Team 2 – Sip Straw

The Need:

A range of drinking aids are available, although many individuals with needs in this area employ their own ingenuity and develop a wide range of individual coping strategies. Some people in the team will have examples and experience of these, as either patient representatives or people living with health conditions that mean they have to use drinking aids.

The aim of this brief is to develop designs for a straw which has some kind of one way valve mechanism which will allow delivery of a pre-determined amount of fluid on each sip (for example 5 cc).  The one-way valve would reduce the effort required to draw fluid up through the straw and it should be able to cope with normal and with thickened fluids, without becoming blocked. Also, in order to meet infection control requirements, it should be dishwasher safe.  Inclusion of a flexibly adjustable section at the delivery end would be desirable, in order to offer greater comfort for the person using the straw.

Resources:

A range of existing drinking aids, devices and systems, card, scalpels, straws, foam, styrene sheets, glues and sweets.

The Process:

The lead health participant made all the designers suck a boiled sweet and then try to drink whilst sucking the sweet. This immediately makes it much harder to sip and swallow drinks. This gave the designers some experiential understanding of the problem faced by the users. The team went on through an ideation process, hacking and co-creating concepts and mock-ups before selecting one concept to prototype more fully.

The Output:

The output is a device that enables the user to take a controlled mouthful of rink even if they cannot sip or suck through a straw.

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