3 out 4 categories have been shortlisted in the Blackwood Design Awards 2017/18 with the final less than a month away. The Best New Concept is still awaiting the last few shortlisting votes but you will discover all next week. In the meantime, here’s your first look at who will face off during the final when our panel of expert judges deliberate in the  Lighthouse in Glasgow.

The finalists then, by category are…


Best New Accessible Technology


Eyesynth – One of the most exciting new products in this year’s competition, Eyesynth is a pair of glasses that is equipped with sensors which can let the visually impaired wearer to perceive shapes. One trial user said it would enable him to walk places independently.




RAPAEL Pegboard – A smart device that has therapeutic applications. It helps therapists to gauge the rate of improvement in cognitive function and dexterity of a patient.




Best New Aids and Equipment


AquaPlane – a simple swimming aids which has made the final in no small part due to the massive impact it had on the life of one young boy called Ismail Zulfic. Ismail has become something of a swimming sensation in his native Bosnia thanks to Aquaplane which enabled him to take to the water safely and learn to swim, something he now loves doing.



Limb Difference – a gripping aid which makes all manner of seemingly impossible tasks suddenly a lot more manageable. This is especially true if the user has a weak grip, like the little girl in this short clip…



RAPAEL Smart Glove – This design works for people who are going through Physiotherapy and learning to use their hand again. It uses games and exercises to encourage certain movements in the hand and measures progress. The video illustrates it better…



Best collaborative project by a university or institute of higher learning


Iridis – Designed at Stirling University, Iridis is an app that is based on extensive research into dementia and environment design that suits best.

Users are asked questions about their surroundings, and asked to take photographs, as they work their way round the building. On average, it takes around 20 minutes to assess the suitability of a two-bedroom home. The app will generate a range of recommended improvements, which could be as simple as changing a light bulb, to more complex improvements such as reconfiguring bathrooms.



The Love Jacket – This entry is a tailor made suit for a wheelchair user which incorporates style, practicality and that also reflects the wearer’s individuality. It was designed in response to the frustration felt by many a wheelchair user who has to make do with wearing clothing which is not suited to their circumstances.


Unparalleled ­– Not unlike the Love Jacket, Unparalleled addresses a lack of functionality in standard clothing. Designers came up with a poncho like item of clothing that can be thrown on and off by the wearer who has no use at all of their arms.


Which entries have caught your eye? Comments below please....


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