Concept House has gadgets for disabled residents

An artist's impression of the Concept House. Picture: comp
An artist's impression of the Concept House. Picture: comp
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A WASHING machine that irons, worktops that rise and fall at the touch of a button, and a spoon that doesn’t spill are among a string of new technologies being unveiled in the Capital today as part of a prototype house designed to help people with disabilities.

The Concept House, which has been created with input from people living with disabilities and mobility problems, is to be created in Dundee next year.

A life-size replica walk-through version of the home, built by Edinburgh-based housing and care provider Blackwood, will be on show today at Our Dynamic Earth.

The exhibition will also showcase Blackwood’s Smart Technology care project, which includes a system of connected touchscreen devices which can influence almost everything in the house from the ability to open curtains, to switching on TVs, ordering shopping or planning care and support with family and friends.

Other innovative creations include an oven door that folds inwards, therefore more easily accessible for a wheelchair user, and a bathroom sink and toilet on tracks, which can be moved up and down as required.

The washing machine, created by designer Adrian Cassidy, allows the user to hang clothes inside the drum and stretches the garments while washing them, removing the need for conventional ironing.

Meanwhile, the spoon which does not spill is designed for people with conditions such as cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s, which can cause shaky hands. It has a hollow in it, requiring the user to tip food into their mouths.

Fanchea Kelly, chief executive at Blackwood, said that residents at the firm’s homes had tested all of the innovations.

“Next year we will be launching our highly accessible Concept House in Dundee and we want to demonstrate to as many people as possible what can be achieved through 
modern technology to improve disabled people’s lives, every single day,” she said.

“All of the inventions are tested by residents at Blackwood who give valuable 
feedback on how the designs can be improved, which helps ensure that they are as effective as possible and that there is a constant challenge to evolve and improve.

“This is co-design in practice and we are most interested in the feedback we will get from customers and from fellow professionals.”

The prototype house has also been aesthetically designed, including bright colours used on white backgrounds where necessary to help those with visual impairments.

Ms Kelly added: “Although the real driver behind the concept house is using technology to improve independent living, it is important that it also looks good so people can truly enjoy being in their home.

“For us it must be beautiful and move far from the kind of medical or institutional look that care homes have tended to have in the past.”