Top design agency spearheads care home research

Award-winning design agency ustwo is spearheading research to help Centaur Robotics better understand the market for personal electric vehicles in care homes.

Through interviews with care home professionals, residents and the residents’ adult children, ustwo will focus on the future role in this sector of the Centaur, the revolutionary vehicle designed and built by Centaur Robotics.

The research is funded by a £50,000 grant awarded to Centaur Robotics by the innovation agency of the British government, Innovate UK, which was impressed with the Centaur’s potential to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

The centaur personal electric vehicle
The Centaur: “A very cool piece of kit.”

Mobility – a basic human need

Nominated by the Fast Company as one of the most important design companies in 2019, ustwo is known for hit games including BAFTA-winning hit Monument Valley as well as its groundbreaking work in digital products and services. ustwo bring in its people-centric view of technology and the ability to champion the user.

“We want to move Centaur Robotics closer to understanding the role of the wheelchair for multiple actors in the care home setting, from the manager to the user to the health care professional,” said ustwo’s Jason DaPonte.

The majority of the research will be validated by interviews with small and medium sized enterprises working in the care home industry.

He added: “We view mobility itself as a basic human need and love the inclusivity inherent in the design, and the independence the Centaur will give to wheelchair users. We’ll be helping Centaur understand the market and the business to business decision making journey for care homes in the UK.”

“A cool piece of kit”

DHES Ltd, a company which evaluates new medical technology, will find and recruit the research participants and help ustwo interpret the findings. A disabled military veteran and an occupational therapist have already been lined up for interview.

“The Centaur is quite different to what is on the market,” said DHES founder Barnaby Poulton. “It’s a very cool piece of kit.”

There is still time to invest in Centaur Robotics. The latest funding round, organised by Crowdcube, has already raised £655,000, which is nearly 10 per cent above the original target. The self-balancing personal electric vehicle will go into production later this year. 

Paul Campbell, chief product officer for Centaur Robotics, said: “At the end of this research we will have a clearer understanding of the core needs and opportunities within this market and we will be able to make an irresistible proposition to care home owners, the adult children of care home residents and the residents themselves.”

Contact between residents in the Centaur and their carers is kept to a minimum as users of the Centaur have the freedom and independence to move around without assistance. The Centaur is also easy to clean, further reducing the chance of disease transmission.

A useful tool for care homes

Mr Campbell added: “This research will also help us modify the Centaur to fit the care home market.” 

Proximity sensors could, for example, tell users if they are closer to someone than they should be, and so improve social distancing. 

“The Centaur frees up staff to work on more pressing roles. It’s a sum of lots of little solutions and that makes it such a useful tool for a care home.”