Category Archives: CIC

Innovation Centre receives royalties

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Pictured: left to right: Daniel Cuthbertson (CIC), James Leckey (CEO Leckey and Firefly), Cerebra Mascot Sir E Bear, Ross Head (CIC/UWTSD), Conor McKernan and the Firefly Team.

The team from the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) recently visited Leckey and Firefly in Belfast to receive a royalty cheque for £23,199.

Some products originally designed by the CIC team are being manufactured and sold by Leckey, who specialise in a variety of positioning equipment for children with special needs.

Royalties are given to Cerebra every time they sell any of the products designed by CIC. These include GoTo seats, Scoot seats, and the supermarket “fixed” GoTo seat.

Ross Head from CIC said:  “We are so proud to be involved with these amazing products. We could never have hoped to have made something so successful when we designed the first prototypes all those years ago. Our collaboration with Leckey and Firefly has been amazing, the guys in Belfast are so kind and accommodating and share our passion to help. It is not about the money for any of us, we all just want to see kids being included into everyday life, but we cannot deny that the money Leckey give us allows us to continue the amazing work that we are blessed to be able to do. The money contributes directly to new and exciting product concepts to help children and also to high level research that will enable us to be more effective in finding solutions for more children. I love my job and am lucky to be surrounded by such a dedicated team.”

Take a look at our CIC pages to see if the team can help your family.

Safety gate success for the Innovation Centre

Cole in the car with his safety gate

Cole in the car with his safety gate

The Cerebra Innovation Centre were recently contacted by Nicola, the mother of four year-old Cole.

Young Cole  suffers from Tuberous Sclerosis – a rare genetic condition that can cause benign tumours to grow all over his body, as well as Epilepsy and Autism. He also has behaviour and communication difficulties.

Cole has a baby sister, 9 month old Myla whom he loves her dearly, but his sensory issues mean that he likes to hear her cry, often meaning that he can get overly excited and lashes out at her.

Mum Nicola told us: “This is bad enough in the house as Myla can at least be kept out of Cole’s way but in the car, even with a harness, he still managed to get to her. I would only take the kids out together to places that were close by  and where I could distract Cole with food. Even then driving was stressful and I often had to pull over to stop him getting to her. It was dangerous because I was constantly worrying about what he was doing and so didn’t have full concentration on the road.”

After trying various different solutions from harnesses to dog guards with little success, Nicola contacted the Cerebra Innovation Centre to see if the team could develop a new solution to keep everyone safe whilst out and about in the car. The team came up with the safety gate.

“The Safety Gate is fantastic! It looks great and even looks like it is part of the car. It has a window and little holes so Myla and Cole can still see each other. Cole loves it – I think it makes him feel secure as he likes small spaces but the best thing is that I can drive without worrying because I know my daughter is safe. We can now go further afield in the car together and it has made everyday life so much easier. I can’t thank the Innovation Centre team enough. It has changed our lives.”

The Cerebra Innovation Centre are always eager to hear from parents with their ideas for new products and that’s where you come in! If you have an idea for a product that you can’t find anywhere else or need a product adapted to meet your child’s needs, then get in touch! You can contact the team at cic@cerebra.org.uk or 01792 483688.

Surfing Success for Cerebra

Kai getting ready to surf

Kai getting ready to surf

Our Innovation Centre have successfully tested two pioneering new surfing products for disabled children at Llangennith beach in west Wales. Over the summer our designers have developed two products: a tandem surf board with a supportive “bucket” seat that can be used by disabled children whilst being controlled by a trained surf instructor and a Surf Access Vehicle. Both products are for use by children with neurological conditions and have been developed with Surfability UK (surfing for disabled children) and Tonic Surf Therapy (based on the evidence of the effectiveness of surf/ocean therapy programmes in the UK and USA). The team tested the new products at Llangennith beach and they were helped by thirteen-year old surf enthusiast Kai Lewis, from Port Talbot, who has cerebral palsy following a stroke at the age of one.

Kai taking to the waves

Kai riding the waves

Proud mum Leanne Lewis watched on, thrilled as her extreme-sports-loving son enjoyed the new technology. She said “with this now, he is like the king of the sea, he can sit back, relax, and ride the wave. The first wave he caught was the biggest he has ever caught, and my heart was in my mouth. It was amazing and it opens up so many options, not just for Kai, but for other children with disabilities. Hopefully it’s going to get more children out of their wheelchairs, and for a parent of a child in a wheelchair the more you can get them out, the better.” Speaking after the testing Dr Ross Head, CIC Product Design Manager, said: “The day went so well. We could not have hoped for better surf conditions, weather, and great team of people with the desire to make this work. It was an amazing feeling to see Kai surf past shouting with joy.”

The Surf Access Vehicle

The Surf Access Vehicle

He continued: “Recent news coverage has detailed professional level surfing and brought it to an international audience. The sport continues to grow at a very fast pace. Many disabled surf charities are in existence around the world but they are all trying to use regular surfing and other beach access equipment to enable disabled children and adults to surf. “Since its inception CIC has made a tremendous difference to the lives of many children with neurological conditions across the UK. The unique strategic vision for CIC means that we are able to respond to individual requests for help and can make small numbers of bespoke products that focus heavily on individual requirements and inclusion into society. Some of the products in the portfolio are now being commercialised in partnership with third-party manufacturers under licensing agreements.”

Kai using the Surf Access Vehicle

Kai using the Surf Access Vehicle

Read more here about how CIC may be able to help your family. We are grateful to the University of Wales Trinity St David, Surfability UK, Roger Cooper Surfboards, Surf Tonic Therapy and Walking on Water Surf School for working with us on this project.

All photographs used with kind permission of Mark Griffiths.

Ross and the team at the Cerebra Innovation Centre are still in the early stages of trying to make these products available to surf clubs across the country and you can help make that a reality! You can donate below, by calling our fundraising department on 01267 244221 or to donate by text, just text SURF15 and the amount you would like to give to 70070. Thank you for any support you are able to give.

I would NOT like to gift aid my donation

I would like to gift aid my donation

Innovation Centre work on new surf products

The surf access vehicle

The surf access vehicle

Surf access vehicle: SAV

One of the new products being pioneered by CIC this summer has been the new Surf Access Vehicle (SAV).

Being developed in conjunction with Surf Tonic, a West Wales based surf school which specialises in surfing for people with various conditions, the SAV is aimed at transporting people from the car park to the water’s edge, and then into the water to aid transferral onto a surfboard. The cool design was created in partnership with a student who did a short internship with CIC called Ben Hammonds. The concept is designed such that a person of any size, any ability and condition, can sit in the seat comfortably and with dignity, be transported across rough and sandy terrain and then plunge into the waves. At this point, the seat can lay flat, allowing the surfer to slide off the SAV and be transferred onto the board.

Surfing is well documented as a great treatment for many conditions. Being outdoors, the fresh air, the sound and the motion of the water all conspire to make us feel great, so the more people who get to experience this fun sport the better. And with the length of coastline we have in the UK we are spoilt for choice!

The SAV is nearly complete after a long summer of development, but we hope that it will be in service during September and due to its superior materials and construction should see many years of use. We look forward to updating you with stories of its success and some photos of the real thing in action!

Tandem seated surfboard

Another surfing product that CIC have been asked to assist with has been a tandem surfboard which has a seat on it. This enormous surfboard can be ridden by two people: an instructor, who will paddle, surf and control the board, and a surfer who will sit in the seat and experience all the fun and motion of the waves.

CIC surfers, Ross and Dan designed and developed the board in collaboration with Ben Clifford from Surfability in Swansea, and Roger Cooper surfboards in Cwmafan, near Port Talbot. The board measures 12 ft long, and 36 inches wide and has an adjustable bucket seat from a racing car. The seat was very kindly made and donated by Jamie McDonald from Techneat Tanks.

The board has been made for Kai,  a local Swansea surfer with Cerebral Palsy, but it is hoped that as many as 50 children will benefit from the board each year and with a life expectancy of 5 years, there will be many hours of great surfing to be done!

Challenge our Innovation Centre!

Innovation centre scoot seat

Innovation Centre’s Scoot seat

Can you challenge our Innovation Centre to design a product for your child?

The Innovation Centre brings together a team of designers to produce unique equipment for disabled children. They can help parents find suitable products or build completely new products which may not already be available.

The team at the Innovation Centre already has an impressive portfolio of products under their belt. Some of their more popular items include the Goto seat and the iPad case. Some more of their products can be viewed in the mini gallery below and on our website.

We recently received a lovely letter from a family who received one of the Innovation Centre’s iPad cases. The case went to nine year old Shaya who had already damaged several iPads because he did not have a case that was suitable for his needs. The Cerebra iPad case, which can be seen below was described as “Shaya proof” by his mum.

“We can’t thank you enough for the improvement to the quality of Shaya’s life.”

The Innovation Centre are always eager to hear from parents with their ideas for new products and that’s where you come in! If you have an idea for a product that you can’t find anywhere else or need a product adapted to meet your child’s needs, then get in touch! You can contact the team at cic@cerebra.org.uk or 01792 483688.

 

Surfboard success for the Innovation Centre!

The surfboard designed by the Innovation Centre

The surfboard designed by the Innovation Centre

The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) recently took on their latest challenge and converted a surfboard so that children with physical disabilities can enjoy the experience of surfing safely.

One such board was sent to the family of young J and their feedback has shown that the surfboard has been a huge success!

The family received the board just before their summer holiday and Mum provided us with some feedback before testing:

“We are all so excited! The board is absolutely amazing, we have all been jumping around the house as we are so thrilled! Fingers crossed this makes him independent and boosts confidence.”

J’s reaction to his new surfboard was definitely a positive one and he told the Innovation that they had sent him “the most coolest board (better than my parents’!).”

According to J’s mum, the surfboard was indeed a success and really made the family’s holiday.

“The surfboard worked wonderfully. Having it with us reallymade our hols.  J independently body boarded at Saunton sands, Croyde, Putsborough and Woolacombe beach! All three of us even caught the same waves!”

The guys at the Cerebra Innovation Centre are currently looking for new challenges. Do you have a need for equipment that isn’t already available on the market or doesn’t quite meet your needs? Maybe you have a completely new idea that you think would benefit your child. Either way, get in touch with the team at cic@cerebra.org.uk or 01792 483688.

Cerebra Innovation Centre produce new writing slope

Writing slope

Writing slope

This is the new prototype writing slope from the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC). It has many innovative features that we believe make it the best writing slope available… anywhere! It has been developed for any children who may need a writing slope to aid their writing, drawing, posture and hand control and also converts effortlessly into a reading stand.

Using magnets and a gas strut we have enabled lots of adjustability without using knobs and mechanisms so it looks beautiful, and the easy-open and soft-close lid removes any finger trapping risks. The reading and writing ledges help to hold papers, exercise books and reading books in place. They are interchangeable by “popping” off and “snapping” on with the magnets recessed into the faces, and they store inside the slope when not used.

One of the really exciting features is the pen holder. It flips up and down depending if you are writing/drawing or reading, and fits Berol pens directly into the block. This clever system enables children with reduced motor skills to remove and replace the pens with more independence and also by removing the pen lids, means the lids cannot be chewed or lost and eradicates the choking risk. This system also makes for easy checking to see if all pens are present at the end of class. The pens can be changed for dry wipe pens to work on the Formica white board finish.

There is also hand hold cut out of the back for easy mobility.

If you would like to find out more about the Cerebra Innovation Centre or how you can get your hands on one of the writing slopes, contact the team at cic@cerebra.org.uk or 01792 483688.

The Cerebra Innovation Centre showcase their new Writing Slope

The Cerebra Innovation Centre Writing Slope

The Cerebra Innovation Centre Writing Slope

Here at the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC), we’ve been very busy lately making lots of exciting new products to help children with additional needs.

One such product is the new prototype writing slope. It has many innovative features that we believe make it the best writing slope available anywhere! It has been developed for any children who may need a writing slope to aid their writing, drawing, posture and hand control and also converts effortlessly into a reading stand.

Using magnets and a gas strut we have enabled lots of adjustability without using knobs and mechanisms so it looks beautiful, and the easy-open and soft-close lid removes any finger trapping risks. The reading and writing ledges help to hold papers, exercise books and reading books in place. They are interchangeable by “popping” off and “snapping” on with the magnets recessed into the faces, and they store inside the slope when not used.

One of the really exciting features is the pen holder. It flips up and down depending if you are writing/drawing or reading, and fits Berol pens directly into the block. This clever system enables children with reduced motor skills to remove and replace the pens with more independence and also by removing the pen lids, means the lids cannot be chewed or lost and eradicates the choking risk. This clever system also makes for easy checking to see if all pens are present at the end of class. The pens can be changed for dry wipe pens to work on the Formica white board finish. There is a hand hold cut out of the back for easy mobility.

The great news is that we have 10 writing slopes that are looking for new owners. All we’re asking for is a small donation of £50 to contribute towards production costs. They cost us almost £200 to make so it is only a small contribution that we are asking for and less than any other writing slope on the market.

If you would like to find out more about the writing slope, or would like to give one a new home then contact us on 01792 483688 or cic@cerebra.org.uk.

The Cerebra Innovation Centre Needs Your Help!

Hatch LogoWe recently wrote about Hatch – a website that allows designers of equipment for children with additional needs the opportunity of bringing some of their products to the wider market, making them more readily available for the children that need them.

The team at the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) have recently joined the site and need your help to bring some of their best creations to life!

Hatch creates a platform for professional product designers to post ideas for items to help solve problems that children with additional needs may be encountering. Products that are submitted then appear on the site for 90 days and during that time, members of the Hatch community can add their comments, suggestions and vote if they want to see the product professionally manufactured. That’s where you come in!

We need as many votes for the Oxy-Gem, BOUNCE!, Cerebra iPad Case and Weighted cap/ hat as possible to see them more widely manufactured.

At the moment, all of these products are created in-house by our CIC team and are produced individually when a parent requests them. If they were to be manufactured by Leckey – the company behind Hatch, they would be available to a larger audience meaning that more children would be able to benefit from such products.

The great news for Cerebra would be that a percentage of the royalties from each product sold would come directly to us, ensuring that our Innovation Centre can continue to design new and exciting things to help children with additional needs.

You can find out more about The Cerebra Innovation Centre on our website or by contacting cic@cerebra.org.uk. For more information about Hatch, please visit their website.

New Website Invites Anyone to Invent Devices for Children With Additional Needs

Hatch LogoA new website called Hatch has been launched to provide a platform between parents of children with additional needs and professional product designers.

Hatch was created in conjunction between Leckey and Firefly who have previously worked with Cerebra to manufacture our GoTo Seat.

The idea of the site is to allow people to submit their ideas for special needs products like the GoTo seat that could be life changing for children around the world.

The platform is quick and easy and allows the public to vote on their favourite submissions. The most popular ideas then go through a review process by a panel of experts including Design Engineers, Therapists and Parents working with Leckey and Firefly.

James Leckey, CEO said, “We’ve learnt from experience that we’re better together. We receive ideas for new products on a daily basis from a wide range of people including therapists, parents and designers.

These ideas show remarkable creativity and skill. Hatch will give us the structure needed to properly review these product ideas, but more importantly find out from the special needs community which of them will change lives.

Hatch is where creativity meets the real life challenges of special needs families. If the right idea comes along – we will try to make it a reality.”

Hatch will make sure that the new products and equipment, most needed by children with special needs will be available for sale as soon as possible.

Claire Smyth, whose 6 year old son Daniel is profoundly disabled, is excited about the arrival of Hatch.

Claire said, “As parents we’re already modifying existing products to suit our own child’s needs, when in fact many other families might also benefit from these adaptions. Finally we have a voice and an opportunity to influence the type of equipment available to our children. I know many parents will be excited by Hatch and will have many life changing ideas that can make a real difference to kids with special needs across the world.”

The Hatch website is online and now accepting registrations and ideas from all over the world.

To get involved or learn more, visit www.hatchthatidea.com