Over last years, childcare products industry (dominated by SMEs) has implemented new technologies into their products and processes to face pressure from low-labour countries. But focus on cost has not given us sustainable protectable advantage so we need to support our sector by focusing on the needs of end-users. Children’s comfort needs and products’ lifespan significantly differ from adults’, presenting also important differences along their development (e.g. growing, body proportions, movements, temperature or wear). However, this industry does not have the appropriate scientific knowledge to understand how to make children’s products better match their needs. Thus, our project is aimed at generating the specific design criteria for enhancing children’s comfort and extending products’ lifespan, taking advantage of ICTs to provide our SME community with a set of innovative and cost-effective tools permitting them to develop and offer high added-value products based on improved comfort and performance. Three major technological developments beyond the state-of-the-art are expected: (R1) a Knowledge-based Design Support Application that will help design teams to introduce enhanced functionalities to products and assure children’s comfort and wellbeing; (R2) a Virtual Functional Performance Test Bed capable of predicting children’s comfort and products’ lifespan according to functional performance properties from virtual prototypes; and (R3) a Web-based Interactive Shopping Adviser that will be accessible via the Internet and at points of sale, that will help customers and retailers to select the products that better match their children’s needs. These tools will help the childcare products SME community to optimize their product development process, to develop premium products and to better convey them to their customers. In addition they will help customers to take better informed decisions and to acquire childcare products improving their quality of life.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeBSG-SME-AG - Research for SME associations/groupings