Building social-democratic futures as alternatives in medical device design

social alternatives

Worldwide, we are still significantly dependent on medical institutions and staff, to measure, collect and store data about our own bodies and health status. But through the increasing use of information technologies in the medical field, there are indications showing that medical practice will soon be revolutionized by the process of democratization (Topol, 2012).

As designers we are able to contribute to this situation. But…

• How can we shape this process as designers?
• What freedoms can we address?
• For which forms of freedom can we design?

This workshop approaches these questions by examining the theory and practice of the social and political in design, thus in the field of healthcare. By reflecting and exploring different theories of democracy and design, three different democratic models are used to serve as a basis for experimenting with alternative future scenarios and design varying freedoms for different social questions.

The students are introduced to the field of medical device design (history, design process, specifics, challenges, future scenarios) and guided, how to deal and work with abstract or undefined requirements (like often found in social or medical design projects). Further, the research subject of medical device design, in this workshop, gives students a vivid impression of the problem space of today´s artefacts – a space that inhabits a complex interplay of shifting social roles, powers and relationships to filter, sort and design for.

BA Industrial Design // OTH Regensburg / Workshop held on 9.10.2018 in Regensburg, Germany