With my choice of dissertation paper; the conference paper i was required to give a 10 minute presentation. during this presentation i presented the main ideas that i write about in my dissertation.

Stated by Darwin in 1859; what can be more curious than that of the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of the horse, the paddle of the porpoise, and the wing of the bat.

The  design process is a confusing thing even if you understand it and use it everyday, there are 6 main sections; discovery, define, ideate, prototype, test, and implement. However for the purpose of this paper i change test and implement into the future of the design.

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The discovery phase provided main research for the identified problem

  • hand trauma; nearly accounted for 3.7 million visits to A&E in the USA during 2008 (Mcevenue, 2016)
  • medical students not having efficient knowledge of anatomy can lead to problems; there has been a significant drop in knowledge of hand anatomy from 1992-2008 (dickson 2008)
  • hand deterioration begins after the age of 50; and after 60 there is a rapid decline in grip strength of 20-25% (carmeli 2003)
  • Designing a product there are important things to think about; thinking of peoples aspiration, uniqueness, values and lifestyle need to be considered otherwise many products for the disabled or elderly may be rejected (soarces)
  • for a product involving grip and grasp strength; correct finger movement is very important that object should first touch the proximal phalanx, middle, than finally distal phalanx (massa 2002)

Define; there were 2 main products that were analysised; arthritis gloves and adaptive grip cutlery.Going forward with the design concept there are 2 main options for a product;

  1. attachment or glove for the hand
  2. an adaptive grip for slender objects most likely cutlery

there were 2 main design concepts that were discovered during this paper; an aesthetic concept and a technological concept. The aesthetic concept; is a combination between a shape that was chosen from an anonymous survey, a modern look and colour concept, with a  creative and vintage detailing patterns for the piece. the technological concept was based around a current product of a silicone hairbrush handle, which make the hairbrush easier to hold and grasp, which is useful for the product that i am working on.



A dissertation comes with many challenges, but challenges are the point of doing a dissertation, challenge yourself to learn without being taught, challenge yourself to read, write and write some more, challenge yourself to come up with an interesting question. An interesting question is not only important to allow the person writing a dissertation to stay focused on the topic and the question, but also so there is enough to fill a dissertation paper with.

The question I chose to focus on was; to study product development with hand deterioration, and research how a product can solve issues with the functionality of cutlery.

There are a few topics to this question which appear in it; product development and issue solving, hand deterioration and the functionality of cutlery. Within these topics there are even more points to research, starting with product development; using the design process to write my paper determines how the product is developed. The design process is made up of six main sections; discovery, define, ideate, prototype, test and implement. Each section allows for new discoveries to be made about where the design of the product is heading, who the product might be targeted at, or how it might affect the target market. These are all very important things to identify during the design process, however, also understanding and remembering the chosen target market, their emotions, wants and  needs. Itis vital to think about all of these when redesigning an existing product or developing a new one. This is especially true when designing for the disabled or the elderly, as these demographics can sometimes go unnoticed. When designing products it is important to think of the uniqueness, emotions, values and daily life activities of those who will be using it. Not only is the target market important, but so is an awareness of the current market; together with a knowledge of what is currently being sold based around the issues with current slender cutlery design; cutlery, products to do with cutlery (adaptive grips or cutlery for arthritis sufferers), products for people with arthritis, products for hand deterioration, products for the disabled.

The target market is the first aspect that was defined; hand deterioration is a needed factor, so is this deterioration due to trauma or due to age? From research which was completed during my paper, I found that deterioration due to age will occur to everyone, it commonly starts after the age of 50 with approximately 0.72% muscle mass decrease per year and continues to become worse as the person ages. Whereas trauma, which can be defined as an injury, can cause a range of impediments which will then set off a domino effect with a large range of consequences; they are all different and even if two people have the same injury it does not mean that they will recover at the same rate, or even suffer the same complications. Furthermore this means  by having so many variations of injuries and consequences, there are too many factors to try and take into account to be able to create a product for all people with trauma, around the problem that has been proposed for the paper. Therefore I chose my target market of both men and women from the age of 55 to 65 years old which is when the deterioration of the hand begins, starting with decrease in muscle mass and a 20-25% decrease in grip strength after the age of 60.

As already mentioned the question for the dissertation is vital to the paper, so how do you come up with one? For me the idea behind the question came from watching my grandparents struggling to eat properly year after year due to the size of cutlery that was available. Eating was a particular hardship for my grandfather who suffered from many medical problems; which stopped him from being able to walk, sit down without help, and hold slender items. His hands had severe arthritis in them, with his fingers having swollen to almost 3 times their usual size, with massive reduction in the range of motion in both the hand and wrist, and decreased grip strength in both hands. By taking on a topic that is obviously very personal and close to my heart it caused an emotional challenge for me, though it was a challenge, in reflection I worked harder and more persistently on this topic than I may have if I had chosen a different less emotionally tugging one. I have been wanting to challenge this problem with slender cutlery for many years, I am happy that I have finally jumped the hurdle and come up with a valid and useful conceptual design, which can still be further developed to create a fully effective and satisfactory design for a new adaptive grip.

In reflection to the topic of my dissertation, it has definitely pushed me to work harder and research more. I’ve always thought that I was quite good at the research sections of the design process for my subject projects, but by doing dissertation it has proven to me that there is always more research to be completed and that going deeper and head first into research is always better and will lead to more innovated and reasoned designs in the end. In reflection of writing my dissertation, I’ve written essays before, but nothing compares to the brain function that I have had to use during the writing and editing process of this dissertation. Though once I know what I am writing and how I am writing a piece I don’t find it too difficult to find the words that needed to be said. All I really need is enough time after it is written to allow me to edit it many times, which frankly now feels like over a thousand times. Now that it is finally all written and edited I think I can safely say  I do not wish to write another essay for quite some time, not for the fact that I do not like essays but because I believe my brain needs some serious time to recover.



Constellation obviously has its benefits to the students, and effects what we chose to study and become interested in. I think the dissertation proposal had more influences on me then the lectures i attended this is was mainly because with the first come style that we sign up for lectures it does mean that we don’t get to attend the lectures we truly want to go to. In the Art and Science lectures; even though interesting were not exactly suited towards me. And found little that i was able to use from these lectures into my subject or my dissertation.

By doing the dissertation proposal though it got me back to my roots of a designer, able to write about any topic and research anything. it allows me to go into any topic, and be able to truly create and write about something that i love. Through the research that i completed for my dissertation proposal so far i have found an area that i do truly love and want to remain in. It has also influenced me into designing a product for my final major project for this year. By focusing on the hands and how they work and then break down for my dissertation i have chosen to focus my final project for this year on a similar topic. Taking people who suffer from arthritis and other deteriorative disease that are similar to arthritis, which cause lots of pain and problems when completing everyday tasks. For my project i have chosen to redesign a pill pot for this target market, that is ergonomically and effect in allowing the target market not to interfere with there pain regiment. This product is very important for this target market as hands that suffer from arthritis are unable to perform certain positions due to pain and joint swelling and bone spurs. And i was only inspired to do this project through doing the research for my dissertation. showing that through doing my dissertation proposal it influenced me in my subject and what i want to do for my projects, which will continue to help me through my 3rd year when i begin to assign my own projects.

Dissertation proposal


For my dissertation I knew that i wanted to do something with inclusive design, for the elderly or disabled. Something along the lines of redesign items for them, like wheelchairs or grabbers or something that has been designed to help the elderly and disabled population that doesn’t actually function the way they need or want it to function. After doing a very basic search and finding some journal articles about disabled design and ergonomic design, and agreeing with what was said in the articles, I was sure that i would be able to write my dissertation on this topic.

I decided to do a dissertation based on theories and ideas with an artefact to back it up, by doing an theory based  paper it allows me to be able to do lots of research on each topic that i will need to know about but i won’t have to know all the tiny details, ie if i was to do my paper on electronic prosthetics then i could know the basic principles of how electronic prosthetics work and base my ideas for my artefact off that, instead of knowing what exact speed and range of motion each operating piece has in it. 

I began thinking about what i should do for my artefact; either to design a new wheelchair (with the basis of inclusive design, and making it aesthetically pleasing to the user) or to design a grip for cutlery (as being able to feed yourself is a fundamental thing in everyday life, a basic need to survive). I decided to go with the grip, as i did a project a few years ago on the subject, and had a good basic understanding of the topic, which is better than knowing nothing at all. 

i have always been interested in designing for the elderly or disabled, firstly I suffered a crushing hand trauma when i was 3, has led to me having mass physiotherapy, splints, problems doing things in daily life, like holding a tennis racket, hand writing, and holding a spoon when stirring cake mix. Also my grandfather suffered from an early age, where he lost the ability to be able to walk, and had sever arthritis in his hands and most of his joints, meaning that most daily tasks he was unable to do for himself, like getting dressed, holding a cup of tea, or even a pen became an incredibly difficult task for him to do. which lead to my grandma and the rest of the family to take care of him, making his meals, helping him in and out of his chair and anything else he might need. Not only was it my family members and my own experiences that influenced me in my interest but also the fact that I grew up all over the world, I aw people in poverty, disease and disabled states. One of the biggest influences was visiting an orphanage in Thailand that was completely full with all aged children that had been left in the street purely because they were suffering from cerebral palsy, and their parents didn’t want to take care of them. Not only did this have an effect on the reasons for why I want to design for the disabled, but it also has a massive effect emotionally, it’s an incredibility difficult site to see a building filled of cots and cribs with children under 12 all suffering from sever cerebral palsy, unable to talk, fed themselves or even support their own heads, meaning that they are completely reliable on the support of others.

I think it’s important to recognize that there is more than just the able bodied population that requires people to design for them, it’s not just about designing pretty things for people, or designing items that make the relatively simple things in life even simpler. But it is about designing products that will help the elderly, disabled, mentally disabled or disease population. There is a massive need for design which is based on social needs and the special needs of these populations that become somewhat over looked. Even though there are of course designers designing products for this population for example; wheelchairs, grabbers, prosthetics, stair lifts, crutches, walking sticks or frame, magnifying lights, and big button telephones. These products don’t always work how the user would like them to, and they defiantly look like they were only made for manufacturing purposes, without thinking of what the social needs of the user might be, based on how they want the product to function. 

In one of the journals i read it talked about the need for a new way of product design, a social design method, because wheelchairs are designed for the manufacturing process and not for the people who will use, designers tend to take a few things that are requested for the design of a wheelchair; light weight, folds up easily, electronic, designers have used these simple requests to design all wheelchairs. Based on this paper they talk about how users of wheelchairs want to have something more personal, something that doesn’t make the user look even more disabled then they need to, this reminded me of a picture that i found several months ago on Pinterest. Below is the image, several different images of different people with very personalized prosthetics, when i see images like this its makes me wonder why no product designer has spent a legitimate amount of time thinking about designing things for the disabled or elderly population, and why we don’t think about designing pretty products for this population and just purely think about designing for manufacture processes and functional, and most of the time these product are not as effective as the designer believes them to be.


Which is why when i come to design and discuss the design of the artefact I will be making, I will be taking into account the social design aspects, to create a product that will allow the user to feel comfortable when using the product in any situation (whether there at home or at a restaurant) so that the user doesn’t feel hindered by having to use a product, that will show that they have a disability. Also I well be taking first hand accounts of issues that the disabled or elderly population actually have when using regular utensils. This will allow me to create a grip that will be effective and functional in all the ways that people will need when using this product.

Art and Science: notes

  • journal “leonardo” library … good for journals on art subjects
  • information arts steven wilson
    • visual arts
  • one + one = three
    • understanding the human experience can help to connect the dots to help us generate more ideas
    • relationship between old things to make new things in the modern world
  • do art, science and technology all do the same thing? or are they all different to each other and have their own purpose
    • or are they all valid ways to visualize the world in different ways
  • knowing why – science
  • knowing how – technology
  • what came first technology or science
    • thought or action?
  • video: secret knowledge BBC
    • penrose impossible staircase and triangle
    • M C ESHER
    • crystal structures articles
    • think angles and devils piece
    • rotational symmetry and reflection symmetry in the piece angle shape can be rotated or moved up and down the piece and the shape will remain the same
    • infinity representation representation (never ending patterns getting smaller and smaller)
    • fish and scales


Art and science – computer science

  • Max Mathews; sound synthesis 1957
    • Turned 000110001 on a computer into electronic wave to be able to turn it into sound or visual state (by pluging it into the appropriate device)
  • Lejaren hiler; computer aided composition 1956
    • Produced scores… by using the computer to help him compose pieces… to give to musician to play music
  • Sin cosine and tangent .. parabolas graphs
    • The shape of the graph tells u the sound that u will get from the numbers … though each graph will make different sounds but will remain in one tone the whole time
    • Y= sin(x)
    • How often and how fast you read the numbers will allow you to hear the sound
  • Sound synthesis
    • Work like a builder; put the same thing on top of everything .. over and over again (build up the sound with either the same sound of slightly different sounds to create something)
    • In nature the note can only be held for so long until the note dies .. where as when the computer makes sound the note can be continued to be held for as long as u want.. can be a continuous sound depending on how u draw the graph
    • Subtractive synthesis; more like a sculpture maker … start off with a sound then take things away to create a sound
    • Distortion techniques ; like clay .. try to manipulate the sound in real time … ie squeeze and rip and form them ect
    • Physical modeling; simulate nature … by having a physicist to create fromulars to create the sound
  • Brain eno; ambient music … airport music


  • arranging objects in space
    • golden mean/ ratio/ section/ numbers
    • fibanacci ratio
    • rule of 3rds


Over View of Constellation

As a product design student I didn’t see the point in some of the lectures, as they didn’t seem to pertain to my subject or have any real use to me. However a few of them did stand out to me, and made me think in a different way to how i usually think. this allowed me to broaden my way of thinking and allowed me to design things in a new different way, this has allowed me to understand how other people from other subjects think and how they tend to do projects and create things.

This helped a lot when i started doing the field project, with other people from other subjects, as i knew they would want to do different things to what i wanted. By learning in constellation how other people might think it allowed me to be more open when listening to other peoples ideas , it also allowed me to take a back seat in what people in the group wanted to do but still take on the role as leader of the group. By allowing the other members to take on the main parts of the project and by me taking the over arching role it allowed the project to run relatively smoothly, though it didn’t go exactly as i had planned or was hoping that it would. But with the time that was allowed and how the other members of my group worked it went as well as it possibly could have gone.

Not only has constellation helped me to understand others better, but it has also helped me to understand the vastness of my subject. It has shown me that not only could i design products that i really want to design and believe are the most important products but that I also have to design things that  I don’t like designing. However not only things I don’t like designing but shows me how Product design can fit into other subjects and how other subject can be a benefit to me and how i can be a benefit to others. For example if i was to design a cup with a certain theme that i needed a certain type of illustration for then I would be able to reach out to someone in that subject. By doing this it would allow me to make more of a final prototype and show progression with my own projects and would allow me as a designer to look more sophisticated and shows that I can work well with others. This is going to be a very useful trade to help me later in life especially after leaving university, but will continue to help when working in groups on people whether they are in my subject group or whether they come from different backgrounds. Constellation has helped me open my mind to others opinions and ways of thinking much more then it was before, which has in-turn expanded my own goals when designing products.

Notes on Development of Essay

I first when over the Pop Art powerpoint and made new notes on the powerpoint, these notes are below, with theses notes I then started to break down the pop artist, into ones that I liked so I could research them further and start to develop arguments for the essay. It was helpful to do this from the notes as it meant I didn’t have to go searching through books and the internet to find an artist I knew I would want to write about and be able to write about easily, as i find it easier to write about an artists work that I enjoy looking at myself and have feelings towards.

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Here are my notes based on research that I did on the question that I chose, Is pop art a celebration or critique of consumer culture. I started by researching and defining both Pop Art and Consumer Culture, by doing this i got a base for my essay and started to form some ideas of arguments that I might be able to use in the essay. I then went on to research artist both from Europe and the USA, I have chosen 3 european artists; Claes Oldensburg, Richard Hamiliton and Pauline Boty and 2 american artist; Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. I have chosen these artists based on the work they have done and the view that I have of there work and how I can form an argument from there contrasts and comparison within there work.

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