Product Design Exploration! By Karina M.

This week, Scarlet continues to be in the “Tool Up” section, but now we are looking into the possible products that could be useful for the pediatric wheelchair as well as the needs that need to be achieved with our design. At the beginning of the week, we all sat down and reviewed the interviews that were collected previously in order to see the common needs that parents, children, and the GoBabyGo team want to have in a pediatric wheelchair. Some of the common themes were durability, flexibility, support for the body (more specifically the neck, back, and legs), the wheel size, and accessibility (will children be will to move easily around places? And can it fit in a small space?). By keeping these needs in mind, we as designers need to make a product that can encompass some of those needs to ensure that the customers will be satisfied with the product. Another thing we thought about was the metrics for the specific needs that we found. For example, durability, we were thinking about getting different wheels and having them travels a certain distance in different terrains. This allows us to weed out the wheels that aren’t durable.

A type of wheel found during our product research
A type of wheel found during our product research

On Thursday, we were given the opportunity to explore different stores around the school, such as Harbor Freight, Hancock Fabric Store, Target, Savers, etc. The first store that we went to was Harbor Freight to see if there was anything useful there. We found all these different kinds of wheels there. Knowing that there is a store close by that has all these kinds of wheels, we can purchase some to see which ones will best suit our wheelchair. Also from seeing all these different wheels, it is easier to compare the designs of the wheels and pick out components from each wheel would make the “best wheels” for the wheelchair.

Two of our members looking at the different kinds of wheels.
Two of our members looking at the different kinds of wheels.

Another store that we visited was was Hancock Fabric Store. While we were there, we looked for items that would give comfort and support for the person sitting on the seat. So, we went the pillow and pillow fluff section of the store and tested out some of the pillow fluff to see if it was comfortable or not.

A member of Scarlet is sitting down on the fluff to see if it is comfortable or not.
A member of Scarlet is sitting down on the fluff to see if it is comfortable or not.

The pillows there was a bit expense, so we decided to go to Target to see if the pillows over there were a bit cheaper. A thing I enjoy ed from this experience was that it allowed me to see that there are similar products in different store and some can be cheaper than the others. I would have thought that the prices would have a 10 to 20 cent difference, however the pillows had five dollar difference (which was very surprising).

After visiting all the stores, we went to an emergency center that was close by to ask if they could possibly give us some advice on attachments or additions to our wheelchair design. However, they told us that we should go to a medical supple store and ask them. If anyone knows of a medical supply store in South Austin, please leave a comment below.

Scarlet enters the emengency center.
Scarlet enters the emengency center.

Next week, Scarlet will be starting our wheelchair design and think about possible materials for it as well. Until the next post!

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