Design Council Spark finalists create products to help those with arthritis

The annual Design Council programme will help to take 10 products to market, including tools to make gardening more comfortable and using door keys easier.

Update 28 November 2017: 22 November – 22 December marks UK Disability History Month. We look back at products launched this year, thanks to support from Design Council, which aim to make the daily lives of those with arthritis easier. 

Three new products that aim to improve the lives of people with arthritis are set to launch, as a result of the Design Council Spark programme.

Design Council Spark is in its fourth year, and invites designers and entrepreneurs to pitch ideas for innovative products that improve standard of living and deliver business growth, according to Design Council CEO Sarah Weir.

This year sees 10 finalists, which have each received 16 weeks of support to create their prototypes and £15,000 to develop their products and bring them to market.

10 million people live with arthritis

Arthritis Research UK was the programme partner for the second year in a row, so three of the 10 shortlisted products were designed for people living with arthritis. The other seven look at various issues such as air pollution, visual impairment, wheelchair use and recycling.

This year’s products are: AirBreathe, a filtration mask for people living in cities with high air pollution; CamCup, a reusable coffee cup made from recycled coffee grounds; Cue Sense, a pair of smart glasses for people with visual impairment, which allows them to read faces and engage in non-verbal communication; Drink, a glass holder for wheelchair users; Detail, a folding bicycle helmet; Fuzl, a range of flat-pack furniture for frequent movers that clips together and collapses; and Phytoponics, a new system that speeds up the growth of plants.

The three products aimed at those with arthritis include: Kikka Digga, a spade attachment that makes gardening easier on the back; Workey, a door key attachment that makes opening doors more comfortable; and Nubbit, a hand-held grip that makes electronic tablets simpler to support and hold.

“We also need things in our lives”

“Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the UK, with 10 million people currently living with it,” says Charlotte Guiver, director of fundraising at Arthritis Research UK. “It is not a niche condition. This is a huge opportunity for the design community to make products for people that are functional, inclusive and attractively designed.”

Weir adds: “With the launch of the Apple iPhone 8, technology is fantastically important but we also need things in our lives. World-leading products not only change lives but break new ground, build businesses, jobs and grow the UK economy.”

Alongside the £15,000 awarded to each finalist, there is a further £150,000 funding to be spread across the seven product innovations, and £50,000 for the three arthritis-focused products.

Entries for Design Council Spark 2018 are now open. For more information, head to the Spark website.

See the 10 winning finalists for 2017 below:

Workey, by Geoff Rolandsen
Nubbit, by Clair Boubli
Kikka Digga, by Nick Skaliotis
Fuzl, by Oliver Theobald
Cue Sense, by Ben Wylie, Jacob Jelen and Andy Shipley
CamCup, by Gareth Roberts and Ziaobin Zhao
Detail, by Nick Rawcliffe
Drink, by Fiona Jarvis
AirBreathe, by Keith Pullen, Lawrence Tse and Fiona Pullen
Phytoponics, by Matteo Iorio, Adam Dixon, Luke Parkin and Neel Patel
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