Singapore Institute of Technology
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Design and Multi-disciplinarity: Co-creation in Practice

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In 2016, a multi-disciplinary faculty and student team consisting of Design, Engineering and Occupational Therapy disciplines from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) collaborated with METTA Eldercare Centre (METTA) to re-design an arm skate meant for the rehabilitation of the upper limb. The objective of this project is to also increase the efficiency of the set up and removal of the arm skate, address the occupational needs and physiotherapy needs, and enhance the overall motivation level of the post-stroke patients going through the repetitive movements during the rehabilitation exercise at the eldercare centre. To complement the improved physical arm skate, the additional novelty lies in the infusion of a virtual reality (VR) game to the arm-skate device to provide a rewarded, goal-directed task to upper limb rehabilitation via a reaching and scoring game. While the research of arm-skate product development and validation are well-documented, the work relies on an multi-disciplinary approach and puts the user at the centre of the design process.   

In this situation, both non-design faculty and students were also offered the opportunity to learn about design thinking and benefited by sharpening their intellectual awareness by dealing with vague problems, making explicit analyses and comparisons of the paradigms by layering social, community and economic relevance. They have learnt to creatively package and communicate their projects not for grades but with the aim to affect the world-at-large – this arm skate project has enabled them to see their knowledge, skill, and talents at work in a real-life situation. The success of the applied research and education outcomes has paved the way for more conversations between the university and other healthcare operators. Industry players from the hospitality and finance sectors have also approached our design program wanting to better understand the framework used here to co-create innovation.


Journal/Conference/Book title

Applied Degree Education and the Future of Work

Publication date



  • Post-print

Project ID

  • 3021 (R-MOE-E103-C001) Arm Skate Rehab Device for Post-Stroke Exercise

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