Putting It Down On Paper- Daisy Horr

After a week of interviewing potential clienteles who we, the Comfort4U team, believed would most often use chairs, such as students of various grade levels, teachers, and office employees, we have gathered a great amount of information that has helped us move forward with potential seat/chair designs. After reviewing the responses as a group, we found a strong relationship between back/neck pain and sitting for long hours, as well as a need for movement (fidgety hands or feet) when sitting. We spent this week researching patent designs that sometimes addressed one of these issues-such as back pain, but then disregarded another-comfort or freedom to move. Patents were a very useful way to understand how the design and research process works, as well as a way for our team to brainstorm off ideas of products that worked or could work.

The “Two-position desk chair” design created by Steven Mays is an example of some of the patent prior art we researched from website like Google Patents for our project. We can see that lumbar support was the main focus of this chair, yet this design lacks the ability for the subject to move, an important necessity we found through our own research.

After much research, we are excited to say that team Comfort4U has started working on our 1st proposal memorandum. This memorandum, will include our design proposal for a solution to back and lumbar pain caused by the average school chair, and well as a focus towards more comfort, for an enhanced educational environment for both students and office employees. The memorandum will include an introduction, which consists the team roles, a description of our problem and how we’re solving it, and our mission statement. It will contain project goals and overviews, which basically describes how our problem impacts the quality of human life, the background of this problem, and how we have interpreted our customer interviews. Then a background will be written of existing products and possible insights for our design based on our patent research. Among all of this we will also include our interview question and responses, market statistics and existing products and solutions.

Image shown on “A Comfortable Truth: Well-Planned Classrooms Make a Difference,” the article by Prakash Nair and Randall Fieldin on Edutopia, stressing the importance of comfort.

So far I have been researching more about the necessity of chair comfort, especially for students who spend about 2/3, five days a week, in chairs for our “Market and Value Proposition” to show the value our design can have in a potential product sense. I came across an article on Edutopia, that strongly tied in with the Comfort4U mission statement and gave me great ideas to branch off for when I continue my research. Some of the article’s main points were that in most schools, there is a belief that rigid, synonymous, and basic designs is correlated with efficiency, and that the only justification for this is that,“We’ve always done it that way.” The article encourages redesign and emphasizes comfort, in fact the article provides eight reasons why schools should be more comfortable ( two shown below), with comfort being number one:

Truth #1: Comfort Matters

A considerable body of research about environmental design shows the positive effect comfort can have on learning, human productivity, and creativity. As a result, over the past thirty years, major shifts in workplace, recreational, and home design have occurred. Whether it is Herman Miller’s Aeron Chair, the Club World seating plans on British Airways jets, Panasonic’s massage chairs, or the upgraded bedding installed by nearly every major hotel chain, comfort is the new black. Everywhere except schools.

Truth #2: Some Pain, No Gain

The most basic comfort-related amenity is soft seating, and there’s no longer any justification for the hard chairs on which students have to sit several hours each day. Some large school districts that spend more than $100 million on new school buildings will then nickel-and-dime on student chairs. With seating design, as with much else in life, you get what you pay for; a $50 chair will be no ergonomic bargain.

This article kind of shows us how we can create a domino effect with our chair designs. If we’re able to create these ideal “comfort” chairs, it’s possible that the positive effect comfortability has on students can encourage more studies and focus on redesigning schools to adapt to the changing times and encourage productivity in students. We tend to ignore the drastic effects discomfort has on us, and the toll it can take, but we must remember that we are only human, and we’re allowed to want more for ourselves every once in awhile. You never know, a chair might mean the difference between a struggling student and an academic scholar.

We were wondering how you think a innovated chair could help you improve in schoolwork? We invite you all to read the Edutopia article and tell us how you think you could make the learning experience better!

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