An assistive product design that supports working in bed with a mobility disability.
Industrial design, design research, fabrication, project management
Awards & Exhibitions
Recipient of the Leslie eLab grant and showcased at the ITP Winter Show 2018
Our client, Sharifa, wanted to be able to work from home but found barriers with working comfortably from bed.
Sharfia was using blankets as elbow support for her muscular dystrophy that generated too much heat.
A custom bed desk that was designed to meet the needs and preferences of one individual user.
- Thin and lightweight
- Doesn’t rest on lap or legs
- Doesn’t generate heat
- Wipeable for eating
- Keeps her elbows at a comfortable height
- For independent eating, needs bowl closer to face
- Needs bowl held in place
- Padding under elbows that keeps them in place
- Needs her tools within reach
- Nothing on surface that irritates her skin
- Matches the rest of her furniture
- 1/2 inch plywood
- Custom height and curvature of desk shape
- No electrical elements
- Polyurethane wood finish
- Low fidelity prototyping to test for optimal height measurement
- Raised, non-slip dish holder that counterbalances angle of desk
- Magnets keep the dish holder secure on the table
- Non-slip, removable, machine washable elbow padding
- Rubber stripping to hold her pencil and laptop in place
- Countersunk screws, rounded and sanded edges
- Dark cherry wood stain
In this use case, our method involved designing for one. We used human-centered design to create a product that met her individual needs and preferences, working from low to high fidelity prototypes.
“I’m just excited at the fact that I actually have this. Now in the summertime, when these blankets are off, I don’t have nothing hot on my legs or all that pressure.”
“I’m not really [sitting] straight—my body is more leaning to the right. And because of that,—even though I’m leaning on this [left] elbow—it’s causing numbness and a little pressure on this arm.”
“I’ve been using it every day and I haven’t stopped… I can use it for everything and I do.”