This is an initiative for improving safety by increasing the light efficiency of roadside lights by capitalizing on the sensitivity characteristics of the human eye at night. White light containing significant amounts of short-wavelength components make spaces appear brighter, whilst the use of LED bulbs with a lifetime of 60,000 hours greatly reduces maintenance, offers significant energy savings and high surge protection against lightning.
The jury welcomed this initiative for its safety and resource-efficiency and its validation through user testing, but would like to see the independent verification that would drive for large-scale uptake.
Recognizing how important it is to engage and sensitize young people to the social value of Universal Design, Hiroshima Cosmopolitan University developed a curriculum for UD studies. The lesson structure and content is flexible and adaptable and can be implemented across a range of educational levels.
The jury was impressed with the impact this had on junior high school students who, in the case study, were sensitized to the diversity in product users and learnt to recognize and understand key aspects and qualities of Universal Design.
Through its CSR department, Fuji Xerox has developed a service that combines technological innovation with a sensitive understanding of the physical qualities of important historical documents to produce high-quality facsimiles that are donated to museums, shrines and temples, and can be handled by the public.
The jury praised this initiative as a way of making rare, fragile and irreplaceable documents accessible as an educational and cultural resource, without compromising their preservation, and an innovative approach to universal design.
This combination of a notebook PC for home use with a "Raku Raku community" service targets the active senior demographic. Considerable attention has been paid to user-friendliness, including an easy-type keyboard, a touchable yet non-blur screen that adjusts to match the environment, and an easy-to-understand interface and applications.
The jury described this as a fresh and age-friendly take on the laptop interface and praised the inclusion of a Raku Raku app specifically designed for older users. It also felt that in the longer term there is scope to develop this into a more ‘universal’ product with additional age-friendly features./p>
Voice Code Uni-Voice is a mobile phone-compatible two-dimensional barcode that can record roughly 800 characters of information, including Chinese characters. The bar code can be “read” by a phone camera such as the RakuRaku Phone Basic 3, the Kantan Keitai or a smartphone, and translated into a number of languages. An add-in for Microsoft Word allows for the easy creation and printing of bar codes, making this a low cost solution for many situations.
The jury saw this as a practical way to make written documents accessible to people who would have difficulties or require assistance in reading them, especially if and when such documents are not available in alternative formats.
Digital broadcasting can deliver much useful information along with audio-visual content, but this has led to greater complexity in the interface between remote control and the TV set, and with it problems for many users. Voice operation offers considerable advantages over convention use of the remote control, especially for older and disabled users. Basic operations, plus setting the video recorder and searching for programs, can be performed in a familiar and intuitive way.
The jury was impressed with the rapid rollout of this technology by Panasonic, which is now available in 75 countries, and the recent addition of features that make it especially easy for first time users.
The Mitsubishi Car Multimedia Engineering department,, has gone to great lengths to integrate Universal Design principles in the design of a car navigation system. This has been done by incorporating proven UD elements – font, colors and maps – within a pictogram-driven user interface. The result is a user-friendly navigation system that is easy to use and understand, even for novices, and that makes a low attention demand on the user, thus improving safety.
The jury welcomed the user involvement at the heart of the design process and would hope to soon see a multi-language version.
The jury was conscious of the need for better hearing-assist products, and saw COMUOON as a clever innovation to meet a present need, especially where important information has to be communicated, such as hospitals and other public places.
The Karre series of hospital work-stations is highly customizable and can be used wards, as a medication cart, and in many other healthcare situations. It has a wide range of optional accessories that nurses can be used to customize the carts appropriately. Careful attention has been given to materials, styling other details, to give the Karre a friendly, rather than clinical appearance.
The jury appreciated the focus on marrying patient and staff needs in a single but highly versatile and aesthetically pleasing product.
This is a clever example of the creation of a virtuous circle to enhance employment opportunities for disabled people and encourage the development of inclusive workplaces. By channeling contributions from a private sector that is failing to meet quotas for employing disabled people into training disabled people to meet the job requirements of private sector companies the two organizations involved are generating work opportunities for disabled people. At the same time, by training those people in the accessibility auditing are helping companies transform work environments.
The jury was inspired by the proactive nature of this initiative, and the ability of the organizers to work from the bottom up and the top down to create the conditions for positive change.
Many existing, brick-type paper containers for drinks incorporate an aluminum foil layer to block oxygen, so are often incinerated rather than recycled. To address this problem, the three companies involved have developed a new material combination that replaces aluminum foil with a PET layer and compatible with existing recycling networks.
The jury praised this as an Eco-design innovation with potential to significantly increase the recycling of drinks packaging, but noted that many people still find the majority of brick-type packs difficult to open, leaving considerable scope for future improvements.
“House of Dialogue” is a specially constructed dark living space and where participants can meet, converse and share in social activities. The intention is to improve awareness and deepen understanding of universal design issues by placing people in a situation where the sense they must rely on is considerably restricted.
The jury saw the “House of Dialogue” as a valuable resource for helping people in Japan understand important aspects of Universal Design and felt that there is considerable scope to develop this idea to better reflect the experience of people with low vision as opposed to full blindness.
This product is a wall-mounted remote control unit for multiple air-conditioners installed in large buildings that enables intuitive confirmation of operation from remote locations, combined with human/illumination sensors and temperature sensors to help ensure optimum operation and that air conditioning is turned off when rooms are empty.
The jury praised the combination of ease-of-use and automated functions, making the product both user- and environmentally-friendly. While the product is ideal for larger buildings, the jury saw great potential in a domestic version as a further development.
The Jet Towel is a high-efficiency hand dryer for installation in restrooms in commercial buildings, theme parks, and other situations. Consideration has been given to the needs of children and also to hygiene, contamination and noise control, making it suitable for hospitals, restaurants and similar locations.
The jury thought that the Jet Towel was well and thoughtfully designed, with considerable attention given to diverse users and key issues including noise and cleanliness. Although similar to existing products, this careful attention to detail has delivered a high quality, universal design.
A dual position vacuum cleaner grip handle designed to reduce the physical load on the user during cleaning, with a main grip for basic floor cleaning and a sub-grip for cleaning in higher places. Controls are placed so as to be readily accessible, and the two grip areas are designed to make use easy and less fatiguing for people with lower grip strength.
The jury praised the careful attention to detail to maximizes ease-of-use for a wide range of users, including older and less able people, but would like to see more evidence of user-testing and validation.
Demographic changes are requiring a rethink of the design of jobs and equipment to better match workforce capabilities, in particularly as electrical and digital equipment becomes smaller and more sophisticated. In light of this, Mitsubishi gave careful consideration to the design of its next generation of general-purpose programmable logic controllers.
The jury was impressed by this UD-inspired pro-active response to the decline in the number of experienced engineers and the growing number of new users of factory automation equipment. Subtle but important design features deliver greatly improved visibility and access and help reduce human error without increasing the footprint.
“Sylphy” is a rotating office chair, designed to give an improved fit between the user’s body and the backrest, and provide increased lumbar support while gently surround the user’s body. It features a two-stage “back-curve adjustment mechanism,” to fit individuals of different build. For users of small build, the mechanism can increase the area in direct contact with the lower back by 40%, so providing improved lumbar support.
The jury applauded the extensive user research, including 3D measurements of 100 individuals, and the careful way the results have been used to underpin a clever set of design features to improve posture and reduce lower-back stress – the most prevalent problem with office seating – across a wide range of body shapes.