Melissa Cameron

Melissa Cameron

Industrial Design and Technology BA

Keep Me Cosy

Keeping older people warm through winter

Every year the cost of winter cold claims 31,000 lives of elderly and other vulnerable people. Many of these deaths are caused by the inability of people to have sufficient access to an effective heating solution. The rise in energy bills and day to day living, are forcing people further into the energy deficit. This is now leaving people having to choose between eating a hot meal and keeping their home warm. In a modern society, how can this kind of living be acceptable?

Insufficient heating has huge consequences on a person’s health; exposure to the cold for two or more hours means that people are twice as likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. Pneumonia and Chronic Pulmonary obstructive disease are the biggest killers in over 65’s and currently costs the NHS £1.36 billion a year.

This project looked at finding a cheaper, more energy efficient solution to providing, the elderly population with a solution for fighting against the winter cold. Keep Me Cosy, is focused around creating a more localised heating solution. The system is powered by induction, to create fast and powerful heating cycles. Three core elements have been adapted; a heated gel pad, slippers and a blanket. All are able to be heated via the induction coil. These heating cycles are now 1 - 2 minutes as opposed to 2 - 3 hours. This creates a more cost and energy effective solution. The devices are localised around the user’s body to ensure their core temperature is kept stable reducing the risk of associated illnesses. The design has a simple interface and control system, to automatically turn on when a drop in room temperature is detected, with a manual mode also available. The design is aimed to help give users more independence in later life, by ensuring they are warm comfortable and connected.

The project was in collaboration with the Dave Granshaw Foundation, helping to develop the project further, and realise insights through focus groups and interviews.