Design of a More Inclusive Doll for Long-Term Hospitalized Children

CS/ESPC Team: Charlotte Berg, Zoe Zandbergen, Shaneil Lafayette, with Camilla Eigen-Zucchi (not pictured)

2017-2018: In collaboration with the Coleman School and the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center (CS/ESPC), this student team designed and manufactured dolls that more accurately represent the diagnoses and assistive medical devices of the residents of the CS/ESPC. This project was supported by a grant from Smith’s Design Thinking Initiative.

The team started by researching current dolls, learning about the CS/ESPC residents, and understanding stakeholder needs regarding safety, usability, and appearance. From this research, the team developed nine initial design sketches, selecting three to pursue. Design embodiment included selecting mold and casting materials for new doll heads, implementing physical attributes through 3D scanning/modeling/sculpting, and adapting expired medical devices with secure attachment methods. The team conducted strength, durability, and material testing to verify that their final designs fulfilled their requirements and complied with toy safety standards.

The team’s three final prototypes feature new doll heads (representing microcephaly, hydrocephaly, and Down syndrome) attached to existing doll bodies and secured modified medical devices (gastrostomy tube and tracheostomy tube). Other deliverables include doll specifications and a manufacturing plan.