Design for Relieving: Home-based Healthcare Products

Cheryl Z. Qian and Steve C. Visser
Department of Art and Design
Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907
Email: qianz@purdue.edu & svisser@purdue.edu

Abstract
Recommended and supported by our industrial partner, the Whirlpool Corporation, in 2010 the Interaction Design (IXD) program was established as the latest addition to our Industrial Design area at Purdue University. It is a graduate program where students and faculty explore the interaction design approaches and possibilities in the context of industrial design [2]. In the fall semester 2010, GE Healthcare sponsored a design project of home-based health monitors for patients with Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Arthritis. Students from two courses were involved in the project: one at the senior level, A&D 405 “Industrial Design III”, and the other at the graduate level, A&D 590 “Interaction Design Evaluation”. It is our very first attempt to group Product Design students and IXD students together on the same project. Since the topic of the IXD course was “design evaluation”, IXD students acted in two roles: firstly to create the interactive design components of the concepts and secondly to run evaluations iteratively to improve the design outcome during the design process. Furthermore, we arranged guest lectures delivered by professors from the Department of Health and Kinesiology and the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences to help students understand the basic theories of control mobility and innovative technologies to support patients with chronic conditions. This corporate sponsorship project was rewarding and engaging on multiple dimensions: integrating instructing efforts from industry and academia, teaming up students from product design and IXD majors, and connecting scholars between design and health sciences.

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