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Cerebra Innovation Centre (CiC)

Creative, inclusive and innovative design solutions

The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) was established in 2005 as a collaboration between UWTSD and the national charity Cerebra. Dr Ross Head (Associate Professor and Design Manager) has led the centre since its inception. Aligned to Cerebra’s national research strategy, CIC’s discovery research encompasses user-experience evaluation and user-centred development of assistive devices and products to help children with neurodevelopmental conditions discover the world around them.

The creative, inclusive and innovative design solutions serve to improve the quality of life for these children and their families. Neurodevelopmental (brain) conditions describe any disorder or disability that affects the brain, including those caused by illness, genetics or traumatic injury. These include (but are not limited to) autism, ADHD, Down’s syndrome, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and developmental delay.

Our research helps children, families and carers

The CIC team responds to requests for assistance from families to investigate and develop potential interventions to support independent living and to improve relative quality of life. Cerebra’s mission is to research and develop solutions that help children whilst concentrating on increasing social inclusion by intelligent user-centred design. The team respond to around 150 requests from parents each year, with requests falling fairly equally into three areas: brand new designs; repeat designs; and advice jobs.

When CIC receive a request from a parent its first job is to research the market to see if there is a product out there that will meet the needs identified. If so CIC advises the parent of this. Where CIC fail to identify a suitable product and the design is within its capabilities CIC will design a bespoke product for the individual child. This is a one-off design and the research team ask families to feedback to us on its suitability. For some one-off designs, CIC makes a small batch of repeat designs for other children. Each repeat design is made to measure for a particular child and again families are asked for feedback. When CIC get overwhelmingly positive feedback it approaches third-party companies to work with it to scale up production.  CIC is a research and innovation team and it does not make and sell our products to the general public. Rather, CIC aims to make the best products available to the general public by getting established manufactures to adapt its designs.

See some examples of our research as recognised by the Welsh Government’s Saint David’s Award for Innovation, Science and Technology, 2019. 

Find out more about CiC’s staff and projects below

Some examples of our research

Associate Professor Ross Head leads a team of product design engineers in the University’s Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) and responds to requests from families to investigate and develop interventions to support independent living and to improve life quality.

The main focus here is on increasing social inclusion by utilising intelligent user-centred design. The products, once designed and manufactured, are given free to families at their point of need.  Where there is proven market demand, CIC also works with partner companies to commercialize products.