> Falls are the largest cause of emergency hospital admissions for elderly people and it can have serious repercussions on their mental or physical well being. Here in the UK, the life expectancy in 2016 was around 81 years so we are beginning to live longer due to better resources, technology and health services. It does get harder to maintain our life and ability as we get older so its important to not forget about this delicate age group.
What is the ALIFT?
ALIFT is an assistive sofa chair designed to put the user first by giving them the care, comfort and peace of mind for when they want to relax and sit down. With its mechanical system, it helps support the user to dismount their seat safely and comfortably. Research into the behaviour and actions displayed through the daily task of sitting down and getting up helped establish a strong foundation for this design. Designing around this fluid motion allowed this design to work seamlessly with the user so they wouldn’t have to think twice about getting up because its naturally apart of their motion. With such a simple yet intuitive concept, it gives the user that reassurance so they have one less thing to worry about.
Connecting with the user is important to create designs that work seamlessly with them.
Research played a definitive part in developing the ALIFT and allowed the design to keep the user first through each stage. The mobility experiments helped observe the motion of participants and with the help of equipment such as the Xbox Kinect and the Wii Balance board, the visual mapping of a person’s movements and actions was tracked. This testing helped fuel the development of the design and consequently map out the final stages of the product’s functionality.
Besides functioning as a sofa chair for the user where they can find comfort and relaxation on, the ALIFT allows the user to get up from their seat with less effort than on another sofa chair. The combination of a lever system and pneumatic cylinder allows the user to push down onto the arms to activate the support they need to get out of their chair. This simple mechanism helps keep the design easy to use and the costs down to provide a mechanical alternative to electric-powered sofa chairs – which come with a hefty price tag. The main goals of this project was to provide a design with C A R E – Comfort, Affordability, Reassurance & Ease of Use.