After a week of extensive background research for our first Memorandum, from stating the problem to be solved, to finding out about existing products and how we as a group could improve them to better suit our own product goals, we are now heading for the creating aspect of our product. This week we have been working on our Deliverable 2, our Design Proposal. Our Design Proposal will consist of a formal report where we will reflect our design component and development process through writing.
Having already completed our first written report, we now understand how to better approach our second major paper by combining what we did well the first time and stating what we as a group need to do better next time. Our group leader, Gabriela Ramos, created an outline to show which components of the paper we could do together as a group and which sections we could do individually or in smaller groups of two. This has allowed us to be much more focused and organized at the start of our design proposal process, something we needed to work on from our experiences at the beginning! We have also continued to share a noodle tools and GoogleDocs because that way of sharing ideas and information proved to be successful for our Memorandum.
With our priorities in order we were able to start off our Design Proposal with a bang! We began our report by focusing on the section in the report titled “Technical Background: Physiological and Biomedical Aspects,” this is basically the area where we figure out the average size of feet, thighs, back, etc of our range of customers, or in other words, the aspect of these features that our product affects. In our case we are researching in depth the average sizes of our customers (Middle School/High School and office working adults), so this means we have to find the average sitting height of age groups ranging from 12 to 18 years of age and around 25 to 40 years of age.
We were able to combine information gathered from multiple research sites, such as University of Rhode Island’s Anthropometric Data (for percentage of body mass for each body part-see image to right) and CDC’s Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults (Gave us average height dimensions of age groups) and come up with an average percentage of body mass contained in that one area. This is relevant to our design concept because now we can focus on certain areas of the body that we know are constantly affected by the seated position the chair puts us in. These body parts include the upper thigh, lumbar area, gluteus maximus, and spine. By finding out the body mass percentage of each of these areas we can figure out how pressure affects these numbers and how we want to alter this pressure to benefit the customer.
Another relevant research site that I found useful came from Chapter 2 of Fundamentals of Biomechanics, where I learned about the Nine Principals of Biomechanics, where all movements of humans can be organized into these nine categories. I think by focusing on three of these principals: balance, range of motion, and optimal projection, we can create an ideal comfort chair! Balance is needed for areas of the body that touch the chair and need the right amount of balance in order to relieve pressure off the gluteus maximus, spine or legs to create less pain in those areas. Range of motion would be ideal to study further into if we wanted to incorporate movement of legs or arms while sitting or even back for when we move forward/backwards in our seats. Finally optimal projection could be studied to see the correct angle at which our chair should be at (either back of chair angle to seat or possibly angle at which the chair is inclined form the ground) to give students and office workers the best angle to be at for their back/spine or even the best angle to be at from their computer screen.
All of these ideas and more will continue to be researched and analyzed as we move further into our Design building, we are very excited to see what will come from all of our hard work and brainstorming!