If you’re home alone and injure your hand, it’s always tricky applying a plaster or bandage with just the other hand available. However, Gabriele Meldaikyte’s prototype for a one-handed first-aid kit makes this far easier. Each injury is colour-coded according to what it is with a step-by-step treatment guide and kit that can be easily unwrapped and applied using just the one hand.

During her Masters in Design Products at the Royal College of Art (RCA), Meldaikyte had increasingly become interested in ‘one-handedness’. So, as her final-year project she set herself the brief of creating one-handed packaging. “The inspiration for it came from inconvenient existing packaging, which in order to open you need your ‘third hand’ – teeth,” she explains.

Over the last year she carried out research into this ‘one-handedness’ and compiled a research book containing ‘25 stories’. “While observing people in daily life situations where they become one-handed – for example, a mother holding a child and heating milk at the same time – I concluded that one handedness has arisen from multitasking,” says Meldaikyte.

Out of these 25 stories she decided to concentrate on that one that she found the most problematic – the first-aid kit. She thought in particular about the kitchen environment and questioned how someone would efficiently treat an injured hand with just the other hand if the accident occurred while they were preparing or cooking food.

So she created a series of one-handed objects that she colour-coded according to the severity of the injury – burns/scalds are yellow, minor cuts/scratches in orange and bleeding/deep cuts in red. Each treatment is described in steps with pictograms, guiding the user through the process.

Meldaikyte also created special tools for the kit to enable one-handed treatment such as a bandage applicator that enables the user to apply a bandage much faster and also to cut off any excess with integrated blades (replacing scissors). Additionally, a plaster and dressing applicator operates like a stamp.The top protection layer is torn off and the plaster is then stamped onto the cut, with the remaining layer working as a protection for the next plaster.

The home first-aid kit is still a prototype, however, it has received a great deal of interest since Meldaikyte showcased it at the RCA degree show earlier in the summer. Her idea is that first-aid kit framework could be expanded beyond the home and used as, for instance, an educational tool for nurseries and schools.

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