Designers, all over the world, are beginning to realize how important it is to create products that promote inclusivity and take into consideration the requirements of users with special needs. Whether it’s for people in wheelchairs or those who are hard of hearing or the visually impaired, new and improved designs have been coming up that help them deal with their day to day tasks with ease. Hence, we’ve curated a collection of inclusive designs that truly are innovative and groundbreaking!
LEGO blocks now also teach children Braille. The bumped upper texture of the LEGO Braille Bricks provides quite literally the most obvious canvas for the braille language, allowing kids to, block by block, build sentences, but at the same time also read along as they go, both by running their fingers across the specially bumped blocks as well as using the printed text below each set of bumps.
The Row-1 is an inclusive-design wheelchair that lets disabled and elderly patrons at an airport go straight from the check-in desk to inside the airline, and de-board the flight at their destination. The Row-1 wheelchair comes with a nesting design and inward-folding rear wheels that help it integrate itself comfortably into a seat in the first row, giving the patron extra leg-room while keeping them closer to the washroom too.
The Volkswagen Roller, in fact, is a new-age roller skate. The design comes with two main hubless wheels and two retractable rear wheels. The rear wheels remain outside before and after the ride. However, while in transit, they retract inwards, so that you ride using only the main hubless wheels on each foot. Maybe one-day disabled people can have bionic feet that look like that and all you need to do is snap a pair of hubless wheels on and you’re set to go!
The Textura brings a classy, sleek design to a phone for the visually impaired. Relying on a screen replacement surface that is made for braille, the phone comes with a slim form factor with a large black dynamic planar surface that forms bumps to create pieces of data, much like any regular phone would. It even comes with a headphone jack so that the blind can have personalized audio feedback.
Vrailler’s Braille Printer is easy-to-use, small, and more importantly, affordable. It uses two perforated slates, a third upper slate, and a set of pins that you drop into the base-slate to create indentations. When you press the upper slate and middle slate onto the base slate, the indentations translate onto the paper/film, giving you printed braille. These can be used to create name-tags, labels, or even accessible business cards.
Slip Wash is a concept design for a laundry machine that aims to make independent living possible for wheelchair users. The usual washing machine takes up more space with the front opening door and makes it harder for the user to navigate around with a wheelchair. Even the height isn’t suitable for them. In Slip Wash, the door slides up and the washing container is in the front, which makes the space less restrictive and reduces the maneuvering and bending the user would usually have to do.
Adapted to fit on the hand and index finger, the wearable FingerReader makes it possible for users to point at any sign, label, banknote, or page in a book and instantly understand what’s in front of them. Equipped with a specialized scanner, words and sentences are detected and processed using computer vision algorithms so they can be spoken in real-time.
This rather ingenious shower device is designed to make showering accessible to people of all heights and disabilities. It consists of a sliding bar whose default position is at the lowest point, making it within reaching distance for all. Its height can be adjusted with ease, along with its orientation and water temperature.
The Inmergo Headphones by Rocco Giovannoni are bone-conducting headphones that transmit soundwaves via vibrations in the skull, rather than in the eardrums, except this headphone helmet has been equipped with five speakers sheathed in a silicon membrane, which creates a heightened audio experience for people who are hard of hearing.
This Exoskeleton by Clinatec enables quadriplegic patients to move all four of their limbs, simply by controlling it via their minds! It is connected to the patient’s brain through implants. This could really help them regain motor control and recover mobility!