Sprout wins 24-Hour challenge

Inclusive design specialist Sprout Design has won the 24-Hour Inclusive Design Challenge, organised by the Design Business Association and the Royal College of Art.

Voted for by attendees at last week’s presentation evening, Sprout Design was selected for its two products which address challenges for the visually impaired. The first – Magnifeye – is a portable zooming window device that enables the user to read text and see visuals from a distance, while the second – Eyewander – is a wand device that records images with smaller detail, magnifying and projecting them on to another surface.

Julia Cassim, senior research fellow at the RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Research Centre and pioneer of the design challenge model, explains that the Magnifeye product is not just for the visually impaired. ‘This simple device is universally useful and is like an instant photographic print that can be zoomed into with enhanced contrast,’ she says.

Competition runners-up RCA Alumni and Friends’ response to the brief was Patchworks, a Web-based system that addresses issues of navigation and wayfinding for the visually impaired.

Hyphen Design devised Oyster-Plus, a system that allows disabled users to have a more comfortable journey on public transport.

Four teams – Sprout Design, Fenomenon, Hyphen Design and RCA Alumni and Friends – were briefed last Tuesday at the RCA’s annual Include 2007 conference to develop a product, service or environment that would enhance mobility for elderly or disabled users. The teams were asked to deliver their final designs within 24 hours.

The Design Business Association’s annual Inclusive Design Challenge competition, also run in conjunction with the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, opens this year in June. The winners of the competition will be announced in March 2008. Wolff Olins’ Go Steady project won this year’s challenge.

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