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Dr Ross Head

Dr Ross Head manages the Cerebra Innovation Center, which designs and manufactures bespoke product solutions for children.

ross head

Ross manages the Cerebra Innovation Centre, which designs and manufactures bespoke product solutions for children.

As well as product commercialisation, Ross has instigated various research themes to investigate the usefulness of some of the more successful designs, how they are being used and how they have transformed family life.

Other areas of ongoing research interests are studies into the effective measurement and modelling of body parts in order to develop precision protective equipment.

Tel: +44 (0) 1792 483688
E-mail: ross.head@uwtsd.ac.uk

Full academic profile



Head. R. et al. The Cerebra Innovation Centre- Product design to improve the quality of life for brain-injured children. Proceedings of the 7th International conference: QRM 2010. Coxmoore. ISBN 978-1-901892-34-5. Pp 87-97

Head, R & Heal, R “Express Yourself”, Crossing Boundaries 2007 Hochschule für Gestaltung, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany.

Donne K E, Head R “A quality metric for glass artefact prototypes” 6th International Conference Quality Reliability Maintenance, St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, UK, 2007. Selected for publication in the Dec 2007 issue of International Journal of Quality, Reliability in Engineering (Wiley)

Donne K E, Head R, Bender R “CADCAM Rapid Prototyping Techniques for Glass Product Design & Manufacture”, 8th European Society of Glass Conference, Sunderland, Sep 2006.

Head R, Donne K E, Bender R, Brown RDH (June 2005) Digital Design Methodology for Glass Design & Manufacture 9th International Conference on Architectural & Automotive Glass, Tampere, Finland

PhD Thesis: Digital Design Methodologies for Glass Product Design and Manufacture

Commercialised three CIC products which have been sold internationally.  One product has sold over 3000 units and has also been supplied to Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Dunnes. Royalties have earned the Cerebra and UWTSD £35,000.

Case  Study 1: Surf Access Vehicle  (SAV)

CIC was approached by anorganisation called Tonic Surf Therapy to see if they could help make a form of transportation to enable people to gain access to the beach and surf, which in an ordinary wheelchair, is next to impossible.

The idea is that the user is able to  sit in the SAV in the car park of a beach and the big wheels enable the user  to travel over sand, dunes and rocks, and then plunge straight into the sea where he or she can be transferred onto the surfboard and start surfing.

The SAV was designed and manufactured in the CIC studio and workshops at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, in Swansea. The construction comprises predominantly welded sections of aluminium with stainless steel fixtures.  It took around six weeks to build.

Initial feedback has been amazing. There are products which perform a similar task but none that are as specialist as this. The  designed, as we do with all of our products, is to look cool.   Just because a client has to rely on a wheel chair for mobility does not mean that he or she doesn’t want to look good on the beach!

The surfer is able to sit on the chair and be transferred once in the water, or the seat back can be made to lie down, a surfboard placed on then the surfer can lie down and launch straight from the SAV.

Case Study 2: Tandem Surfboard

CIC recently designed and manufactured a tandem surfboard for wheelchair reliant people. It is twelve feet long, thirty-two inches wide and has a racing car bucket seat attached via an angled bracket.

The idea is that someone can sit in the seat and be paddled into the wave by the instructor, who is then able to stand and guide the board from behind the chair. The surfer gets all the thrills, spills and splashes of the wave from relative security of the supportive seat.

The board was designed and manufactured in collaboration with Surfability UK and Roger Cooper Surfboards.  The board has an EPS core with Epoxy, so is surprisingly light but nice and tough. It has carbon fibre reinforcement in high stress areas.

As can be seen from the video in the link, the board provides an amazing tool to enable people of all abilities to take part in extreme sports. Although the surfer in the video is nonverbal, it was obvious to everyone that he was having so much fun. The young man has previously surfed by lying down on the board, but due to his muscle condition this was very painful and the enjoyment was overshadowed by pain. He was able to surf for an hour using this equipment with no pain. 


Case Study 3: Triathlon Equipment

The CIC team were approached by a very adventurous father of a 10 year old girl with quadriplegic cerebral palsy to ask we could enable them to participate in triathlon races. The answer was YES!

The team is building a racing wheelchair that will be controlled by the father, whilst his daughter sits comfortably inside enjoying the excitement and the thrill of the race. When it comes to cycling, the front wheel may ve removed from the chair and attached to a bracket on the bike so that the team can ride the circuit.  For swimming, a special water craft has been designed. This is a tri-hull craft comprising a sleek middle hull, similar to a kayak, with two smaller outer hulls for stability.

This project has formed collaborations throughout UWTSD and the community. The Wales Institute for Physical Literacy are collaborating to measure fitness throughout the training process. The Institute will also give advice on training plans and diet.  CIC is working with a Naval Architect who will ensure the hydrodynamics of the vessel are optimum, and another company, who are helping with the chair and seating.  This will ensure that posture is controlled through all elements of the activity.


­       Health, Social Care and Well Being Award in the  3rd Sector Awards Cymru 2011

­       Bombay Sapphire 2nd place for Excellence and Innovation in Glass Design 2004

­       Audi Foundation’s award for Progressive Product Design at the New Designers Show, London. 2001

­       Welsh Development Agency Technology Prize 2001

 Freelance Design and commercial research

­       Welsh Cider and Perry Society - Glass for new Perry brand

­       Autoglass - Architectural glass research project

­       Fibre Optic Lamp Company - Crystal lamp illumination system

­       Maria Kim - International Glass artist - Stainless steel/glass sculpture CAD representation

­       Snappy Snaps Photography/Evening Post - Glass trophy

Participated and co-wrote the £150,000 DSA funding bid.

Raised £19,000 of EU funding to develop commercialisation of CIC