Swedish design has a history of making things designed to make life easier: the Celsius thermometer, the modern-day zipper, and Skype.
A recent exhibition titled "Design for Dignity" at the National Design Centre showcased made-in-Sweden products that’s designed to improve the quality of life for individuals living with various types of disabilities.
1. Tetra Pak SRA packages: The next-gen packet drink
Thanks to the revolutionary paper-based packaging system Tetra Pak, we no longer carry milk in cumbersome glass bottles.
Now the creators have taken the iconic packaging’s design further, by adding ergonomic closures that’s easy to handle.
2. Fia Touch: Inclusive fun and games
Developed in collaboration with the Swedish Rheumatism Association (SRA), which is recognised in the packaging industry as an authority in the assessment of product functionality, the SRA package design take into account the needs of people with reduced hand function, such young children or adults affected by injury or rheumatism.
One of the world’s oldest games, Ludo is similar to Chinese “aeroplane chess” or the Indian game of Pachisi. The aim of Ludo is to be the first to get all four of your playing pieces around the board and safely to the centre.
On display at the exhibition was Fia Touch, a Ludo game set designed to bring the game to children of all abilities. The game board has submerged pockets help to hold the pieces in place, while the grip-friendly playing pieces have raised pattern markings for people with impaired vision to identify pieces by touch instead of colour.
3. SEM Glove: When you need a helping handSoft extra muscles is what SEM stand for. The SEM gloves are a strength-enhancing and muscle-relieving wearable aid for people with impaired arm function.
The glove mimics the human hand, using artificial tendons, motors and sensors and some very clever software. They give the user more strength to carry and hold on to objects longer and more easily.
4. Aktiv Reacher: Never go back (to bare hands)
These are not the “Magic Hand” Japanese toys you played as a child. The Aktiv Reacher is a lightweight tool designed for people with impaired hand function to pick up both large and small items.
The rubber-coated gripping jaws can be rotated from a horizontal to vertical position to handle objects without your twisting your hand. A magnet in the handle can be used to pick up small metal objects.
5. ETAC Clean chair: When you need to answer nature’s call
This shower commode chair is the result of 20 years of improvisation.
With an upright operating handle, the ETAC Clean chair can be easily rolled in to fit nicely above a toilet. It is kept open at the back to facilitate access for hygiene purposes. The foot support, with its curved surface, provides comfort for the feet. It can also be pushed under the seat when not in use.
This new design makes the chair even easier to clean, which is a nice touch for caregivers.
Accessibility boils down to little touches and design improvisations to existing structures. It includes aid resources that compensate for specific needs and products that help caregivers work with people with disabilities.