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Provision for improved lifestyles via Access to Consumer pacKAGEs

Objective

The PACKAGE project is concerned with consumer packaging, typically used by supermarkets for the sale of food, drink and detergents. The project will improve the lifestyles of three categories of disabled users, namely%l(i) people with impaired hand function who urgently need a device to open packages;%l(ii) people with impaired vision who need to be able to distinguish packages with different contents;%l(iii) people with special dietary needs, who require warnings of unsuitable ingredients in food packages. The first part of the project is concerned with a demonstration of the "design-for-all" principle, and will develop improved package tops that are easier to open than those currently available. In its second part, the project will take advantage of the enormous potential for extending the use of package bar codes to include point-of-use as well as point-of-sale. The consortium will demonstrate that people with disabilities and older persons can benefit from this technology through the introduction of a new product named HELPING HAND, and a new European database of manufacturers, products and packaging, named ED-MaPP.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
The consortium will undertake a comprehensive user requirements analysis, to quantify the difficulties which people with disabilities and older persons encounter with consumer packaging. It will work with an independent packaging consultant to initiate opportunities to introduce low-tech solutions for opening packages, based on the "design-for-all" principle. Demonstrations will be provided to show the advantages of introducing modified package tops that could be hexagonal or square shaped, so that they can be opened with low cost opening aids like a "spanner on a nut".
The consortium will further develop
(i) a product named HELPING HAND, with different levels of functionality,
(ii) a European database of manufacturers, products and packaging, named ED-MaPP, which will be available on the WWW at the end of the project and prepared for SMART HOMES of the future. HELPING HAND will be used by European citizens in the home. At its highest level of functionality, it will be able to read the bar code on a consumer package and match this code against ED-MaPP to identify the package and its ingredients. HELPING HAND will open the package, speak its contents and provide a warning of unsuitable ingredients. Its opening facility will be available for packages with screw-tops; its speaking and warning facilities will be extended to include at least 4,000 items of popularly used products. At its lower levels of functionality, HELPING HAND will not include a facility to read a bar code, but it will be able to open packages with minimal user involvement. Modularity will be a key feature in its development. The three versions of HELPING HAND, listed in descending order of functionality, are TELE-HAND, MAGIC-HAND and POWER-HAND. All three versions will be subjected to rigorous user test programmes. The results from PACKAGE will initiate a ripple effect through a well-known European supermarket chain.

MILESTONES
Milestone 1- Results of user requirements analysis (end of month 12);
Milestone 2- Design-for-all principles applied to consumer packaging (end of month 24);
Milestone 3- Technical completion and evaluation of POWER-HAND (end of month 24);
Milestone 4- Technical completion and evaluation of MAGIC-HAND (end of month 27);
Milestone 5- ED-MaPP database on WWW server (end of month 30);
Milestone 6- Technical completion of TELE-HAND (end of month 30);
Milestone 7- Evaluation of TELE-HAND (end of month 35);
Milestone 8- Marketing and product promotion plan (end of month 36, end of the project).

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE
Address
Richmond Street 16
G1 1XQ Glasgow
United Kingdom

Participants (5)

FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT TECHNOLOGIE-BEHINDERTENHILFE DER EVANGELISCHEN STIFTUNG VOLMARSTEIN
Germany
Address
Grundschoetteler Strasse 40
58300 Wetter/ruhr
LANDSBURGH BROS. LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address
83 High Street
DD7 7EA Carnoustie, Angus
LUNDS UNIVERSITET
Sweden
Address
Paradisgatan 5C
221 00 Lund
REHAB ROBOTICS LTD
United Kingdom
Address
Staffordshire University School, College Road
ST4 2XN Stoke-on-trent
STAFFORDSHIRE UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
Address
Beaconside
ST18 0AD Stafford