Design sciences

Human-Centred Design and Assistive Devices

Design for User Capability

The focus of our research in this area is on the UN’s eight millennium development goals. We use design to explore solutions that take account of users’ capabilities.   We interpret user capability to include both the characteristics of individual people and the groups and  communities where they live and work (including individuals’ skills, abilities, aspirations and the like) and the resources that are available to them (such as, access to electricity, water and the internet).  The people we work with include people with disabilities, older adults and carers in the UK and developing countries.

The aim of this research is to improve the quality of life for people globally by creating new products, services and systems, which demonstrably support marginalised communities, older people and people with disabilities to remain active, productive, independent and socially connected, enabling them to complete everyday activities, reducing their dependence on others.

  • Increase independence
  • Increase opportunities for waged employment
  • Tackle social isolation
  • Increase mobility
  • Increase wellbeing

Current and recent projects include:

  • Empowering youths in South Africa to find paid work (as part of the PARTY project)
  •  Alleviating poverty for people with disabilities in waged employment in Kenya & Bangladesh (in collaboration with Leonard Cheshire Disability)
  •  Improving quality of life for people with incontinence by using Immunosensors to detect and monitor bacteria and viruses (Leeds EPSRC pump priming project)

Prehension and Haptics: Assistive Technologies

Our research in this area involves working with individuals with visual impairments and deafblindness to develop wearable technologies for navigation and social haptic communication.  The aim of our work is to improve social inclusion and quality of life for people with visual impairments and deafblindness, e.g., by making cultural experiences accessible.  Our most recent work in this area is being carried out through the following projects:

Researchers in this area are: Dr Lisa-Dionne Morris (Research Group Lead), Dr Raymond Holt, Dr Omar Huerta, Professor Alison McKay