Medical device scoops international awards

design awards
Associate Professor Sandy Walker (right) with UniSA product design program director Dr Peter Schumacher and UniSA industrial design graduates Robert White and Daniel Weiss (left to right) at the Good Design Awards in Sydney.

An innovative arthritis nurse’s call device, developed at South Australian universities and in partnership with Hills Health Solutions, has won a national Good Design Award and is heading for another global award competition in Europe.

The Nurse Call Pendant has also won a Red Dot Design Award in the Medicine and Life Science category of what is regarded as the most prestigious design and innovation competitions in the world – with more than 17,000 entries, across 31 categories and 57 countries.

Previous winners have included companies such as Apple, Siemens, Citroen, IKEA, Lenovo and Mazda.

The SA product’s latest awards add to earlier success in the Design Institute Australia (DIA) Laminex 2015 Design Awards, where is won gold in the Object category, the DIA President’s Award and the Premier’s Award.

Dr Sandy Walker, Associate Professor in Product Design at Flinders University School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Tonsley, says the project commenced at UniSA with the formation of an Industrial Design Incubator including UniSA’s Dr Peter Schumacher and recent industrial design graduates Daniel Weiss and Robert White. The pendant consists of an air-bulb operated air switch for easy use by people with arthritis and limited manual dexterity.

The product is now being patented by Hills Limited and is available on the market.

The device allows people with a range of physical disabilities to call for assistance in a way that isn’t possible with previous nurse-call technologies.

arthritis nurses callIt not only glows in the dark but provides activation feedback, doing away with buttons and hard clips which allows users to safely and easily summon help by squeezing or pressing it with any part of the body. This feature will particularly help the elderly and those with arthritis (up to four million Australians), who already can’t, or may not in the future, be able push buttons.

The arthritis nurse’s call device, developed in consultation with aged-care centres in SA, will receive a year of international exposure and promotion via the Red Dot Design Museums, online presentation and in the Red Dot Design Yearbook.

Associate Professor Walker, who is based at Flinders at Tonsley and affiliated with UniSA, will attend the Red Dot Gala presentations in Essen, Germany on 4 July.

“These awards speak volumes about the talent we have at Flinders University and the University of South Australia, which is working hard to positively influence the lives of older Australians facing some really difficult challenges,” he says.

The Bachelor of Design and Technology Innovation program at Flinders is based on the three pillars – design (user-focused problem solving), innovation (management and commercialisation) and technology (science and engineering).

Associate Professor Walker is also collaborating with Flinders University innovations, in fields of forensic science, dementia monitoring, serious gaming, medical simulation and sport engineering.



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