Tag Archives: CIC

Holly’s Rocking Dinosaur!

Holly and her rocking dinosaur

Holly and her rocking dinosaur

Liz and Jim are parents to 15 month old Holly and they recently contacted the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) with a challenge to complete in time for their daughter’s first birthday. They told us their story:

“We contacted the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) after realising the first birthday present we had bought for our daughter, when she was just a month old, was completely inappropriate. Holly loves rocking and we really wanted to get her a rocking animal for her first birthday and we found a dinosaur. The problem was that it was unlikely Holly would ever be able to use it as it had no harness or support.

Holly has a rare chromosome disorder. She has duplications on 2q24.2 and 2q24.3. This manifests as Holly having hypotonia, global developmental delay, visual impairment, Sandifer Syndrome and food allergies. She is at a high risk of developing autism and epilepsy but we are lucky that she seems to be ok at the moment. As Holly has hypotonia her core is very weak and so she struggles to sit unsupported.

Holly is a really happy, wonderful little person and we wanted her to be able to enjoy her rocking dinosaur. We approached Ross and the team at the CIC to see if it would be possible to convert her toy so she can enjoy it safely, as it is one of the few toys she has that is just for her to have fun and enjoy being a little girl. They rose to the challenge beautifully and added pieces to it so that we could attach the Firefly GoTo seat, which would keep her safe.

Holly loves her dinosaur, she can make it rock by herself and she is independent.  We are so grateful to Cerebra for making this possible for Holly. It even arrived back in time for her first birthday!”

If you have an idea for a piece of equipment that you would like the CIC team to build, you can get in touch with them at cic@cerebra.org.uk or 01792 483688.

 

The Earl of Wessex to officially open UWTSD’s ALEX Building

The ALEX Building

The ALEX Building

Cerebra and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David will welcome The Earl of Wessex to the University’s Swansea College of Art and Design ALEX Building on Thursday, September 29, to officially open the Building.

The Earl of Wessex will be greeted and welcomed by Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, UWTSD Vice-Chancellor, before embarking on a tour of the building, where he will meet staff and students.

His Royal Highness will also visit The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC), which was established in 2004 as a partnership between the University and Cerebra, a charity working with brain injured children. From its base in ALEX, the centre designs and manufactures individual products to assist children living with serious life-limiting conditions. Profits from commercialised products are fed back into CIC’s R&D activities.

The visit will conclude with the unveiling of a plaque by The Earl of Wessex to officially open the ALEX Building.

Dr Ian Walsh, Dean of UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art and Design said: “The visit by The Earl of Wessex to the ALEX Building marks the end of a journey which started in 2006. Over the last 10-years this magnificent historic building has been transformed. Its original vision as a beacon of excellence has been restored and once again it occupies centre stage as a seat of creative learning in the heart of Swansea.”

Chris Jones, CEO of Cerebra, said: “The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) based within the ALEX building is an initiative created from Cerebra’s partnership with the University.  We created the centre in order to provide high quality, innovative product solutions to help the families of children with a variety of brain conditions. Cerebra is a national charity for brain injured children and the CIC forms an extremely important part of our work.  Innovative product solutions are all about discovery. There is a certain magic in that and Cerebra is all about joining with families in order to take that journey of discovery. We listen to families, face up to their challenges, believe that for every challenge there is a solution and then discover that solution together. The Cerebra Innovation Centre epitomises that philosophy. It truly is a great innovation in itself.”

CIC full mainThe ALEX Building plays host to a number of important centres of excellence. It provides state-of-the-art accommodation for Wales’ oldest Art Foundation Programme. UWTSD is the only University in Wales still running its own in-house art foundation which remains a key point of entry to Swansea College of Art.

Swansea Bay has the largest cluster of independent architectural glass practitioners in Europe. The Architectural Glass department at UWTSD, which celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2016/17, is unique in the UK and has a truly international reputation. Supporting the creative industries is fundamental to Swansea College of Art’s mission. Within the ALEX Building this is seen clearly in the work of the innovative 3D Computer Animation and Creative Computer Games programmes.

The ALEX building is also home to the University’s Industrial Design department, which include the only Automotive and Transport Design programmes in Wales plus the award winning Product Design programmes.

Becca’s fab rocket design!

Becca

Becca

Becca Davies recently joined our Innovation Centre team for a month long internship. Becca wanted to gain some design experience before going on to study 3D design at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle.

We gave Becca the task of developing our medical device holder. Using recently received family feedback, she went on to create this fun but functional rocket shelving unit to hold all manner of medical equipment at the bedside.

Becca told us:

Rocket Medical Stand

Rocket Medical Stand

“My time with CIC has been invaluable! The guys that work here and the families they help day in and day out have been a massive inspiration to me. Not only have they been an endless source of knowledge and talent to learn from – boosting my skills and competency as a designer. But they have also taught me about the great things that can be achieved through product design – happiness, excitement and making what people with disabilities once thought was unreachable, reachable.

I worked closely with Anna, mother of Osian to realise the design and form of my Rocket Medical Stand. She needed it to organise Osian’s everyday things so I designed it to be accessible and open, easing the interaction between herself and the equipment. Alongside this I wanted the stand to bring a little extra joy to their everyday lives hence the out-of-this-world rocket form!”

Good job Becca – and good luck with your studies!

If the Innovation Team can help you with any design issues, just get in touch here.

Cerebra Innovation Centre Open Afternoon

The team and the equipmentOn 15th June we held an open afternoon at the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) to showcase some of the amazing designs produced by our talented team.

Disabled children often encounter barriers to taking part in activities that non-disabled children take for granted. Our Innovation Centre designers are inspired by the children we work with to come up with brilliant ideas, that aren’t currently available, to help children have fun, play, discover and take part.

The Cerebra Innovation Centre is based at the ALEX Design Exchange in the heart of Swansea, part of the University of Wales Trinity St David School of Art campus. The Open Afternoon at CIC was an opportunity to talk to guests about the Innovation Centre’s work as well as give a tour of the first class facilities that are available to the team as part of this collaborative project between Cerebra and the University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD).

Guests were welcomed by James Moxey, Director of CIRIC (Creative Industries Research and Innovation Centre, UWTSD) and given an overview of Cerebra’s work by Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Cerebra. Rob Jones, who will shortly be competing in the Cardiff Triathlon with his daughter Poppy, spoke movingly about the difference CIC has made to Poppy’s life by enabling her to take part in this challenge (read more below).

Dr Ross Head, Product Design Manager at CIC, spoke passionately about the positive difference CIC makes to the lives of children with brain conditions and explained, “I have had the opportunity to make a difference to fellow human beings simply by doing what I love to do. As a product designer, it is my passion to solve problems by the creation of a physical products, and to do that for such a worthy cause really does give me fulfilment in my work.  As CIC work within UWTSD, we are immersed in a creative culture which drives the team to design beautiful yet functional products that help children and supply them with products that promote their individuality rather than highlight their differences”.

Guests also had the opportunity to take a tour of the Innovation Centre’s office, workshop and machine room which illustrated the journey from design stage to fully working bespoke products.

Some of the Innovation Centre’s recent designs include:

Poppy's triathlon boat

Poppy’s triathlon boat

‘Poppy’s Dream’ which has been a huge challenge for the team who have designed and made the equipment needed to take Rob and Poppy to the finish line of the Cardiff Triathlon on 26th June. Eleven year old Poppy has cerebral palsy and is determined not to just take part, but to win!

 

 

Kai taking to the waves

Kai riding the waves

The ‘tandem surf board’ with its supportive bucket seat that allows disabled children to surf whilst being controlled by a trained surf instructor, and the ‘Surf Access Vehicle’ which enables wheelchair bound children to get to the water’s edge.

 

 

Fitting the helmet

Fitting Tommy Lee’s helmet

A bespoke riding helmet for 16 year old Tommy Lee so that he could fulfil one of his dreams to go horse riding with his friends. Tommy Lee’s unique head shape meant that a standard riding helmet would not fit.

 

 

Designs by the team have also been developed and made commercially available through retailers. After being contacted by a parent who needed help to get out and about in the snow with a wheelchair, the team designed a sledge with a supportive seat and harness built in. The sledge proved so popular that CIC collaborated with Gordon Ellis & Co to launch their very first commercially available product.

The GoTo is a postural support seat developed by Firefly and Cerebra that lets children participate in those moments that make family life special. Families worldwide use their GoTo Seats in supermarket trolleys, on planes, swings and Granny’s dining chairs. They make daily tasks easier, and mean kids don’t need to miss out. It gives a little piece of independence that lets them see the world from a new perspective and feel they’re at the heart of the action.

All of the Innovation Centre’s designs are in response to direct requests from parents and carers who are struggling to find the piece of equipment that would make their child’s life easy more, more inclusive and more fun. All of the designs are made free of charge for families. So if you would like to challenge the team to find a solution for your family please get in touch with them at cic@cerebra.org.uk.

Poppy’s Dream

Poppy and Rob ahead of their Triathlon challenge

Poppy and Rob

On 26th June 2016 Poppy Jones and her dad Rob will take part in the Cardiff Triathlon together to raise money for Cerebra. But they will face an additional challenge – ten year old Poppy has cerebral palsy and Rob will be pushing/pulling her around the course using custom made equipment specially designed by our Innovation Centre.

Ten year old Poppy was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease. She can’t sit, stand, roll or support herself and life is a daily challenge for her. She has suffered many health problems over the years and there have been times when doctors didn’t think she would pull through. Dad Rob explains “there have been times when it has been very touch and go and we feel very lucky that she has been with us for the last 10 years”.

But having a life-limiting condition doesn’t stop Poppy having fun. Poppy is a determined character with a great sense of humour. Her sense of adventure knows no bounds. She is a real thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie and has a true competitive spirit.

Rob, meanwhile is facing a challenge of his own in getting fit for the event. He’s never taken part in a triathlon before and isn’t a regular swimmer, runner or cyclist. At Christmas he could only manage two lengths of the local swimming pool and is using his ancient bicycle to train.

Rob running on a treadmill preparing for his Triathlon challenge

Rob is put through his paces

The University of Wales Trinity St David, who are project partners in CIC, are also fully supporting Rob and Poppy’s challenge. The University’s renowned health and sports specialists Dr Peter Herbert and Nalda Wainwright, who coach elite athletes in their high performance laboratory, will be giving advice to Rob and Poppy on their training programme.

Mum Rachel, along with the rest of the family and friends, are right behind Poppy and Rob and are fully supporting them all the way, providing all the back-up and help they need. Rob’s motivation for doing this is simply to help his daughter: “taking part in this triathlon is so exciting for her and psychologically it will really benefit her. She gets so frustrated at the limits her condition puts on her and this will really focus her mind on what she can do. Poppy doesn’t think ‘I can’t’ but rather ‘with a little help I can’. I’ve got my work cut out though as Poppy doesn’t want to just take part – she wants to win!”

The project is also a huge challenge for Cerebra’s Innovation Centre who are designing and making the equipment that Rob and Poppy will need to take them to the finish line. Having seen one of CIC’s recent projects (the surfboard), Rob realised what it was possible to achieve with a little help and decided to set the charity the challenge of designing, engineering and manufacturing three unique sporting products.

Innovation Centre's design for Poppy's boat

Latest design for Poppy’s triathlon boat

In principle the plan sounded quite easy for the design team – Poppy and Rob need a chair on wheels and a boat. But Poppy wants to win! So they need a chair on wheels with suspension, every ergonomic issue addressed and resolved, it must roll well and true and must be comfortable for both users. It must be light, stiff yet comfortable. The “boat” will be a unique design, sleek, slender and with the least hydrodynamic resistance possible, yet it must also be stable, strong – and unsinkable! Engineering will be one of the biggest challenges, but the team have lots of friends who have already offered lots of help. They will be collaborating with V-Track seating systems, Loop Wheels, J.D.Marine for welding, and have been offered significant design advice by naval architect Richard Pemberton from Falmouth. Oh – and as Poppy’s favourite colour is yellow, that’s what it’s going to be!

Dr Ross Head, Product Design Manager at CIC, explains “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to be a part of this challenge. It is incredibly humbling to be around someone like Poppy- she is bright, bubbly, smiles all the time, she doesn’t complain about her situation, she just gets on and makes the best of every situation. When we met with Rob he was very emotional at the level of support and enthusiasm we showed towards them. But it is the same for us, to be able to help them achieve this impressive task really will be a moment to remember”.

Rob at the starting point of the triathlon in Cardiff Bay

Rob meets Amy Jenner from Wales Triathlon, the CIC team and Cerebra Events Co-ordinator Cecilia Bufton in Cardiff Bay

Welsh Triathlon and organisers of the Cardiff event, Always Aim High, are fully supportive of Poppy and Rob’s challenge. Amy Jenner from Wales Triathlon said “’Welsh Triathlon are committed to making sure everyone can achieve their Triathlon challenge. This is a dual challenge – both Rob’s amazing physical challenge and Poppy’s determination to experience life at its full. The Cerebra team designing the special equipment, the race organisers Always Aim High, and the support crew, have worked wonderfully together to make Poppy and Rob’s dreams come alive as well as raise money for charity Cerebra and other brain injured children”.

 

We’ll keep you updated on Rob and Poppy’s progress over the next few months.

You can watch a great video about Rob and Poppy on our YouTube channel.

If you would like to support Rob and Poppy please visit www.justgiving.com/Rob-Jones42

Innovation Centre Create High tech horse riding helmet for young boy with unique head shape.

Tommy-Lee in action

Tommy-Lee in action

The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC), along with the help of BSI (British Standards Institution) have taken the challenge to help a young boy with autism and a unique head shape to fulfil one of his dreams.

16 year-old Tommy-Lee from Brighton wanted to go horse riding with his friends but his unique head shape prevented him from wearing a riding helmet. Without a riding helmet he was not allowed to participate for safety reasons.

CIC’s mission is to design and develop products that will allow children to be included in activities and daily living. They focus on careful attention to the aesthetics of the product to ensure that the child not only fits in, but in some cases becomes the object of envy of the playground.

In conjunction with the MSc Industrial Design course at UWTSD, Swansea, the CIC team used high tech equipment to develop a bespoke riding helmet for Tommy Lee.  Dr Ross Head, Product Design Manager at CIC said:

“We knew that the basic principle of a helmet is quite simple but the journey to get to a safe and useable helmet was quite complex. The basic method has been to use a 3D digital scanner to scan in Tommy Lee’s head shape, the software helps to stitch the head form together so a perfectly accurate model is achieved. Then we used this data in our computer aided design software to draw the head shape. The helmet was styled around this shape, and then the cavity was removed leaving the exact shape for Tommy Lee’s head. This model was sent to a manufacturer to machine the exact shapes from the correct density of expanded polystyrene.

The team who helped Tommy-Lee's horse riding dream come true

The team who helped Tommy-Lee’s horse riding dream come true

“Upon hearing of the project and the likely cost which would have prohibited us from continuing, a very kind gentleman, Mr Gordon Coventry from a charity called Claire’s Project, offered to help fund the cost of the helmet with a generous donation of £2200.”

Gordon Coventry explained why he was moved to donate to this project: “Watching Sophie Christiansen take part in the 2012 Paralympics dressage competition was inspiring. Her face when she claimed gold was pure happiness. There was a similar look on the face of the young boy on the surfboard recently designed by CIC. I was happy to support Cerebra to enable other children to take part in activities and sport they haven’t previously been able to access”.

CIC approached the British Standards Institution (BSI) for a quote for testing the helmet to ensure it meets the same standard that a regular helmet would be subjected to. BSI kindly agreed to fund the entire cost of the testing by way of support to get Tommy Lee horse riding and tested the helmet against the BSI Kitemark™ scheme.

Maureen Sumner Smith, Managing Director UK & Ireland, BSI said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support this really worthwhile cause through our testing services. It’s been very rewarding  to work alongside CIC to help develop this bespoke riding helmet for Tommy and we’re sure that he will now get to enjoy many hours of horse riding from this.”

CIC created six helmets in total. Five of them were sent to the BSI headquarters for testing and the remaining one was finished to a beautiful standard so that, with the exception of its size, it would be indistinguishable from another riding helmet.

The team from CIC delivered the helmet to Tommy-Lee on 25th February and he couldn’t wait to put it into action. Sue Boyce of the Three Greys Riding School, Brighton, where Tommy Lee will be going horse riding said “I am very pleased that Tommy Lee will finally be able to go horse riding with his class mates, which is something he has been looking forward to for almost a year. I am sure he will love it. It is so lovely to hear that so many people have made so much effort to make this happen. We are really looking forward to it.”

Tim Schvetz, Tommy Lee’s teacher at The Cedar Centre in Brighton said, “I am absolutely thrilled that Tommy Lee is finally getting the opportunity to ride as a result of this project. He has been so keen to get on a horse and this is his chance. This will vitalise his independence. We are all so grateful to Ross and the team for their persistent hard work to get the helmet finished”.

You can watch a report on this story which was featured on ITV Wales.

Thank you to Terry Applin for allowing us to use the lovely photos below:

“CleverstiX” – a clever way to bring fun to the dinner table!

CleverstiX

CleverstiX

Dr Ross Head, from The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) recently came across a novel little product at the OT show in the NEC that we wanted to share with you. It might help to bring a little fun to the dinner table!

“CleverstiX are like a pair of chopsticks, but they are joined together at the top, with innovative finger loops to enable them to be used by children. Not only are they a fun way to eat, the scientific benefit is immense. Due to the fact they require the user to open and close (there is no spring involved) the fine motor control used is a great way to train muscles, as well as hand-eye coordination.

They come in really fun colours and the finger loops are adjustable so they will suit many different sizes of user. They are a Korean invention and there are over 5 million Korean children using them. CleverstiX have been praised by the National Handwriting Association and endorsed by the Science Museum as a great way to increase dexterity and fine motor control.

I took them home to test with my children. It just so happened that it was my night to cook and for some reason we decided on Burritos. Not very Korean, I know, but my kids loved the CleverstiX and ate the whole lot! They now make a regular appearance on the table, and are a great way to keep the children entertained whilst eating. They were such a simple concept but the children were able to pick up any and all of the pieces of exploded burrito! They have wide and quite “grippy” tips to hold the food, and worked just as well with noodles and fruit etc.

Have a look at the website for more information: http://www.cleverstix.com/. They are available in lots of places and online with more details on the website”.

-Dr Ross Head, CIC

CIC Test Their Surf Access Vehicle (SAV)

The team test out the Surf Access Vehicle (SAV)

The team test out the Surf Access Vehicle (SAV)

The CIC team recently tested their new surfing products at Poppit Sands in Pembrokeshire.

The team has developed a Tandem Surf Board and a Surf Access Vehicle (SAV) for use by surfers who could not use conventional surfing equipment so easily. In collaboration with Tonic Surf Therapy and Walkin’ on Water Surf School, the CIC team developed the SAV to help transport people from the car park across rugged terrain (sand dunes and rocks) down to the water’s edge to plunge straight into the sea. Once in around 50cm of water it is much easier to transfer onto a surfboard.

The unique design of the SAV was developed with a UWTSD graduate Automotive Designer Ben Hammonds. It features a reclining back so that a surfboard can fit onto the device and to made transfers easier as the surfer can slide straight off the back.

Many thanks to Shon Devey (Tonic Surf Therapy) and Kwame Salam (Walkin’ on Water Surf School) for their help in the development and to Tina Marie Evans for thoroughly testing the equipment!

You can see a video of the team testing out the equipment below:

Our Innovation Centre makes Kai “king of the waves”

Kai taking to the waves

“It was an amazing feeling to see Kai surf past shouting with joy”

Life can often be hard for children with brain conditions and they are unable to join in with the fun that some of their able bodied friends can have. Our Innovation Centre is dedicated to designing and making bespoke products that can enrich a child’s life, giving them new experiences that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. By donating to our Christmas Appeal this year you can help our Innovation Centre bring fun and inclusion to a child’s life.

This year our designers have developed two new products that will help disabled children to experience the thrill of the waves: a tandem surf board with a supportive “bucket” seat that can be used by disabled children whilst being controlled by a trained surf instructor and a Surf Access Vehicle. which enables wheelchair bound children to get to the water’s edge.

Thirteen-year old surf enthusiast Kai Lewis has cerebral palsy following a stroke at the age of one.  He recently helped to test the Innovation Centre’s latest designs.

You can watch a moving film clip of his experience here:

Proud mum Leanne  watched on, thrilled as her extreme-sports-loving son enjoyed the new technology. She said

quotation-mark-openWith this now, he is like the king of the sea, he can sit back, relax, and ride the wave. The first wave he caught was the biggest he has ever caught, and my heart was in my mouth. It was amazing and it opens up so many options, not just for Kai, but for other children with disabilities. Hopefully it’s going to get more quotation-mark-closechildren out of their wheelchairs, and for a parent of a child in a wheelchair the more you can get them out, the better.

 

Please make a donation to our Christmas Appeal today and help put a smile on a child’s face. There are many more disabled children out there for whom the possibilities are endless, with a little help. 

 

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Safety gate success for the Innovation Centre

Cole in the car with his safety gate

Cole in the car with his safety gate

The Cerebra Innovation Centre were recently contacted by Nicola, the mother of four year-old Cole.

Young Cole  suffers from Tuberous Sclerosis – a rare genetic condition that can cause benign tumours to grow all over his body, as well as Epilepsy and Autism. He also has behaviour and communication difficulties.

Cole has a baby sister, 9 month old Myla whom he loves her dearly, but his sensory issues mean that he likes to hear her cry, often meaning that he can get overly excited and lashes out at her.

Mum Nicola told us: “This is bad enough in the house as Myla can at least be kept out of Cole’s way but in the car, even with a harness, he still managed to get to her. I would only take the kids out together to places that were close by  and where I could distract Cole with food. Even then driving was stressful and I often had to pull over to stop him getting to her. It was dangerous because I was constantly worrying about what he was doing and so didn’t have full concentration on the road.”

After trying various different solutions from harnesses to dog guards with little success, Nicola contacted the Cerebra Innovation Centre to see if the team could develop a new solution to keep everyone safe whilst out and about in the car. The team came up with the safety gate.

“The Safety Gate is fantastic! It looks great and even looks like it is part of the car. It has a window and little holes so Myla and Cole can still see each other. Cole loves it – I think it makes him feel secure as he likes small spaces but the best thing is that I can drive without worrying because I know my daughter is safe. We can now go further afield in the car together and it has made everyday life so much easier. I can’t thank the Innovation Centre team enough. It has changed our lives.”

The Cerebra Innovation Centre are always eager to hear from parents with their ideas for new products and that’s where you come in! If you have an idea for a product that you can’t find anywhere else or need a product adapted to meet your child’s needs, then get in touch! You can contact the team at cic@cerebra.org.uk or 01792 483688.