In collaboration with end-users and other key stakeholders, this paper describes an innovation process for designing and manufacturing customized assistive technologies for regional and remote communities. The project collaboratively identified the real-world problems of people living with spinal cord injuries, created design solutions to overcome these challenges and worked with manufacturers to turn these solutions into actual products. The project embodied a co-design method to bring people living with spinal cord injuries, occupational therapists, researchers, designers, and manufacturers together to co-create new solutions to overcome common challenges. Data was collected through the following methods: a desktop study of the literature and the market; an innovation process via 4 x co-design workshops (Ideation, Design and Develop, Pitch and Feedback, Demonstration) from June 2021- June 2022. A Research through Design methodology was used to design 3D printed assistive technologies. Through iterative virtual and physical prototyping, reflective journaling and user testing, the most effective prototypes were refined into the optimal solution. The Project established an innovation process, including online consultation and workshops with end -users, that prioritize 3D production of assistive technology prototypes; created a demonstrator for allied health engagement and testing; and completed end-user pilot group testing. This innovation process produced a minimum viable product (MVP), a product with enough features to attract early adopters and provide design validation early in the product development cycle. Finally, this process produced a functional, user-tested product ready for commercialization.
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering/School of Architecture and Built Environment, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia Anthony Franze
Student, Post Graduate, The Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia