Hunting for Hacks – Gabriela Ramos

As previously mentioned by Daisy and Claudia, Comfort4U is now well in the works of composing our design proposal. Our team split the background research, two for biomedical research, and the other two for materials and engineering research. I was designated to research biomedical influences of sitting for long periods of time, as well as the body parts and systems activated that are activated as well as affected when seated in a chair. Some research that I found included the consequential effects of maintaining seated for long periods of time. This provoked the design idea of including a active component where the chair provides opportunity for active movement. Ms. Miesner one class period showed us a magazine clipping of a backless office bicycle chair. But this led to the question, how do we make it?

This photo taken from Mirror news in the United Kingdom shows the chairs that are implemented in their school systems. And research shows that prolonged sitting is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.


During the workday today, we traveled to three different money conserving stores in hopes to obtain new ideas for materials and design. Before the trip we read an article called “Revolutionizing Medical Tech With Dollar-Store Devices” by Jonathon Keats. This article features a man called Jose Gomez-Marquez who innovates medical technology through the application of cheap easily accessible items. It was interesting to read how he took overlooked objects like legos and candy dispensers, and used them to engineer creative solutions to medical devices. In one contraption he used legos, printer parts, and a syringe to create a more financial efficient version of the 100,000 dollar liquid handler. It’s impressive how he is able to creatively and inexpensively produce life changing technology. Harvard virologist comments,

Daisy had contributed the idea of using springs to be an additional component that addresses fidgeting in chairs.
Daisy had contributed the idea of using springs to be an additional component that addresses fidgeting in chairs.

“The DIY stuff that Jose does forces us to think that you don’t have to do things expensively.” Mr. Marquez enforces creative thinking and affordable innovations that’s applicable to every person.

To apply this for the current Comfort4U project of creating the “ideal chair” we as a team brainstormed 8 possible “dollar-store device” components to possibly incorporate.

  1. Cotton balls: to be used as the padding for the chair seat.
  2. Basket: to be used as a storage components or possibly a mobility tool to help with fidgeting.
  3. Rope: to be used as a netting to absorb our weight and mold to our body
  4. Fabric: specifically temperature neutral, to avoid overheating
  5. Springs: to add a mobility component that allows for distraction free fidgeting
  6. Foam cushions: that are thick enough to provide comfort and moldability to different body types
  7. Foam beads: like bean bag chairs so the cushion changes to different pressure levels of different bodies
  8. Tin tray: for possible storage or active device to aid with fidgeting

All these ideas were formulated using mentioned concerns from our customer interviews as well as our new found knowledge of the medical implications of sitting in chairs. This trip has given our team better foresight on the flexibility of the range of materials we can consider including in our deliverable.


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