Over the past week, I’ve been thinking more about different ways to reimagine the caretaker — patient relationship during patient transport; and one way that I’ve gone about doing so was through different modes of sensation (described below).
I spent a few days thinking specifically about the visual method; inspired by rearview mirrors in vehicles as well as the multipurpose of mirrors in barbershops. Using the crude PVC/cardboard prototype below, I was able to test out a few different positions of a mirror with some of my housemates. A couple issues that arose were the potential awkwardness of making eye contact if a conversation wasn’t taking place, and most upsetting of all: the product already exists (pictured below the prototype).
While the existence of such a product is somewhat reaffirming, it did get me thinking more about the other directions that I considered.
Thinking towards the gesture of interaction, I came across attendant-powered electric chairs. In their current form, the purpose is ease of use for the attendant, but have no change in terms of the gesture involved.
A simple image I had in my head was pushing a wheelchair from the side in the same way that one could place their hand enduringly on someone’s back. In order to push a chair this way, however, there is a serious lack of mechanical advantage when compared to the typical handle that current chairs use.
This is where I see an electric chair coming into play. Below are a few positions where a control unit could be place to enable a more enduring control gesture while still providing the flexibility for different orientations for the caretaker to stand. I’m excited about this idea, and my next step is to sketch and prototype this control unit in higher fidelity.