Material Matters Conference - 2-3 April 2012, London


Profile: Sophie Duport

Dr Sophie Duport studied physiology and neurosciences in Chambery and in Lyon. Leaving the “gastronomie Lyonnaise” for Swiss chocolates, she studied for her PhD in Geneva focusing on the blood-brain barrier. In 1999 against all sensible culinary advises, she moved to the UK to join the team of Professor J. Garthwaite at University College London to study the involvement of nitric oxide in neurodegeneration. In 2004, she moved to clinical research and joined the Research Department at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, Putney, where she is now Head of Research.

Talk: Feather and Toothbrush

Central to the rehabilitation of patients with complex brain injury is the assessment of and ability to measure significant developments in sensory processing. It is crucial in testing threshold states of consciousness to be able to distinguish reflexive movements from purposeful actions.

The tactile qualities of materials have a critical function in the diagnosis of sensory processing impairments, yet tactile stimuli are seldom used in assessment and rehabilitation programmes. Beyond this are implications for designers to improve their understanding and use of tactile qualities and values.

Feather and toothbrush is an exploratory research project that connects  science and design in order to research the role of tactile sensory processing for people with neurological conditions. The presentation will  give a brief overview of the initial stages of the project, which explores ways to sensitively introduce patients to a range of textile materials.