Guy's & St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust | The Key Hub

Over 4 million people in the UK suffer from hand weakness. For them, daily tasks that many of us take for granted are a continuous struggle. Little effort has been made by designers to consider this ever growing group of people, as a result the assistive devices available to them are bulky medical products that have had little or no social, or emotional, consideration accounted for in the design.

This project, undertaken in collaboration with Guy’s & St Thomas’ Trust, was focused on designing a desirable device to assist young people in unlocking doors. Heavily driven by primary research, observations and conversations with the target user and meetings with Occupational Therapists helped direct the project; uncovering the unspoken needs of the user. An in-depth analysis of other products designed to be carried about on a regular basis influenced the styling of the device; guiding the design direction towards an inclusive and considered solution. The Key Hub is a product that is desirable not only to those with hand weakness, but also those without, thereby removing any associations with disability that would have previously drawn attention to the user.

At the time of going to print, the project was the subject of discussion with the charity. It is hoped that this project will be taken forward for further research and development with the aim of taking it to market in the near future.

Jo Barnard (Product Design BSc) in collaboration with Guy’s & St. Thomas’ Trust