Dr Zoe Fisher
Dr Zoe Fisher, Clinical Psychologist at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, worked with Dr Stephen Lindsay, Computer Science Lecturer at Swansea University on this project. She comments: “Patients with brain injuries use technology a lot, like smart phones, but weren’t using assistive technology at all. This project has had a huge impact for our service users: by bringing the designer and the end user closer together, it’s more likely that the user has a product that understands their needs.”
“It has given me a bit more control over my life structure.” “During the day this would remind me via text message to take my pills; it would make a huge difference to me.” “Attending the group has allowed me to see that I suffer with brain trauma, and I’m not a lunatic.”
These are just some of the quotes from the end users’ experience of the ‘Making with Meaning’ project, led by Dr Stephen Lindsay, Lecturer in Computer Science at Swansea University, and Co-Is CoIs, Jeremy Tree and Andrew Kemp, made possible by CHERISH funding.
Stephen comments: “The project allows people with an acquired brain injury to come to a special lab at Swansea University to design and build their own technology, and try out these prototypes in their own homes. It was really exciting because that is not something that we usually let people with cognitive issues do.”
Examples of what patients designed include medication boxes that fit different types of medication in them, with reminders sent via text message to take the medicines, and tools to help users guide plugs into sockets, which can be difficult due to visual alignment issues.
Since the initial funding, the project has set up a ‘Fab Lab’ within Morriston hospital itself, and the Zoe and Stephen’s vision is for patients to visit technology clinics where they can visit the lab and make their own designs whenever they need to.
The project success at a glance:
- Successful SUREs and ESRC funding bids for 3 PhD students to continue the work of the project
- 2 Masters students completed their dissertations on the project
- Frontiers in Psychology paper currently being written
- SW Wales Brain Injury Group Conference 2017 “Maker spaces: Building your own tech after brain injury” http://www.swwbig.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/SWWBIG-Brain-Injury-Conference-2017.pdf
- 2 Masters’ thesis based on this work
- 12 patients worked engaged with this project