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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses

I am a senior industrial design student in Brooklyn, NY and I am very interested in designing for the blind; to improve quality of life and ease of mobility. The most important part of this project is the feedback and information I get from blind people who live and work with a guide dog. There are many questions I would like to ask, which is why I would love to get into contact with someone who is knowledgeable on this subject, and as passionate as I am to work towards a better harness system. If anyone has any information or suggestions on strengths/weaknesses, wants/needs that have to do with working with a guide dog and harness, I would appreciate the information.

I am also looking for someone in the New York City/Brooklyn area who is willing to work with me as I redesign the new harness. I would like to work with a team that dosen't mind me tagging along and asking questions. Provided of course, my presence does not prevent the dog from working properly with the handler.

I would like to learn as much as possible! Thanks!
-Britt

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Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



I too would like a harness suitable for use at the beach. Light weight. Maybe a harness that could stay on whilst guide dog and I are in the water with a handle that is removable. If this were possible, it would improve my life greatly. The leather harness has been ruined at the beach. The harness would need to be used to walk to the beach as well as for use on the beach, so it would need to be sturdy. Thank you in advance for any help.


Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



Swedish harness sounds interesting, where can these be found?


Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



I got the harness from guide dogs for the blind.


Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



dear gilesmt,

Where did you find the Swedish Harness? It sounds amazing. I'd love to get one if I can. Thanks.


Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



I just went for a guide dog. I had a guide dog for a short time 9 years ago and the harness was like the one in the picture you have. I had a surgery and gain sight for a few years so lost my guide dog. Now I went back and the harness is called a Swedish harness. I love the new harness. First it has no medal pieces anywhere, so it is lighter. It is leather around the dog and the upper handle but the arms that go from the handle to the leather harness is plastic but it is reflective white so you now have a harness that reflects at night. The arms also pull off, so you can easily remove the arm so those bus trips when the dog has to sit under the seat, this feature is the best for me, I love it. I can remove the handle piece around the house and not have to put on the whole harness 20 times a day. I think the dog is more comfortable laying around without the arms of the harness on him. I 100% love this new type of harness and if you have not seen it you should look it up or I can try to send you a picture so you can see this one. I do not think you could improve it, it is great.


Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



hi i'm an australian currently living in Tokyo and yes i'm blind and travelling with my seeing eye dog.
Additionally i'm an industrial designer so i know and understand your plight. if there's any way in which i could assist you in this project it would be my pleasure as i too am interested in redesigning our mobility aids and harnesses - the market supply is far too scarce to meet the demand and thus a new product would be great!! cheers


Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



I am hoping that you or your readers can guide me in the right direction. I am a victim of disabling fibromyalgia with intermediate visual disturbances. I am in need of a USED but like new, inexpensive guide dog harness. I am training my newest Service Dog for Mobility Assistance.
Looking forward to a quick reply, and Thanks In Advance.
Fibromom


Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



I think a harness made out of something like a Kevlar substance that could easily be thrown in the wash for cleaning, rather than a leather harness would be great. Leather, no matter how much you take care of it, starts to stink after a few years and can be hard to get smelling nice again.


Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



regarding improvements in guide dog harnes's . we would be interested in designers ideas for improvements, but i really can't think of any useful improvements to the harness . but dialogue is what helps lead to unexpected innovation. maybe a single stem handle would be good? nope cuz one harness should be accessable to both righty & lefty's and mounting it in the center of the harness gives inadequate tactile feedback. and leather may bot be the perfect material for the harness, the material used needs to be flexible enough for the dogs comfort & safety and yet stiff enough to move with the dog's body movements to transmit a nuanced tactile feedback, that is accurate and repetativly reliable. it would be nice if a self mounting self closing model were invented, to save me the task of standing on my head putting on the dog's harness, and i suspect the dog aint ever gonna learn to put that danged thing on for his self.


Re:Designing for the Blind: Guide Dog Harnesses



can you design a harness for going to the beach like made out of webing water proof so the leather hardness would not get wet. from ca carol


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