Collaboration will speed development of healthcare aids

University teams up with product design consultancy

Date posted

21 March 2017


Edinburgh Napier has partnered with i4 Product Design, a Scottish design and engineering consultancy, to streamline the design and delivery of new medical and wellness devices.

The new collaboration is running under the university’s SOLUTION project, which aims to develop new medical devices and assisted living aids conceived by patients and practitioners across Scotland both inside and outside the NHS.

After being established in 2015, the SOLUTION team have already set themselves a challenging workload of active projects with more ideas being evaluated for inclusion each month. Two of these projects are currently being progressed in collaboration with i4’s product design and engineering team.

i4 Product Design was established 13 years ago by its four founding directors who are all themselves graduates of Edinburgh Napier in Product and Industrial Design, and Mechanical Engineering. The directors of i4 have steadily built the consultancy up to a team of 19 and developed strong relationships with some of the UK’s leading consumer electronics and medical device manufacturers.

The two organisations have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in recognition of the strengths and facilities both groups could bring to collaborative development projects; i4 Product Design with the industry experience and the University’s close relationship with the NHS and associated patient groups. 

The collaboration was set into action at the start of 2017 with the placement of Cameron Perrie (23), from Larkhall. Cameron graduated from Edinburgh Napier with a BA Hons in Product Design back in 2015. 

In order to further the projects of the Napier Medical Technologies team, he has taken up residence in the i4 Product Design studio and is responsible for developing rapidly deployable solutions for medical professionals and their patients via physical products - with support from i4’s design and engineering team.

Associate Professor Liz Adamson, the SOLUTION project lead, said: “We are delighted to work with I4 Design. This partnership opens up new opportunities to develop our graduate interns and the project as a whole. We are very much looking forward to a mutually beneficial collaboration.”

Will Titley, a Design Manager within the project and a lecturer at the University’s School of Arts & Creative industries, said: “Part of the remit of the SOLUTION project was to give opportunities for graduates to be part of the creation of a new product development resource that was interdisciplinary in nature and patient-focused. 

“As part of the ongoing development of the team and our projects, we are delighted that we are able to partner with i4 Product Design to place Cameron in such a vibrant, capable and professional environment.”

Cameron said: “I feel very fortunate to be a part of this new collaboration. It all started after graduation when I took the opportunity for a week’s work placement at i4, before taking up the position as a graduate design intern on the university’s SOLUTION project. I kept in touch with the i4 design team throughout my time at Edinburgh Napier which allowed this collaborative project to materialise.”

Brian Combe, Managing Director of Edinburgh-based i4, said: “We feel very strongly that the SOLUTION project is addressing a clear gap within healthcare. Traditional medical device and assisted living manufacturers will automatically overlook challenges facing patients and their carers/practitioners if there is not a sizeable market, both in scale and margin, for a solution.

“This project is providing a ground up approach to product development where we are able to deliver high impact design solutions that have the potential to make real changes in a person’s quality of life. It has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience to date”.

Read more about the SOLUTION project here

The pictures show Brian Combe with Liz Adamson, associate professor in Edinburgh Napier’s School of Health and Social Care, and, left to right; Will Titley, Brian Combe, Cameron Perrie and i4’s Howard Jones.

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