Designing for better health
IMAGINE undergoing extensive medical treatment while learning the skills needed to work in the digital design industry at the same time.
Sunshine Coast company Blue Sky View is making that possible through the Makeway Lab.
Blue Sky View co-director John Waldron said the Makeway Lab was a health and design initiative using creativity, technology and expertise to enable social change.
"The Makeway Lab is a creative learning space equipped to improve the mental and physical health of hospital patients and disadvantaged groups," he said.
For patients, the Makeway Lab aims to use technology such as iPads along with targeted training software to encourage participation, rehabilitation, healing, improved pain management while offering patients the chance to potentially re-skill to understand elements of digital design.
"With the view that we feel alive and valued when we can make and provide things, the Makeway program will improve the hospital experience for patients and motivate their rehabilitation and wellbeing," Mr Waldron said.
Mr Waldron said while the first iteration was for dialysis patients, the Makeway Lab would be programmed for a range of patient groups including oncology patients, children and their families, stroke and rehabilitation patients.
The Makeway Lab initiative has also been recognised by Sunshine Coast Council, which recently awarded Mr Waldron a bursary and position at the annual Creative3 forum held in Brisbane last month.
The forum placed Makeway Lab on the world stage, among some of the world's most inspiring entrepreneurs including Alexandra Keating (former Prime Minister Paul Keating's daughter and DWNLD founder) and former Sass and Bide CEO and Mimco founder David Briskin.
"Since launching the Makeway Lab at the 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing Seminar in February, Blue Sky View has undertaken research, to develop the project, at Sunshine Coast and northern NSW hospitals," he said.
"The demand for this project is evident when considering there were a total of 11,446 people receiving dialysis treatment at the end of 2012 in Australia.
"The life of these people is dependent on being connected to a dialysis machine for close to 800 hours per year, the equivalent of 22 working weeks a year."
The Queensland Government has provided funding to build the first Makeway Lab and a trial program for dialysis patients.
"The University of the Sunshine Coast; Queensland College of the Arts, Griffith University; and Design Action Group are assisting Blue Sky View with the development of the project and the design and fabrication of the prototype mobile facility," Mr Waldron said.
"A team from the University of the Sunshine Coast will research the impact of the program on the participants and hospital staff."
The dialysis program will start early next year.
"For this trial program the Makeway Lab will be a portable facility that can be moved within the hospital," Mr Waldron said.
"We hope that the program will encourage dialysis patients to learn skills and potentially direct them to a career in digital design, a sector which is rapidly expanding.
"The program will be developed in partnership with patients, hospital staff, healthcare and university professional and digital fabrication experts. The activities will be facilitated by creative and digital fabrication experts."
Mr Waldron said he was hopeful the local initiative would be delivered first in the Sunshine Coast region.