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Student designs laundry label for blind and visually impaired

A Brunel University student has devised a way for the visually impaired and blind to identify their own clothing garments independently, without requiring the continuous help of others. Identify, a labelling device for clothing, has been created by James Hearn to help users choose which clothes to wear and advise them of washing instructions for different garments.
Identify is easy to use, consisting of a device which creates a label describing the colour and washing instructions for a piece of clothing. Users make each individual label by choosing the relevant symbols to emboss a tag, which they then attach to each garment to help them clearly identify what colour it is and how they wash it.

22 year-old James, from Reading, who is currently in the final year of his BA in Industrial Design and Technology degree at Brunel University comments: “I came up with the idea after a conversation with a blind relative who is trying to live as independently as possible. She finds it frustrating to wash her clothes, as it's hard to tell which piece of clothing is which - she doesn't have any form of reference for them, so washing clothes is a bit like a lottery, which she very often loses. She tries to remember each one through memory, but this can often mean that she puts clothes on the wrong washing cycle and damages them. This is why I designed Identify - so that she wouldn't have to ask for help every time she puts a wash on.“

Speaking about Identify, James' cousin, Michelle Dutton, says: “It's easy to take eyesight for granted - it's only when you lose it that you realise how dependant you are on your eyes in order to carry out the most menial of tasks, like the laundry. James' design would give back an element of independence whilst making doing the laundry a whole lot easier.“

“The final year Design project at Brunel University is selected by the students and is often focused on solving a very real social problem, identified through personal experience. James' design is aimed at making an everyday task easier for the blind and visually impaired,“ explains Paul Turnock, Design Director, School of Engineering and Design at Brunel University. “The best designs are often the ones that address the most basic of problems. They seem deceptively simple, but there's a lot of thought and work which goes into making them easy to use and easy to put into practice, just like James' design.“

“James is showcasing his design at the upcoming MADE IN BRUNEL exhibition, alongside other Design and Engineering final year students' projects. We're hoping that, like so many of the previous years' ideas, his device will attract interest not just from the public, but also from a commercial sponsor.“