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The winning design? It’s an easy call

A new call device that allows people with physical disabilities to call for assistance in a way that wasn’t possible before, has won a series of awards.

The device, developed by researchers from Flinders University and the University of South Australia through UniSA’s partnership at the Hills Industries Innovation Centre, received the Gold Design Award, President’s Award and Premier’s Award at the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) Awards.

The call button was designed by a team comprising associate professor Sandy Walker from Flinders University, who worked on the device in his previous position at UniSA, along with UniSA graduates Daniel Weiss and Robert White and the industrial design program director, Dr Peter Schumacher. It was specifically developed for older Australians who may have reduced hand dexterity.

During the design phase, the team visited aged-care facilities and spoke with healthcare professionals and residents. They then developed a pendant that glows in the dark, provides activation feedback and allows users to squeeze or press it with any part of their body. It lacks the hard clips other nurse call devices feature.

The DIA judges said the work was an outstanding example of how an organised design process coupled with thorough research and customer insight could lead to an innovative and successful product.

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