Innovative design to help the disabled

Concept home on display ahead of launch

Blackwood 1A concept home featuring the latest gadgets and conveniences was the star attraction at an innovative housing company’s annual meeting ahead of its launch next year.

Blackwood built a walk-through scale version of its highly-accessible house for people with disability or mobility issues to showcase to shareholders attending the event at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

The company is building a reputation for delivering spectacular exhibitions preceding its AGMs. This latest concept demonstrated the various innovative designs and inventions aimed at making everyday life easier for disabled people.

Among them was a washing machine that washes, dries and irons clothes, kitchen appliances and worktops that rise and fall at the touch of a button, and a spoon that doesn’t spill.

Blackwood’s Smart Technology care project will also take centre stage, a state-of-the-art system of connected touch screen 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.

Fanchea Kelly, chief executive at Blackwood, said: “We always strive to create an ‘AGM with a difference’ and we are most definitely doing that this year by taking on such ambitious project, with such tight timescales.

“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.

“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.

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we believe technology can be a powerful catalyst for innovation and design in the independent living sector; the Concept House is central to this.”

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

The replica home will also display the improved aesthetics of the concept house, while bright colours are used on white backgrounds where necessary to help those with visual impairments.

The company is itself headquartered in state of the art, wheelchair-friendly offices in Edinburgh. I works with 29 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities. It has built more 1,600 homes throughout the country.

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