a physical installation.

Home Office - living, working and ageing in place

Home Office - living, working and ageing in place

Northumbria University

The housing industry in the UK does not respond to the challenges of growing old. It continues to build homes that are very difficult to adapt, compromising the ability of people to age in place.

Northumbria University will be working with Design Age Institute to design and develop a purpose-built live/work environment within a prototype home, to be built at South Seaham Garden Village in County Durham. The project is supported by Karbon Homes as part of their commitment to ageing innovation and ageing-in-place strategies within the village. This design research will lead to a blueprint of how older people can work efficiently and effectively from home and remain productive beyond retirement age.

The prototype will consider layout, ergonomics, flexible and demountable furniture, lighting, and smart technology. It will be codesigned with members of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and older people, in collaboration with the NICA and Voice.

Intellage - smart insoles for active ageing

Intellage - smart insoles for active ageing

Walk with Path

IntellAge is a smart insole system for daily use. It aims to keep users active and safe by digitally tracking mobility and gait through a smart sensor system that feeds data into an app. By connecting users to real time information and prompts, they can not only understand and better manage their risk of falls, but also to improve their gait and function through haptic vibrations that can boost balance over time. Created by Walk With Path, the project was inspired by founder Lise Pape’s experience of her father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease, and its impact on his independence, mobility and wellbeing.

Light Cycle - light, darkness and wellbeing

Light Cycle - light, darkness and wellbeing

Clarion Futures
Circadian rhythms, our sleep-wake cycles which follow the sun, constantly change during our lifetime. Between the ages of 60 to 65 they start earlier and continue to shift by half an hour each decade. Light Cycle, an installation developed by Speirs Major as part of Design Age Institute’s display ‘Designing for our Future Selves”, explores how light and darkness can promote greater health and happiness in later life by improving our circadian rhythms to support mood, sleep patterns, temperature regulation and hormone release as we age. 
 
This project, focusing on light, darkness and wellbeing, was conceived to create intergenerational communities and enhance wellbeing by members of Clarion55, a national resident group of over-55’s led by Clarion Futures, part of Clarion Housing Group, the largest social landlord in England.
Independent lighting architects Speirs Major, are now working with light and wellness expert Dr. Shelley James, to collaborate with with members of Clarion55 to develop plans and interventions.
Luii - freedom from incontinence

Luii - freedom from incontinence

Binding Science Limited

Urinary incontinence, meaning to pass urine unintentionally, is a common condition of later life. An estimated 2.4 million people over 65 in the UK experience incontinence, with the everyday impacts negatively affecting health and wellbeing for many individuals and their families. Luii hand held urinals, created by Binding Sciences Limited, enable both able-bodied users and those with reduced mobility or dexterity to manage incontinence discreetly and flexibly, and maintain their independence and quality of life.

Founder Keith Binding was inspired by his mother’s experience with  incontinence issues to create accessible, gender inclusive products, that enable those who are aware of when they need to urinate to do so unaided, with dignity and confidence, remaining dry throughout.

Riser Chair - enabling sitting and standing

Riser Chair - enabling sitting and standing

Designed Healthcare Ltd

Riser Chair aims to assist users with sitting and standing while being a piece of furniture that people will not only need, but will want in their homes and offices. Creator Ali Jafari, founder of Designed Healthcare Ltd based at Innovation Studio Arts University Bournemouth, was inspired to create Riser Chair by his experience as a nurse assisting patients to sit and stand. Jafari is currently exploring the potential for an emotional attachment between user and chair– with the ambition of turning a daily challenge into a joyful, and even playful experience that improves health and wellbeing.

The Hamlyn Bank - inclusive banking for later life

The Hamlyn Bank - inclusive banking for later life

National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA)

As we age our banking needs change. However current banking services exclude many older users.

Design Age Institute, in collaboration with the institute partner Newcastle University’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), are working on a project to explore what a wholly inclusive bank could be.

Designer-in-residence, Roseanne Wakely, has been appointed to work with older bank users to discover their unique banking needs and the types of products and services required to serve them best in a user-friendly and accessible way.

Tides - sensuality for a lifetime

Tides - sensuality for a lifetime

Cellule Studio

By 2025, over a billion people globally will be experiencing menopause. Tides is a personal massager designed to accompany people during a key period of life where the body changes and evolves, celebrating sensuality for all. Designed by Salome Bazin, founder of Cellule Studio in collaboration with Giulia Tomasello, Tides uses vibration technologies to support people in menopause to navigate their symptoms and minimise impacts on their health and wellbeing to support longevity. Vibration therapy has incredible benefits: from relaxation and pleasure, to increasing blood flow and keeping tissue healthy and oxygenated.

Start-up School for Seniors - later-life entrepreneurs

Start-up School for Seniors - later-life entrepreneurs

Advantages of Age

Startup School for Seniors is an existing series of programmes aimed at people over the age of 50 to enable them to successfully navigate the path to self-employment or launch their own business.

Design Age Institute is working with them on their ‘Learn Your Way’ project which will enable participants to personalise their learning journey to achieve their own goals. To date, participants have done this for themselves, not only finding the material that they need, but also keeping track of their progress using course materials to support launching their new product or service. This can be overwhelming with the amount of content and mechanisms to learn and put it into practice.

Learn Your Way will enable participants to select and create their ideal learning environment. The key is to stay motivated, have fun, and learn your way to better outcomes and business success.

News

The Wisdom Hour: Transport

The Wisdom Hour: Transport

Presented by Design Age Institute and the Association of Royal Designers for Industry (RDI), designer and RDI Luke Pearson sits down with Royal College of…

WATCH: The Wisdom Hour

WATCH: The Wisdom Hour

Fashion designers Betty Jackson and Ellen Fowles, sat down for "The Wisdom Hour" to discuss wisdom, designing and ageing in a changing world.

Ageing in a Changing World

Ageing in a Changing World

Fashion designers Betty Jackson and Ellen Fowles sit down to discuss wisdom, designing and ageing in a changing world.

Reimagining the walker

Reimagining the walker

Announcing Michael Strantz (MA Design Products, 2022) as the winner of the Hamlyn Walker Challenge to rethink the walker as reliable, desirable and joyful.

Questionnaire: Falls

Questionnaire:  Falls

Share your experiences as part of a project exploring the incidence of falls as we grow older, and contribute to improving stability and safety.

Hamlyn Walker Challenge

Hamlyn Walker Challenge

A fantastic opportunity to redesign an everyday mobility aid and develop your design at world-leading design consultancy.