Manta & Cactacea

PhD Project 2018

Stroke causes significant damage to the brain and affects 15 million people annually worldwide. Symptoms commonly affect one or both limbs on one side of the body, limiting the ability to perform daily activities.

Restraining the movement to the affected side can contribute to evoking an initiation of use of the affected arm and hand even in the chronic stage of the stroke recovery journey

The designs of everyday objects mainly focus on compensating the lost motor abilities rather than contributing to the rehabilitation process


Two design prototypes were developed that can be used with a standard smartphone.

One prototype aims to evoke a decisive design influence and the other one a coercive influence. The packaging of the design encourage a longterm use of the affected hand by including behaviour change techniques.

The four participants with stroke used the affected hand to pick up and hold the smartphone prototypes, however, the intended use was not always clear.

The two design prototypes evoked an initiation of use of the affected arm and hand but need further refinement. The coercive design influence was not recognised as such – Participants tried to hold onto the cactus-shaped design rather than avoiding it. The prototypes need to support a grip position of the hand on the sides of the smartphone.

Designer and PhD thesis: Mailin Lemke

Supervisors: Edgar Rodriguez and Brian Robinson