Building a portable cookie dispenser to reward good behaviour
Physically impaired people are often quite dependent on their service dogs. The dog is the main help around the house and for this he needs to be rewarded. However, it’s not always possible and easy to do this by the owner. To create a strong bond between physically impaired people and their service dog, we decide to create a portable cookie dispenser.
This project is about ‘Marieke’ and her service Dog ‘Bolan'. Marieke uses an electric wheel chair as she suffers from a progressive muscle disease (SMA) and her dog Bolan helps her with a lot of different tasks. However the problems she faces is that she cannot reward her service dog when she takes him out. She really wanted a device that can reward her dog when she goes on a walk with him. Raymond and I decided to take it up as a design challenge to help her with the problem.
We started off by first talking to Marieke and writing down all the important points. We later visited her home to get a look into her daily life. When we first met Marieke, we were a bit overwhelmed. We had assumed that she would be very limited in her ability to do daily tasks but our assumptions were challenged as we discovered that she was quite independent. Her house was full of gadgets and other technological aids and she had some very ingenious solutions to her problems. For a long time, she had wanted a device that could help give her dog treats at the push of a button, but her insurance just wouldn’t cover it. We brainstormed with Marieke about the requirements and possible solutions for this problem.
All through the design process, we gave Marieke and FysiekFabriek continuous updates about our developments. When our design was more defined, we presented our idea to multiple stakeholders at Fysiekfabriek. We connected with a couple of service dog trainers, another physically disabled person with a service dog and a nurse who works with service dog. As a final solution, we designed a portable “cookie machine”, a device that dispenses a cookie when Marieke presses a button. The device is specifically made for her needs, so its solves her problem the best. We’re are very close to delivering our actual end product. Hopefully Marieke will use it with great joy and ease.