3rd Year Reflection

During my 3rd and final year at university, I was able to explore two topics that are very important to me. Arthritis and diabetes, two major diseases that cause many medical, physical and emotional issues for the people who have them, and also for those who are close to them.

Focusing on a change of aesthetic for adaptive grips directed at those with hand deterioration which has formed due to arthritis, was my first major project of the year. which was also my chosen topic for my dissertation paper, where i focused on discovering research on each topic of the question, and creating a concept design, which allowed me to develop further and a final concept later on in the year once my dissertation was submitted. In reflection, i believe that i was able to successfully produce a product that has a better aesthetic and a better material concept than the current adaptive grips or cutlery on the market. By changing the aesthetics of the piece it will hopefully make the users feel more comfortable in using the product especially in social situations.

After my viva presentation i felt that i was lacking in knowledge of the manufacturing and costings side, which i think is partly due to issues with communication with the company i had chosen to work with. I was able to find out as much as I could through information they were able to provide me with during quotes. Also after rethinking and reflecting on the project i have realised that i had over complicated the design on the piece and that it could of been four section and not six which would reduce the cost of manufacturing and the product.


Taking on projects during the third year does come with a major step up and increase in work load, from second year, which is of course to be expected. Though I feel that we still could of been better prepared by doing larger projects during second year where we either had to work with a client or towards a prize like most of us have done during this third year. As always standards are very high and get higher as you go through university and it is important to know and keep all students in line with what needs to be presented and what they expect from each student whether its for a presentation or exhibition models.


The second project i chose to take on was related to diabetes, using my brother as my main client for this project was very helpful as i was able to go back and forth to him with almost every recipe and part of the packaging design. Which is very helpful for a project because even though the designer is making the final say there is someone else who is making the decisions which allows for a better design in the end.

The final product i came up with for a solution was a different type of product then is usually used in product design. The problem i was solving was; there is no suitable snack or dessert food product for diabetics. The final product i designed was three flavours of cheesecake, which are low in sugar, decreased fat, carbohydrates and with increased protein. By changing the recipe of the cheesecake it does allow for a better product then is currently on the market, there are of course many sugar free or free from alternatives that are becoming even more available there is still a major gap.

This project did involve lots of experimentation which with any recipe or product is true. I’ve had lots of speculations for tutors and course mates telling me that i am not making a real product or I’m not doing product design by making cheesecakes. But these are false statements like anything we choose to have in our house or wear on our bodies it applies the same for the food we choose to put into our bodies. Those of the population who have intolerance or are watching there weight stick to certain food groups, it goes the same for those who are diabetics.

In reflection i think i was trying to pick an easier more creative solution for my second project, but like any project there is always more research and more parts to the project then the designer originally thinks. If anything through this project i have certainly managed to make three yummy cheesecakes, which i will be able to make without a recipe and less than an hours notice.

I think even though i may not of been able to complete the final models the way that i would of liked them to turn out. I am happy with where the project have ended and the products I have developed in the year. The other thing i am happy with is that i have been able to do two project i hold very close to my heart and have been a large part of my family life.


Diabetes project; Cheesecake calculations

A typical snack size cheese cake is about 90 grams in weight, but each vary in fat, sugar, carbs and salt content. Below are 6 pictures of the typical values, of 6 of snack cheesecakes currently on the market, 3 are made by tescos and 3 are made by GU.  The tescos cheesecakes are listed on tescos website to last up to 4 days after buying them, whereas GU is stated to last up to a week.

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As can be seen by the fat, carbohydrates and sugar contents they are all very high considering that the desert is only 90 grams in weight. fat is between; 10 to 25 grams, carbohydrate is between; 26 to 32 grams, sugar is between; 17 to 21 grams, these are all very high numbers to consider, when choosing to eat a product.

The 3 cheesecakes that i am making for this project are; new york cheesecake, very berry cheesecake, and chocolate cheesecake.

New york cheesecake (1st try recipe)

  • 250 gram cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoon of natural sweetener
  • 6 rich tea biscuits
  • 1/4 cup of butter

nutritional values;

fat; 15.78g                                       sugar; 1.02g                                      salt; 0.5g

sat; 9.45g                                           protein; 4.7g

carbohydrates; 5.45g                             fiber; 0.2g


Blueberry cheesecake (1st try recipe) 

250 gram cream cheese

  • 2 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoon of natural sweetener
  • 25 blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 6 rich tea biscuits
  • 1/4 cup of butter

nutritional values;

fat; 14.68g                                             sugar; 1.58g                                     salt; 0.58 g

sat; 8.67g                                                 protein; 4.86g

carbohydrates; 9.57g                            fiber; 0.16g


chocolate cheesecake (1st try recipe)

  • 250 gram cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bar 72% chocolate
  • 3 teaspoon natural sweetener
  • 6 rich tea biscuit
  • 1/4 cup of butter

nutritional values;

fat; 24.78g                                 carbohydrates; 14.39g                              salt; 0.5g

sat; 14.6g                                     sugar; 7.76g

fiber;0.03                                    protein; 6.79g


Diabetes Project; Smart food


The idea behind alternative crisps and dips for diabetics is that diabetics shouldn’t eat regular crisps, as crisps are high in salt, fat and carbs. All bad for diabetics, there are already tons of alternative crisps on the market, with sweet potato, and parsnips, beetroot and even apple. Though they seem a smarter healthier option are they actually?

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These are three of tescos current healthy version of crisps; there all 30 gram bag, which gives the consumer about 15-20 slices (not much more then 3 mouthfuls) and as you can see there all at less than 0.5 grams for fat, saturates and salt though very high in sugar with apple slices having the highest sugar content at 22 grams out of 30 gram bag.

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Now i bet these seem healthier don’t they; unlike the alternative crisps above these are not just high in sugar, some of them are high in fat, saturates, though are still low in salt. These bags are 25 grams in weight. the lowest fat content is 5.1 grams in the berry shot, with also saturates being the lowest in berry with 0.6 grams. sugars being the lowest in pea and bean at 1.3 grams.

So through this project i will have to be very careful in the decisions of which food to use in the product that i make, as it seems that even healthy trail mix and food choices can create food to be high in fat, saturates and sugars. A major thing to keep in mind  for when it comes to choosing what food to use.

Diabetes Project; options

After my secondary research was completed, I started thinking about what I could do for my project, and after a few discussions with my brother (main client, type 1 diabetic), I came up with 3 options.

  • a new aesthetic for a sharp box for in the home environment
  • a smart safe food product (snack or desert)
  • an implant to produce insulin when needed in the body (similar to contraceptive rod)

Originally i was fully focused on redesigning a sharp box, as this was the initially problem that my brother identified to me. However after speaking with my tutor i figured out that by doing a redesign of a sharp box would end up being very similar to my adaptive grip for cutlery project, as it would be mainly changing the aesthetics of the piece to make the sharp box look pretty for the home environment.

The implant would be a more interesting and complex project to complete, though to complete this project i would have to know everything about anatomy of the body, and the pancreas and how insulin works in the body. Also i would have to figure out how this implant who be implanted into the body, and how it would work and interact with the body. Therefore this project is too complicated to complete in the time frame.

leaving me with the smart food product for diabetics; with this project, it would be a product line, with a snack and desert range. Made up of low fat, low sugar cheesecakes for the desert line, and alternative crisps such as sweet potato, courgette, bacon, plantains  for the snack line. For the snack they will need to be low sugar, low fat, and high in protein to be suitable towards the diabetic population.

Diabetes project; Diabetes type 1&2 research


  • injection technology; needle length
    • children and adolescents:4, 5, 6 mm
    • 4, 5, 6 mm needles in common use for adults no need for longer than 8mm
    • always try shorter needles first
  • insulin needs to go into the fat not muscle
  • tip charateristics
    • 3 or 5 cut
    • more cuts means that the needle is thinner and will go into the skin easier
  • technology
    • did i take my insulin?
    • timesulin
    • insulcheck
    • novopen echo
  • reducing skin punctures
    • short-term injection port iport (3 days or 75 injections) reduces from 4-6 a day to 1 every 3 days
    • its pain free
    • easier to transport
  • needle-free injectors
    • insuject system
    • injex
  • buzzy for shots
    • buzzy product

type 1

  • needs to be treated with insulin
  • control blood sugar levels
  • most common injection sites; thighs, butt, belly
  • rotation of injection site is very important, staying in the same site makes it difficult for the body to absorb insulin also create scar tissue
  • 3 main gropus of insulin
    • animal (not for humans)
    • human (not suitable to use in insulin pen)
    • analogues  (synthetic)
  • analogues insulin
    • rapid-acting; before and after food; action 0-3 hours, lasting 2-5 hours
    • long-lasting; 1 a day, lasting 24 hours, food not needed
    • ultra long-lasting; provide insulin for 42 hours, 1 at any time of day, food not needed
    • short-acting; 15-30mins before meals; 2-6 hours, lasting up to 8 hours
    • medium and long lasting; 1 or 2 a day; 4-12 hours, lasting up to 30 hours
  • storing insulin; 25 degrees room temperature, ideally 2-6 degrees

Diabetes managed

  • type 1
    • insulin shots
    • meal planning
    • exercise
  • type 2
    • diet and exercise
    • medicine (mouth)
    • insulin shots (less common)
  • symptoms of type 1
    • increased thirst
    • dry mouth
    • a need to pee
    • weight loss
    • weak, tired feeling
    • blurred vision
  • symptoms of type 2
    • blurred vision
    • slow healing sores and cuts
    • itchy skin
    • yeast infections
    • increased thirst
    • dry mouth
    • need to pee
  • blood sugar levels
    •  blood sugar levels and numbers are individual to each person
    • between 70mg/dl and 180mg/dl
    • low blood sugar under 60mg/dl
      • weak
      • dizzy
      • hungry
      • trembles
      • shaky
      • sweat
      • pounding heart
      • pale skin
      • anxious


  • type 1
    • type 1 is much less common than type 2
    • type 1 usually hits before 40 yrs old (in USA peak age is 14)
    • type 1; deficiency of insulin to do with the islet cells in the pancreas, unable to control the correct amount of output of insulin leading to blood sugar rises
    • type 1: more than 700,000 americans, 10% of all americans with diabetes have type 1, 3.7 out of 20 (per 100,000)
  • cause
    • autoimmune disorder; part of the immune system sees the islet cells of the pancreas as the enemy, body then create antibodies to fight these cells, then destroying them.
    • can be caused by viral infection
    • genetic tendency
  • treatment
    • insulin can not be taken as a pill; this is due to stomach acid destroying insulin before it gets to where it needs to go
    • insulin is a hormone and a protein
    • shots are most commonly used
    • insulin pumps have increased in popularity though is more expensive and may not be completely covered by insurance
    • 1 tubeless pump available on the current market


  • usually appears before the age of 40
  • type 1 is the most common type in children
  • between the age of 20-70 in 2015: 415 million (estimated)
  • expected: 1 out of 10 people by 2040
  • 1 out of 2 adults will have type 2 that is most likely undiagnosised
  • internation diabetes feration
    • estimated 7 countrieshad more than 10 million people with diabetes (china,india, usa, brazil, russia federation, mexico and indonesia)
    • increased prevelance in adult population
      • tokelau ( 30%)
      • navru, marritius, cook islands, marshall islands, palau, kuwait, saudi arabia, qatar new caledonia (19.6%)
  • estimated 4.5 million diabetes sufferers in the uk
  • 700 people a day / 1 every 2 mins  are diagnosised with diabetes
  • since 1996; diagnosed people has more than doubled from 1.4 million to 3.5 million
  • 10% of all diagnosed type 1 / 90% of all diagnosed type 2
  • more men than women/ 56% men 44% women
  • 31,500 children (under 19)
    • in the uk, majority is type 1
    • 95.1% type 1
    • 52% boys, 48% girls
    • girls are twice as likely to have type 2 as children
  • peak age; 9-14
  • diabetes causes 1 death every 6 seconds
    • 14.5% of global mortality in 20-79 yrs old
    • 47% deaths occurs in those under the age of 60
  • 34.4% more likely to die at a younger age
  • financial costs
    • 10 billion is spent by NHS of diabetes(10% of total budget)
    • equavilent to 1 million an hour
    • 1 out of 7 beds are taken up by a diabetic patient
  • diabetes contributes to 44% of : angina, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke
  • 45.1 million prescription items were dispensed in primary car in england (2013-14)
    • 803 million
    • increase in cost 5.1% (2012-13)


Diabetes project

Visual research completed on pinterest. mood board, of existing products, memes about existing products and what might be more useful, new and up-coming products that are being tested, and interesting opinions.

final reflection; Field

Both of the projects that i completed for my field module were very useful to me, especially once i went back to doing projects in my subject.

The Korea project was especially vital to me, as it connects well with my final project, that i have just completed. the cultural value that i picked up on while i was in Korea have had a major influence on me and what i want to design, and who i want to design for. The cultural value of looking after the elderly and giving them the respect and care that they need is a major part of the culture in Korea, and most Asian countries. This is something that i have chosen to keep in mind while designing things. In the final project i used this information to help me design a product that is used by the elderly to be able to get there medication when they need it and in the right amount. The Korea trip was very important for me to be able to see another culture and develop as a product designer.

Mind your own business project was also very important as it taught me the basics of the business world, and how the product design world and business world connect. The main thing that i learnt during this project was to create a product; that was well designed, well made, and that the target market would want to own. This is something that i am trying to think about and use in my subject area. As designing product, making them effective and directing them towards a target market that want and need it is a vital part of product design. I have defiantly tried to keep these things in mind when designing my final piece, as it is something that is directed at the elderly population, and has a few key features that this target market requires, such as; a simple function, ergonomics, and an alarm system to help the person remember to take there pills but also to avoid taking more then necessary and putting themselves at risk. which is a common mistake of those who live on there own with no carer or help 100% of the time.

In final reflection both of these modules were very useful to me in very different ways, it also helped me to realize what should be truly important when designing a product. Not only for the final result of the design concept but also for when developing the idea, if you do not spend the correct amount of time developing the idea and pushing ahead with the first idea the design will never truly develop into the product that it should be, and then the target market will never what the product because it wont complete any of the needs of the user. I will continue to use the things that i have learned through these 2 projects and constellation and all future projects to help me in productdesign.