Falls in the elderly: designing human-centred

Lead Research Organisation: Falmouth University
Department Name: The Fashion and Textiles Institute


Hip fractures are a very serious condition in the elderly, greatly increasing morbidity and mortality, and decreasing healthy life years (Cianferotti et al. 2015). Current hip protectors (HP) comprise of underwear containing integrated or removable pads, providing impact protection around the hip joint. The acceptance of these products is compromised by, discomfort, dislike of appearance, difficulties getting on and off, and loss of daily living independence such as toileting (Sims-Gould et al. 2014).

I will develop prototypes to understand how hip protection can be designed to look, feel and operate, in a way that's sensitive to sociocultural and lifestyle aspirations of elderly people, whilst reducing the risk of hip fractures caused by falls. Human-centred design (HCD) will directly engage with people who are potential users of the product to inform the design development. A HCD language will stem from this research, embracing the reflective meaning perceived by users,
beyond solely technology-centred functional and aesthetic judgements of current designs.


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Description Collaboration with DM Orthotics 
Organisation DM Orthotics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Development of design concepts for hip protection garments. Preparation of drawings and CAD data to communicate designs.
Collaborator Contribution Advice on materials and manufacturing processes, and garment detailing relating to compression and performance sportswear. The partners have also contributed by producing physical prototypes of the design concepts I have developed.
Impact Physical prototypes as part of an iterative design development process.
Start Year 2017
Description Co-designing with 'active agers': a methodology for meaningful engagement and insights 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The talk was about my research at a symposium called, Exploring Innovation within Technology, Design and Wellbeing.
The purpose was to bring together researchers within the institution working at the junction of design and healthcare. This provided an opportunity for networking and sharing of best practice. Several undergraduate students also attended the event and participated in the questions and discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/events/research-seminar-exploring-innovation-within-technology-design-and...