THE CONCEPTUALIZATION OF  IMAGIC ASSISTIVE BATH DEVICES

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iMagic Technologies is an innovation firm focusing on inventing products that intend to meet existing needs in the market. These market needs are usually catering to humanity in nature and can range from simple, yet unmet everyday needs, such as the difficulties of taking a bath for the elderly, to the need for widespread-use disaster management devices like specialized floating platforms. The best way to get to terms with iMagic Technologies as a firm is through its design ethic or the thought process and innovation that goes into the making of an iMagic Technologies product. A prime example would be our line of walk-in bathtubs, starting with the PlaxiBATH and its sister products; all of which had significant market research conducted to better understand the need for such products, and how they would fare against existing competitors’ market offerings.

Amongst the various demographic complications seen in recent years, the significant demographic shift in population aging stands in prominence. In modern times, the changing social needs of older adults cause them to suffer from difficulties in physical functioning as a natural part of aging. This issue becomes compounded with their need for proper healthcare, where hospital visits become more common and last longer, where healthcare issues stem from health complications that tend to be chronic and long-term in nature. Older adults will naturally be encouraged to spend more time at home, and thus are in dire need of effective home care services as well, provided either by professional agencies or more commonly, fellow family members.

 

In this situation, older adults will be left to tackle basic, every day activities by themselves, despite their physical complications. In the case of ever-increasing physical difficulty, carrying out such activities as bathing or taking a shower becomes increasingly challenging, and even dangerous. For the sake of long-term care, bathing quickly turns into one of the commonplace activities that become increasingly unfeasible to carry out independently. One of the most common places of accidents occurring in the household is the washroom- a combination of wet surfaces and movement difficulties usually results in unfortunate accidents. The washroom is dangerous enough to warrant that the standard convention is for nursing home patients to only receive only a single bath per week to reduce the likelihood of accidents, while some facilities provide at least two a week, and this occurs in professional facilities with trained caregivers, let alone untrained family members.

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This is the current market situation faced by many countries worldwide, and some businesses have caught on to this fact, hence the advent of the ‘walk-in bathtub’, which was a specialized type of bathtub designed to solve this market issue. Unfortunately, this was not the case, as the concept proved better on paper than in reality. The average purchaser of such a product was quick to regret their purchase, stating various complaints, and indeed, this was mostly consistent across the many existing designs, providing a large variety of such products currently available for purchase in the marketplace. In truth, the concept of a walk-in bathtub has genuine potential, but due to design flaws, fails to meet its potential. The danger involving such products is not often considered sufficiently. The common complaint from occupational therapists and home ability specialists, among many other experts, is that these products usually bring more inconveniences and safety risks than one may expect.

 
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PlaxiBATH is the primary design overhaul of the walk-in bathtub concept by iMagic-Technologies, however, keeps these problems in mind and intends to be a disruptive technology, aiming to set the new standard for walk-in bathtubs, rendering existing market offerings obsolete. Besides all the design overhauls brought about by PlaxiBATH’s design, it has another advantage- price. The standard pricing for walk-in bathtubs ranges from USD5,000 on the low-end to USD17,000 on the high-end. By comparison, the PlaxiBATH aims to offer high-end value at a mere USD9,000, owning to the lack of installation costs, making it a far more affordable option.

Furthermore, the PlaxiBATH takes it a step further, seeking to go above and beyond mere adherence to be environmentally friendly; the PlaxiBATH utilizes green technologies and clever design to reduce water usage and wastage. Through the combination of these specialized designed features seeking to overcome the failure of previous attempts at specialized bathtubs, the PlaxiBATH lets these individuals live independently in the comfort of their own homes, without worrying about the need to burden family members to help them with their baths. As an added advantage, its design is transgenerational, keeping in line with gerontechnological design ethics, to ensure a design is usable for both the young and the old. Meaning that while the PlaxiBATH was designed to see to the needs of the old, it would still be completely suitable for anyone younger, not suffering from such physical maladies to use, as per the course.

 
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With all that said, the PlaxiBATH and its sister products will see strong demand by various buyers, firstly, amongst home users—the walk-in bathtub concept’s primary market—who face the problem of independent bathing at home. As an example, many cultures around the world have in one way or another, utilized bathtubs in one form or another in their homes. For instance, much of the West, certain Chinese ethnic sub-groups, and most of Japan have a long-standing history of bathing through soaking inside hot water. While the iconic mental image of a bathtub is decidedly Western in origin, the latter examples are given above often constructed their bathrooms to include a water-trap, essentially a concrete/brick bath, in which the user would soak inside. We often forget that the shower is a relatively new invention, created in the early 1800s, and slowly saw use globally as a consequence of trade, thus the bath was the universal standard for bathing and is still used today alongside the shower. As a direct result, the acceptability of a product like the PlaxiBATH is very high, as many cultures worldwide are already used to the idea of full-body baths as the norm rather than the exception.

Furthermore, there is a strong possibility of tapping into professional healthcare industries that would be able to take advantage of the features of the PlaxiBATH and its sister products. This would namely be healthcare facilities such as private hospitals and nursing homes, which could use our bathtubs as a way to gain a competitive advantage over competitors through superior services rendered in their respective industries. Considering how these facilities currently struggle with bathing their patients/clients regularly, there is an opportunity to utilize several units as mobile, shared bathing units within the center.

 
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When talking about baths, it’s easy to forget how much of a staple it is for every home to have a bathtub, as they would a computer. The issue with the computer allusion is that there are pros and cons to different brands of computers, so the market share of any given product is rather limited. This is not the case with bathtubs, while the situation is not unlike the home computer market at the point of writing, with the advent of the PlaxiBATH and its sister-products, which can be seen as a disruptive technology, these products have the opportunity to monopolize the walk-in bathtub market—or even the entire bathtub market altogether—seeing as there are no competitors out there with products that can match ours. Even if copy-cats emerge, we would have already gained enough publicity and market share during this catch-up period to be well ahead of our competitors.

In addition, to further improve the efficacy of the PlaxiBATH, an ongoing collaboration with Monash University Malaysia’s Gerontechnology Lab is being conducted to quantitatively & qualitatively test the acceptability of the product amongst Malaysian consumers. This research project will also give further insight into any additional design oversights which are prevalent in the product design, allowing iMagic Technologies to make further improvements and adjustments. As such, the PlaxiBATH, upon market entry will have been academically backed by a leading academic institution, and have been tested for product acceptability within the local market. This in turn allows for negotiation with insurance firms to associate our product with reduced insurance premiums.

Lastly, as a proof of concept, despite the PlaxiBATH not yet being a fully developed product, it was entered into the following international invention competitions where it won the following awards, all of which showcase the effectiveness of iMagic-Technologies’ design ethic.

 
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Organizer: 44th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva 2016

Awards:     2 No. Gold Medals (With Commendations)

Organizer: ITEX Malaysia 2016

Awards:    1 No. Gold Medal

                   1 No. Silver Medal

 
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Organizer:   2016 Global Cleantech Innovation Program – UNIDO

Awards:       Semi-Finalist – PlaxiBATH Drawbridge Bathtub Model


Organizer:   2017 Global Cleantech Innovation Program – UNIDO

Awards:        Semi-Finalist – RotoBATH Rotating Bathtub Model


Organizer: ICAN 2021 – Toronto Canada International Invention Competition

Awards:    1 No. Gold Medal – Preliminary Finalist

                   1 No Gold Medal – The Best 10 Invention Designs in 2021

                   1 No. Gold Medal - Top 20 Best Inventions in ICAN 2021


This concludes the main elements involved during the development of the PlaxiBATH; just one of the many innovations by iMagic-Technologies. To ensure that the innovations developed are not just profitable, but also of genuine benefit to users, iMagic Technologies hopes to continue to bring about exciting technological advanced innovations to change the world.