Big Life Fix:

New York team lends prototyping expertise to BBC2 design show


Following our work in London with BBC2’s Big Life Fix, creating a voice technology assistant for a woman living with MS, our New York team worked closely on another design challenge from series 2 of the television series, Inventing the Impossible.

The show introduced us to Tobijah, who suffers from the effects of severe damage to his spinal cord. No longer able to send signals from his brain to reach the nerves in his hands, Tobijah experiences difficulties using typical kitchen tools as his hand dexterity is now extremely limited.

Best known for pioneering inclusive design and our decades-long partnership with OXO creating the award-winning GoodGrips brand of kitchen tools, Smart Design was well-equipped to assist in developing customized handles that could make a big impact on Tobijah’s life. Our multi-disciplinary workshop team collaborated with Big Life ‘Fixer’ Zoe Laughlin to prepare digital product files and high fidelity prototypes of handles that are an ergonomic match, addressing Tobijah’s unique grip with comfort and ease.

Combining the custom set of tools with a robotically functioning glove that Zoe created to bring back some of Tobijah’s motor skills, the designs were deemed a success by Tobijah’s family – giving him everyday accessibility to the kitchen activities that previously eluded him. We witnessed Tobijah back in the kitchen, delighted to be fulfilling his dream of baking a cake with his daughter.

Check out the full story in episode 3 on BBC2’s site here, as well as the other incredible inventions that are creating meaningful impact for those in need.

Aug 2018