A Forgotten World: Under Addressed Designs of Occupational Therapeutic Devices

By Jeff Feng.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 13, 2014 $US5.00

Initial studies in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers show a poor connection between the occupational therapeutic devices and their users. Most of the devices/systems are under-addressed in design and their effectiveness is limited due to little emotional stimulation given to the user. This article is a case study of two samples: one is a new design that provides multiple occupational hand therapeutic practices; the other one is a redesign of a range of motion device (ROM). The initial evaluation shows an apparent improvement in overall performance. A strong connection is established between the device and the user. Users are motivated by the new designs and perform the tasks with a self-motivated drive, rather than through force, as they were before. This study indicates that there is a great potential to improve the design and the quality of current occupational devices through user centered research and design processes. When the redesigned devices are easy and fun to use, they will dramatically improve the functional performance and have a greater positive impact to the seniors’ lives.

Keywords: Occupational Therapy, Design, Product Design, Emotion, User Centered Research

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, June 2014, pp.9-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 13, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 779.243KB)).

Prof. Jeff Feng

Assistant Professor, College of Architecture, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA