Department for Health launches design competition to help improve lives

Designers are invited to enter a competition which aims to improve the quality of life for older people and those with disabilities.

The If Only competition challenges designers of all levels to attempt to create practical product design solutions for everyday problems faced by people who live with limitations.

Bath Research & Development, which is part of the University's Department for Health, asked older people and those with disabilities to make videos showing problems that they have experienced around the home whilst going about their everyday lives.

Designers who want to enter the competition can view the videos on the website to help them develop an original and unique product that could be used to solve any of the issues shown.

Sarah Rook from the University's Department for Health said: "We aim to encourage designers to draw upon their creative talent and utilise novel ideas, materials and techniques to design a product suitable for the market.

"This competition focuses on the challenges faced by older and disabled people, but we encourage applicants to allow for the widest possible range of ability when considering their product."

The competition deadline is 14 January 2013. Applicants are asked to send their designs to the University of Bath, If Only Competition, 1 West, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY, or submit them electronically.

The winner will be decided by a panel of experts. The winning design will be awarded £5,000, will maintain intellectual property rights over the design of the product and will be entitled to a share of any royalties resulting from sales of the product.

Entries must include a visual representation of the design, which can be hand-drawn or created by computer software, and written documentation describing the design and how it will improve lives within 500 words.

Sarah Rook said: "We are looking for a universal design which can be used by people with a wide range of functional and cognitive abilities. It needs to be able to be produced affordably and while it has to be functional the design should also be unique and imaginative."

The competition is open to anyone in the UK aged over 18.

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