People in Bath living with long-term health conditions are being invited to take part in an exciting healthcare innovation project to test and shape two potential new products.
Both have been designed by entrepreneurs in the West Country; one is designed to help people with dementia, while the other is an app to aid speech therapy.
The call comes from the Design Together, Live Better project, which connects citizens with companies and entrepreneurs to co-create the next generation of healthcare solutions based on real needs.
Design Together, Live Better is recruiting people whose speech has been affected as a result of their health condition (such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or a head injury) to test ‘Intelligent Sounds’.
This is an app for smart phones and tablets, which helps people practise, improve and perfect speech sounds.
The Intelligent Sounds app has been developed by Jenny Dance, a linguist and marketing analyst from Bristol and Director of Phona Ltd.
Jenny said: “I initially developed an app in partnership with Oxford University Press to help non-native speakers of English improve their pronunciation. Due to a neurological problem, I suffered episodes of slurred, unintelligible speech and began to see the potential for the app to be used as a speech therapy tool as well.
“Through the Design Together, Live Better project, I’m really keen to work with people in the West of England experiencing speech difficulties to get their feedback on Intelligent Sounds, and how I can better tailor the app to cater for different health conditions.”
People interested in getting involved and testing out Intelligent Sounds can find out more at: designtogetherlivebetter.org/intelligent-sounds/.
People living with dementia and those close to them (family, friends, carers) are also invited by Design Together, Live Better to try out and share their feedback on the ‘Music Memory Box’, a personalised, multi-sensory device that enables its owner to recall memories.
Chloe Meineck from Bristol runs Studio Meineck, which specialises in ‘designing with rather than for people’.
Chloe said: “I co-designed the first Music Memory Box with a loved one with dementia. Now I am in the process of putting it into production and would love to hear what people from across the Westcountry think about it, and their feedback about the design and use of it.
“The Music Memory Box is designed to look like a shoebox. It can be filled with precious trinkets. Making use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, Music Memory Box allows these objects to trigger music, encouraging the owner to recall memories.
“This creates a personal, multi-sensory reminiscence activity for a person living with dementia, helping them to recollect and reconnect with their loved ones.”
People interested in getting involved and testing out the Music Memory Box can find out more at: designtogetherlivebetter.org/the-music-memory-box/.
Design Together, Live Better has been developed by the NHS-funded West of England Academic Health Science (AHSN) to encourage meaningful dialogue between patients and companies and gather user input.
Lars Sundstrom, Enterprise Director at the West of England AHSN, said: “We need to make better use of people’s insights into their own conditions and lives; they are the experts in what would make life easier and, more specifically, what’s missing and what could be created to help.
“Our new innovation platform will do exactly that by putting people in touch with each other, to co-design and co-create the next generation of innovative healthcare products so that they precisely match currently unmet needs. I am really excited about this – it could be a real game changer!”
The project is keen to work with more innovators looking to co-design and test their innovations with users.
If you are an entrepreneur with a new concept or product being developed, find out more about connecting with the Design Together, Live Better community at designtogetherlivebetter.org/innovators.