Designing Open Tools for Self-Management in Diabetes, Katrien Dreessen

Designing Open Tools for Self-Management in Diabetes

  • Project leader: Katrien Dreessen (Faculty of the Arts, RU Inter-Actions, RG Social spaces)
  • Team: Ollivier Piqueray (Faculty of the Arts, RU Inter-Actions, RG Social Spaces), Danny Leen (Faculty of the Arts, RU Inter-Actions, RG Social spaces), Jessica Schoffelen (Faculty of the Arts, RU Inter-Actions, RG Social Spaces), Niels Hendriks (Faculty of the Arts, RU Inter-Actions, RG Social Spaces)

This research explores the possibilities of a fabrication lab (fablab) and open design in a social and participatory design approach. The motivation for applying design in self-care (controlling the condition of diabetes) and self-management (organising self-care) of diabetics, is twofold. On the one hand, a focus on a human-centered and design approach can be valuable in addition to the predominant clinical top-down management in this specific health care domain. On the other hand, the singularities of self-care and self-management are an interesting challenge for design. The personal involvement of diabetics within self-care and self-management requires the integration of smart technology in their daily lifes. The essential self-care for controlling diabetes causes every day practical issues: e.g. self-care tools have to be available at any time. 95% of controlling the chronic condition is carried out by the patient himself, illustrating the importance of tools supporting self-management. This research aims to develop several supportive self-management tools focusing on design and aesthetics. The frequent use of self-care tools in public spaces has implications for their use, design and aesthetics: elements which are underrepresented within the common clinical perspective. This research differs from the common clinical approach in two ways. First, we aim to create a human centered perspective through a participatory process involving developers, engineers, diabetics and their social network. Second, the design of the tools is of central concern: personalised supportive self-management tools are developed within this participatory context and existing self-care tools are redesigned with extensive focus on aesthetics and use. The development takes place in the context of the fablab – an experimental work and research lab – that represents an open philosophy where tools are shared, adapted and reproduced. The local and international fablab network guarantees a wide distribution of the tools and facilitates future (re)development. This immersion of design in everyday life of diabetics and the extensive focus on sharing of designs (open design) creates an opportunity to explore new possibilities for design and aesthetics. Finally, this research will explore the integration of rapid prototyping within this long term iterative design process.

  • Duration: 2012-
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