Innovation for Independence

Case Studies

Here you will find a range of example innovations that will provide food for thought and perhaps some inspiration.

Products

Bradley Timepiece

The Bradley Timepiece is a stylish, tactile watch designed for visually impaired people. The watch was named after Bradley Snyder, the Paralympian gold medallist who lost his sight in Afghanistan. The watch was a favourite in the nominations for the Design of the Year award at London's Design Museum this year.

The Bradley is comprised of two ball bearings that are pulled around the watch face by a magnet, allowing users to tell the time without needing to look — the front ball denotes minutes, while the rear ball denotes the hour. The Bradley has been described as the quickest and most efficient way of telling time by touch developed so far.

Originally developed for blind people, the Bradley’s smart, beautiful design means that the watch is in popular demand from both sighted and visually impaired individuals, and makes it an ideal business watch for its discreet method of telling the time.

The Bra Angel

The Bra Angel Dressing Aid is a helpful device for women who can only use one hand and who need to put on a bra without assistance. Designed by an occupational therapist, The Bra Angel gives women back their independence and privacy when dressing, and is designed to provide support whether it’s needed for just a short period after injury or for people living with a longer, more permanent disability.

The Bra Angel is extremely effective and easy to use – the device is placed over a user’s neck and works by holding one end of the strap ready for fastening, in order for the user to attach the other end easily with their functioning hand. The Bra Angel works in the same way to remove a bra.

The Bra Angel helps anyone with reduced hand or arm function, grip or movement, for example through arthritis, a stroke, injury or amputation. 

Technologies

Kapten PLUS

Kapten PLUS is a voice controlled personal mobility assistant, designed to ease the mobility of those living with blindness or visual impairments. The Kapten PLUS is a very small GPS locator designed to be carried. As the user walks down the street, the device speaks direction and location, so the user always knows where they are and where they are heading. Users can plan and store routes and tag locations for regular routes, such as going to and from work or shops. It can be controlled either by pressing keys or by giving voice commands.

The Kapten PLUS offers an incredible amount of security, confidence and a wealth of useful information, allowing blind people to travel independently without fear of getting lost or wandering in the wrong direction.

Brain in Hand

Brain in Hand was founded by a father to help his autistic son to be more independent. The app is designed to assist people with Autism, Asperger's or brain injury through SmartPhone technology, interactive website and mentoring.

The app assists individuals with day-to-day activities, allowing users to plot their diaries, consider any challenges they might face and suggesting solutions to overcome them. The app also includes a traffic light system that helps users to monitor their moods and alerts a “mentor” if they are feeling highly anxious, allowing them to contact the user immediately and provide support.

Brain in Hand makes a positive difference to people’s lives at home, at work and in education, as well as enabling health and social care services to deliver higher quality care at a reduced cost.

The app not only helps individuals with learning difficulties move towards greater independence, but also works in mainstream schools, colleges and universities for anyone having difficulties with engaging in learning to help keep their education on track.

Systems

Electronic voting machines

One of the basic aspects of a democracy is the ability to vote anonymously. Electronic voting machines can help ensure that voters with disabilities experience the same rights as other voters, and is a system that can be used by disabled and non-disabled voters alike.

Before electronic voting systems were introduced, the ability to vote privately was not an option for some disabled people. The traditional paper and pencil methods, or any voting systems using punch cards, meant that some disabled people required assistance in the booth, and were therefore denied the same privileges as non-disabled people living in a democracy.

Electronic voting machines allow voters with visual disabilities to hear ballot choices through voice-to-text technology, and mobility impaired voters are able to use accessible buttons, or a ‘sip and puff’ device – for paraplegic people.

Home automation

Home automation involves automation of the home, housework or any household activity, such as the control of lighting, heating, air conditioning, appliances, gates, doors and other systems. The control of domestic systems such as sound systems, houseplant and garden watering, pet feeding can also be included.

These systems can provide improved convenience, comfort and security for both disabled and non-disabled individuals. Home automation can significantly improve the quality of life for elderly or disabled individuals, or anyone who might otherwise require caregivers, as well as providing added convenience for anyone with a busy working day or for anyone going away on holiday.

These systems can provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security.  Home automation for the elderly and disabled can provide increased quality of life for persons who might otherwise require caregivers or institutional care.

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