Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are you full of ideas?

For the past few months I've been collaborating on some design ideas with a gentleman from the UK, Matt (more info below about him). We started out just throwing different ideas back on forth on what type of products could make the life of someone with Cystic Fibrosis easier. It's been fun coming up with different things, and the cool part is, nothing is too crazy!! Matt is willing to give everything a look. 

I asked him to write up a summary on what AIR is, who he is and what type of people he's looking for. He's opening up the community to include all of you who are interested. Read Matt's write-up below. If you decide to join, drop me a note and I'll look for you :)


What is it?

AIR is a research project looking at how people can be better included in the design and development of medical products. It seems like common sense that people who have to use a medical product would be included, but it's not always the case.

Sometimes, people are included, but only to have opinions on things that have already been designed- other times, people are included but not allowed to have a fundamental say on what a product does; or even whether it fixes the problem that they want to have fixed in the first place!

In other industries, people are included as collaborators- they have the power to change the direction of a project, as they are included from the very beginning. Also, because they are equal partners in the design of the product, the end result is a better fit... it makes sense for the producer who wants to sell the product, and the person who has to use it. This is called Co Design.

However, in order to collaborate- people need to meet up. This can be a problem; what happens if you want to collaboratively design a product with people who aren't allowed to meet up?

AIR is a research project that is tackling this question, by allowing people to participate over the internet. It's a social network, all about developing concepts for medical devices for people who live with Cystic Fibrosis.

I'd like to invite you to take part.

It's open for anyone to join, as long as you're over 18. It's an opportunity for anyone to participate, whether you live with Cystic Fibrosis, or have intimate knowledge of living with someone who has Cystic Fibrosis. If you're someone who is interested in making things, and designing, but does not live with Cystic Fibrosis, then you're welcome too; it takes many people with many skills to help create a great product concept.

You can join and comment on other people's ideas, post your own, or share experiences that you feel strongly about without having an idea for a product... maybe someone else will see your story and be inspired.

Who am I?

My name is Matt (, and I'm a design researcher from the UK, at Sheffield Hallam University ( I am interested in how people can be included in medical product design. I don't have Cystic Fibrosis, and although I can't ever truly understand what it's like to live with CF, I can see that it's difficult to currently collaborate on making products.

This project isn't linked to industry, and is not for profit. The findings will be published in academic journals and conferences, and used as evidence to demonstrate how valid this method is; with the hope of influencing how medical products are designed more broadly. Although, there could be circumstances where the project receives attention from the press- this is not planned.

Because this social network is available publicly, you can choose to participate anonymously by signing up with a pseudonym, or by signing in with Facebook (or Twitter) and sharing your name. You can participate as much as you like, and at any time of the day. You're not signing up for anything financial (I don't need your credit card details!), and you can choose to stop any time you like without having an impact on any medical care that you currently receive.

I'd love to welcome you to AIR, and I hope this finds you well.

Click here to check us out: