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The Future Bathroom Project

Investigators Maria Burton, Gail Mountain, Paul Chamberlain, Heath Reed
Funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Project outline

The aim of this project was two fold. Firstly, to develop a robust methodology for fostering co-design dialogue between designers, researchers and older people (aged 50+), with chronic age related health conditions which lead to disability and frailty. Examples include arthritis, osteoporosis, stroke and macular degeneration. We deliberately excluded people with congenital disability and people with cognitive disabilities as their needs lie outside the scope of this project. 

Secondly, to develop a range of innovative and desirable bathroom prototypes (both bathroom furniture and assistive technologies for bathroom use) that are sensitive to the problems of living with disability, which do not stigmatise, are capable of manufacture and will demonstrate the principles we have developed. Our specific objectives were to

  • undertake a comprehensive review of theory, method, policy and practice in the area of user-centred design of technology to support people living with disabilities
  • develop and validate through use, a robust co-design methodology for working with people with disabilities
  • produce design proposals and prototypes for the bathroom of the future which address issues of safety usability, acceptability and sustainability
  • evaluate the prototypes, assess the market and widely disseminate results to stakeholders
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