Preserving Human Dignity :
PT. I TRANSFORMATION GAME
This project focuses on how indignity manifests itself when performing simple daily tasks; working to reduce or prevent these moments from occurring by providing a designed intervention. It considers the challenges a Hemiplegic faces over the course of their life with particular focus on the experience of growing up and the social anxieties that occur during childhood and young adulthood. The project has therefore been split into two halves, this is Part I.

Childhood Hemiplegia is a condition affecting one side of the body with semi-paralysis symptoms similar to that of a stroke. It is caused by damage to the brain which can make simple tasks we take for granted suprisingly difficult.

An involuntary contraction and twisting of muscles. This has very obvious physical effects, limiting funcition, dexterity, manipulation and a general numbing of the senses in the affected side.
Mental effects include the ability to sequence information, crossing the midline of their body to their affected side, and a lack of understanding/comprehension of social situations particularly when entering new social groups, which can result in low self asteem.
A numbed 'Hemi Half' means Hemiplegics struggle to gain feedback of their actions within an environment and fail to obtain the sense of spacial awareness we take for granted. The interlinking of hands and feet is a small but vital experience teaching the beginnings of interaction.
HAND DISTONIA:
PROCESSING:
SPATIAL FEEDBACK:

"SEQUENCING AN ACTIVITY OFTEN RELIED ON SOMEONE TO HELP BREAK DOWN TASKS INTO MANAGEABLE PARTS AS I STRUGGLED TO ACCOMPLISH THEM ON MY OWN. A DAY WAS A BATTLE, WHETHER IT WAS GETTING DRESSED OR DEALING WITH CLASSMATES AT SCHOOL."

 

BUTTONING &
FIDDLY FIXTURES:
For young boys going to the loo requires a certain fluency in undoing trouser buttons. Hemiplegic boys often fail to undo their buttons in time and can often wet themselves. When their peers see, they make fun and it is not long before childhood depression can take hold. These spiralling effects can be avoided if the child learns to overcome the challenges of buttoning earlier on.
SOLUTION:
WEARABLE GAME:

This game addresses the need for children to learn buttoning in order to avoid embarrassment later on in life, by using a training device to build confidence and a greater sense of dignity. The concept takes the form of a construction game with inter-connecting tessellating shapes to allow children to build structures whilst developing gross fine motor skills.

Made from 5mm thick wool felt the facets can be folded and shaped, they are smooth, child friendly and come in a range of colours. Elasticised button fixtures are used to connect multiple pieces together with ease.

INTERACTIVE TESTING:

To test the game I ran small focus groups with children between the ages of 3-7. This consisted of a demonstration of the game, how it works and encourage the children to experiment and play with the button fixtures and felt facets. the response was very posititve with children swarming around to build imaginary structures. This was encouraging and great to see how easily it was adopted.

By spending time with the children, observing how they interact with the elasticised buttons, the variation in size and shape of button hole and felt facets, the concept could be refined. Testing these small but significant interactions with users was essential in highlighting what worked and what didn't; some holes were too tight for younger hands whilst others requested greater variation of texture and materials.

TRANSFORMATION GAME:

A construction game offering children the chance to build from their imagination (effectively swapping between both side of the brain, strengthening neural pathways and increasing their capacity to learn) whilst developing valuable motor skills. The elasticised buttons are easy for young children to manipulate allowing multiple felt facets to be joined together with ease. The game works to bring to life a child's fantasies by encouraging them to build anything from an Optimus Prime Autobot costume to a lion, wizard or full-scale fort whilst learning and overcoming life's simple dressing challenges.

TRANSFORMATION GAME:

These interventions are driven by detail and an appreciation of situation in response to embarrassing awkward feelings people experience due to the hindrance of a condition. They are a manifestation of a situation we might all face in some way at some point in time, the difference being these problems are more acute for Hemiplegics.

They are a demonstration of the application of design thinking on un-explored areas of people lives. Throughout the research there have been many other opportunities identified where the same value could be added. The intervention enables a behaviour making it easier to do things we all perhaps take for granted, and they remove the opportunity for indignity to arise.

PRESS:

Transformation Game has been exhibited across Europe in some of the worlds most prestigious design shows;

Design & Democracy, The Scottish Parliament.

Design Miami/Basel, Switzerland.

Victoria & Albert Museum,
London Design Festival.

The Lighthouse, Glasgow.

Cite Du Design, France.