September 14, 2020 Our Stories 0 Comments


When Barrier Free Living first connected with Global Innovation Design student Sophie Horrocks in December 2019, we had no idea what an impact she’d have on the work we do.

At the time, Sophie was finishing up her studies in New York and wanted to “give back” in a useful way before heading back to London.  After reaching out as a volunteer, she signed on to spruce up the lounge at our BFL Apartments program in the Bronx. The lounge, which had been rarely used, turned into a true diamond in the rough after Sophie did her magic. (See images and her interview here.)

We caught up with Sophie, checking in on her progress since she left the States.

Where are you now in your journey?

I’ve just graduated from my MA/MSc in Global Innovation Design at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. I’m currently carving out next steps to establish my career as a designer working towards making our experiences and environments more inclusive.

I believe that design has the power to improve human quality of life. In order to achieve this though, we must recognise the value of empathy-driven, not just evidence-based design.

What was your final masters project?

My final project for my masters is an inclusive design solution to how blind and partially sighted people can navigate the world beyond vision. Sensaura’s wearable design proposes an integrated solution to enable detection, processing and feedback of environmental information needed for navigation. This allows independent, hands-free travel of indoor and outdoor spaces for blind and partially sighted people.

Sensaura (image below) applies inclusive design principles. This not only offers a human-centred design solution to the 2 million people in the U.K. currently living with sight loss but has the potential to transform hands-free navigation for millions of people worldwide beyond this user group.


How did BFL contribute to your incredible journey?

My experience working with Barrier Free Living allowed me to understand just how powerful design can be in creating real change. It showed me that by understanding the diverse range of needs people have, and combining that with functional, but beautiful design – we can start making the world a more inclusive and delightful place.

It was such an inspiring experience that it really pushed me to want to continue working in this space, using design as a tool to promote health and wellbeing for people who can benefit most from it.

I really can’t thank the team at Barrier Free Living enough for all the incredible work they do, as well as the kindness and support they gave me too. I really wish all the team there the best of luck for the future and hope to come and visit again soon when if I’m able to get back across the pond again soon!

Check out Sophie’s work and follow her amazing journey at:

Website: www.sophiehorrocks. com

Instagram: @sophiehorrocksdesign

Email: hello@sophiehorrocks. com

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