Project featured in the Evening Post
The Nottingham Evening Post published an article about the project today. The article reads as follows:
More comfortable hearing aids and a guitar strap that lights up are among items that have been created in Nottingham to help people with mental health issues.
They were made possible by a grant of more than £300,000 to Nottingham Trent University to look into how “wearable technology and smart textiles” can help those with such problems.
The money helped fund a series of workshops involving people with mental health problems in the design process of a new item. This could help them deal with their issues or simply boost their confidence.
The idea of combining technology with clothing and textiles is to make life easier for people.
Dr Sarah Kettley, a senior lecturer in product design at the university, said: “The idea is something that has been around for a while. “Levi’s and Philips tried creating something around 20 years ago and embroidered a music player into clothing. “But it hasn’t really taken off, and we’re looking into how it can help people. It can be something as simple as a hearing aid made more comfortable, but the workshops we have held have seen people come up with lots of different things. “One of the people involved created a guitar strap that lit up when he played. It’s what we call a touchstone. It makes them feel safer or happier.”
The study was financed by a £333,000 grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Professor David Brown, from the university’s Computer Science School, said: “In the workshops we have been making things as a group, and that gives them time to relax.
“The process itself is therapeutic.
The university has received £2.8 million to develop new state-of-the-art manufacturing methods for wearable technology, such as jackets that can make phone calls and gloves that coach your golf swing.
Dr Kettley said it is vital the methods are considered with all areas of society in mind. She added: “Wearable technology and smart textiles are advancing rapidly and it’s important that their potential applications are designed with all corners of society in mind. This is about giving people with mental health issues a voice in how that technology is shaped.”
The project runs in conjunction with Nottingham Mind Network, and involves 20 people who use their services.
By Jon Pritchard
Source: The Nottingham Evening Post