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BSc Product Design

Sam Russell

As a designer who happens to be Deaf, I navigate the world differently. My alternative perspective enriches my outlook, creating personal adaptability and resilience. I now see the unknown as representing possibilities and my curiosity about understanding the lived experiences of others as invaluable to the industry.


273513-258542 - N0928759 - Zahra Achda- 28 April, 2024 1007 PM - Achda_Zahra_Trailshare_Co

My D/deaf friends and I experience a recurring problem: the high prices attached to products tailored for deaf individuals. Additionally, deaf products often seem trapped in a time capsule, aesthetically reminiscent of the 1970/80s. Many suppliers overlook the fact that individuals with disabilities deserve more than just functional tools; they deserve access to technology which not only creates equitable access but aesthetically enhances their daily lives. It is time that we begin to prioritise providing people with disabilities with products/services that acknowledge and celebrate their identities and diversity, addressing specific needs whilst creating products inclusive for all.

JANUS was born out of this necessity. Current Smart Assistants (SA) on the market rely heavily rely on spoken language and audiological input meaning they are inaccessible for many D/deaf people. The JANUS Home Unit retains the features from a conventional SA whilst placing importance on visual interactions through strategic lighting notifications, accommodating diverse inputs such as sign language and facilitating detailed transcription through its integrated screen. The compact satellite unit, designed with portability in mind, functions similarly to its larger counterpart. JANUS can be conveniently moved around the home. A dedicated app offers real-time notifications, transcriptions, and updates to keep users informed.

Seaway Navigation Light

Navigation lights are designed to alert sailors of each other?s presence on the water in night-time or adverse weather conditions. These lights are mandatory whilst on the water, fixed on the masthead to adhere to international maritime law (IMO).

The Seaway is powered using a combination of wind and solar energy, where the battery is continuously topped up via trickle charging, eradicating the need for any wiring. Alongside this, the mounting plate and light are separate, allowing the sailors to quickly detatch the light on the masthead with a singular Allen key, making installation and repair efficient and quick.

All components have been designed to be replaceable and modular, allowing the user to swap out and upgrade parts, without the need to send the entire light away for repair, increasing the lifespan and sustainability of the product.

The light comes with an integrated app, which allows the user to control the lighting, with the sailor having the option to switch the light from a navigation mode (red, green and white) to anchor light mode (360 degree white light).

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