bespoken is launching a new design challenge for 2012!


This year we have teamed up with 3 Universities – Brunel, Coventry and Loughborough – and we want your insight and expertise to guide them.


This is how it works – we have final year design students at all these universities looking for inspiration for their projects.  They want to create something that meets a real need.


Tell us your ideas, issue your challenges and the students will select their projects from this list.


So – what doesn’t exist that should?  What should these bright young minds be working on?  I’ve left the ideas from last year below to get you started.


The floor is yours…

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I am getting worse at washing up because my left hand has problems with gripping etc. Is there something been designed that could help me with this. Can't afford a dish washer. I am really getting frustrated with this.

Posted by Carole Collin on September 5, 2011 at 3:00pm in Answers & Questions

Hello Carole Collin,

My name is Jonathan Lees, and I am currently attempting to design a product which may address the issues you have mentioned in this comment.

I am very interested in solving this particular issue relating to washing up kitchenware. Out of interest, is there a diagnosed condition related to the gripping problems you are experiencing. The focus of my research study is related particularly to arthritis sufferers.

It would be a great opportunity to gain better insight into the problems you are experiencing. Would you be interested and willing to answer some questions related to this issue?

Many Thanks,



Why cant stairlift companies design a seat that can be like a small lift weight wheelchair so that person can be transferred on to it from bed or arm chair and be taken to the lift and chair pushed on to the stairlift bracket, back wheels collapsing as it pushes on a bit like the ambulance stretchers .  I am fed up of talking to the companies about this but it would be a massive help to us,  as when people get too frail to transfer we could still use a stairlift rather then having to build massive extensions or putting in through floor lifts.  Is here an engineer out there who is stimulated enough to look at this!!


Posted by Jane Varden on August 19, 2011 at 10:13am in I had this idea...

Please can you design a egg-shaped fully enclosed spoon which has a lever on it to open the top, then I could have soup without it all spilling off the spoon between my plate and mouth.

Dear Grant

I work with a charity called Remap, they design and make bespoke gadgets (more info at ).

Brighton Remap panel includes a chap who designed and built something very similar to what you're describing above.

Please e-mail me if you would like some more info on this.



This idea comes from an OT at the Naidex Scotland exhibition last week.


Can we develop a shower head that has a water control (to turn it off and on) on the shower head?


This would help people wanting to wash or clear a specific area of the body without soaking the whole body.

Another idea from Naidex.


I was talking to a lady who uses a wheelchair but is unable to fully bend one leg.  Her partially bent leg is vulnerable to knocks and damage which is a concern for her.  So far she has been advised to use chicken wire (which she's not keen on!)  Can we create a flexible but durable protective guard for this situation?

Can I clarify? Are we talking physical (or engineering) design as opposed to systems?

Does it matter how big the project is?

For example,

 I own a house that was adapted and would suit any severely disabled individual. The Council has no need for it (apparently), yet the cost was considerable. 

It is distressing when you hear of people with disabilities requiring housing and we have a house that would be suitable, There seems to be a lack of ability to match needs.

I use elbow crutches but following surgery to fuse my wrist I cannot grip the crutch handle in the same way (as proper use requires the user to bend their wrist and I cannopt do this) so cannot rely on the crutches as much. I have tried gutter crutches but because my condition means that I cannot sense where the ends of my limbs are all I do is trip myself up with them. Could someone please design elbow crutches/elbow crutch handles that I can grip and use more easily?

Would altering the height of the crutch handle to accommodate your straight wrist not help?

i would think that it should not be too difficult.......

I think a combination of change of height, angle, shape and other factors is required. Orthotics removed the handle and replaced it with a small ball but that made it worse. It just seems that no one has resolved this and with my other wrist needing to be fused soon it is becoming a real dilemma!


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