Designers test skills

Working on designs during the eight-hour health challenge at Sheffield Hallam University
Working on designs during the eight-hour health challenge at Sheffield Hallam University
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Medical engineers, health experts and designers worked against the clock to produce devices to improve patients’ lives during an eight-hour challenge in Sheffield.

The ‘health hack’ event took place during the fifth annual Business Innovation Network conference, which brought together representatives from both city universities and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, as well as members of a range of health and design organisations.

Around 80 people worked in six teams on projects including a system for lifting patients unable to support their own weight, and a sip straw for people who have difficulty swallowing from a beaker or cup.

The teams also looked at potential uses for the Myo armband, a piece of technology that can sense arm and finger movements.

Each of the groups had eight hours to come up with products that developers could turn into usable items for the NHS.

Results included a redesigned hoist sling, and a proposal for the armband based on the health benefits of drumming.

Joe Langley, a design engineer from Sheffield Hallam University where the event took place, said: “Opportunities like these are great for the designers, giving them fantastic, contextually relevant insight into real patients’ needs and clinical challenges.

“The shared learning and new knowledge that is created sparks so many ideas, catalysing fresh thinking and innovation far beyond the immediate focus of each team.”

The teams will now be expected to seek funding in order to further develop their initial ideas.