ELBO - the result of the internship winners at the competition „MedDESIGN Design your internship”

Iga Kurcaba from Gdansk University of Technology and Kuba Stojałowski from Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk. Engineer and the designer. Together for the disabled.

Interdisciplinary workshop „MedDESIGN Together for the disabled – engineers and the designers” was co-organized by: Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Gdansk University of Technology and representative of industry – TERMA company, manufacturer of the rehabilitation devices from Gdansk. Participants of the workshop, devided into twelve project teams containing two representatives of Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk and 2 of Gdansk University of Technology, worked on a randomly selected tasks to develop.

The theme was a solution for people suffering disfunctions of the lower or upper limbs. In addition to having to wade through the difficult process of design, including among others: brief, mind map, SWOT analysis, brainstorming, drafting concepts and choosing the best, students have to find a common language in their team, specify the roles in the group and to realize a common goal.

In order to continue this cooperation, the competition "MedDESIGN, design your probation" was announced, implemented by the TERMA company. The winners of the first prize takes the 3-month, paid internship with the possibility of implementing a prototype of the winning design in the TERMA company. The device ELBO dedicated to elbow and wrist joints rehabilitation was chosen and is being implemented on the market.


Why did you decide to participate MedDESIGN workshop?

Iga: Participation in the MedDESIGN workshop was a possibility of extending knowledge and to confront the knowledge acquired during studies with the expectations of potential employers and broaden my horizons in the broadest sense of aesthetics. It was also a chance to test our skills in the unusual task of design and collaboration in interdisciplinary teams.

Kuba: I was attracted by theme of the workshop, but lectures also, professors from the different universities and rehabilitation industry representative - TERMA. For me it was very encouraging, but I wasn’t not quite sure what to expect.


What were your expectations?

Iga: Above all, I expected new experiences, different view on the design process, interesting tasks and "breaking the ice" which undoubtedly exist between engineers and the designers.

Kuba: I expected a confrontation in teamwork with young engineers, opportunity to test myself in new circumstances and to meet interesting people.


Were you interested in designing related to rehabilitation and medicine themes? Have the workshop changed something in you, your attitude and your interests?

Iga: Yes I was interested because constructing rehabilitation devices is directly connected with chosen direction of my studies – medical engineering. During the workshop I realized how important, except details of construction, i san ergonomy and aesthetics.

Kuba: Frankly, this subject never seemed interesting to me before. The workshop MedDESIGN has changed my point of view. On my field of study - industrial design - we are used to solve various design problems, universal design also. I am not afraid of any task, even with areas seemingly distant to me. This gives you the opportunity to expand your knowledge about the world around together with the specific area you reffer to. It turned out that there is so many important things to do to improve the world and to help the people who need it.

We had a very interesting three-month internship in a TERMA company. Today, I begin to work on the work of BA, which concerns the field of rehabilitation, it is possible that in cooperation with TERMA.


What you liked most at the workshop?

Iga: Possibility to work in an interdisciplinary team, a different view of the design process of the other members and stormy attempts of the team to work out a common solution to the problem.

Kuba: In the framework of my study, we base our designs on the design probles that we set by ourselves or we answer a given thesis. This gives us a lot of possibilities for answers and do not close any of the possible roads to choose. At the MedDESIGN workshop there was an opportunity to confront the task designing. The specific area, a specific technology, a specific problem – and many possible solutions. We created "live", in teams, with corrections and comments from experienced leaders.


Why you decided to participate in the competition? Have you expected that you might win?

Iga: The decision to participate in the contest was a natural continuation of the workshop and the ocasion to test new skills that we have learned. I think everyone was in someway thinking about the winning - we have considered different scenarios, we did not know what the others will propose so we focused on our own project and to finish it at the time, which we had very little.

Kuba: Despite the large differences in the approach to the design, me and Iga finally developed a good team and it was obvious that we have to face the competition. I also found out that the knowledge of ergonomics, I have learned during my studies, is priceless. Complemented each other well, we approached the theme of the competition with passion. At that time have created an interesting project, functional model and a 30-page dossier with sketches, photographs and renderami. We fought literally to the last moment.


Has the internship met your expectations?

Iga: Yes, absolutely, it let us check and verify the knowledge acquired during our studies with reality and real work. I learned how the design process should look like in practice, how to avoid certain mistakes, and those committed by me gave me experience for the future. The internship was also the first form of the work associated with the future profession, which motivated me to improve my skills in the design and prooved that it is not a simple task.


What you have found the most difficult and what satisfied you most?

Iga: The most difficult, after all, was to reach a common solution for both and at the same time it was one of the most interesting parts of the internship. I liked the opportunity to observe the entire proces also, from the design to creation prototype of a device.


How do you rate ELBO? Soon the device will be implemented on the market and will help the patients. Are you satisfied with the result?

Iga: We rate it very positively. The device undoubtedly focused the attention of the patients during the first test at physiotherapists. We hope that the prototype will assure us in the correctness of the chosen solutions and then we will be able to make a final assessment.


What are your non-work interests and hobbies?

Iga: Recently, a composite technology. Together with a group of students under the SimLE program we build a mobile flight symulator. Our subgroup deals with the cockpit. The majority of elements we make on our own, often by trials and errors looking for the optimal solution, thus gaining new skills.

Kuba: Except the design and the Academy, which absorb the majority of my time, I'm building an interactive theatrical props, and now in collaboration with a sculptor from Gdansk we realize a large kinetic sculpture work. I'm also a professional photographer.

First day of the internship at TERMA

ELBO visualization

First ELBO components!