During these past two weeks the Guppies Group Inc. experienced an innovation block. However, it wasn’t due to a lack of inspiration or motivation but it seemed like each member had a different idea on what the final invention would entail. While one person thought the device would just include an upper arm wrap with neoprene and vinyl, another person thought that we would be designing a whole-arm product with mesh in the elbow crease to link the upper and lower arm together, equipped with a waist band to help the child stay afloat. Whew! See how the comparison between the first and second person were drastically different? Imagine the Guppies’ surprise when each team member was asked to share what they thought the final design was.
This lead to a heart to heart (fin to fin?) talk about what the final product should entail, so we all thought about our goal from the beginning of the year. We remembered that we want to design a product that is less bulky and uncomfortable (like most of the arm flotation devices used today) and easy for kids to wear so they can develop maximum adaptability to any aquatic environment…within reason of course. In the end, we concluded that we would be designing an arm band that fits to a person’s bicep length and circumference wise. We decided to get rid of the mesh band connecting the upper and lower arm together because it was aesthetically unattractive so kids wouldn’t jump up and down to wear a device that makes them look like a pirate/fish hybrid, and we remembered that we wanted to make a product that would be easily adjustable for the ones wearing it. If we were to keep all the excess materials and designs, it would go against our mission statement and goal.
Once this talk was over, we were able to order products for our first ever prototype! How exciting! We ordered vinyl, neoprene, and snaps. The neoprene (soft waterproof material) would coat the inside layer of vinyl (plastic waterproof fabric). Don’t know what this weird “neoprene” fabric is? Read about it here! So the order of layers would be: neoprene, vinyl, neoprene. The snaps would close the floaties together so they can fit on the wearer, there are different snap “adjustments” so the wearer will be able to fit the floatie on their arm on their own terms. We only ordered a small amount of items because we are still in the early stage of our design process and so we wanted to see what could we do with what we have before ordering any more materials.
So comes the waiting, which was easier this week than last since we were on Thanksgiving break. Once we get back into our classroom environment and (hopefully) see the materials that we ordered, we will be able to start physically putting our prototype together and make any adjustments needed.
Besides talking about what our final design would be and ordering materials, each person in the Guppies group has set out to complete tasks based on their pathway. Toni and Chloe are the engineering gals so they have been using various softwares to put a computerized picture to our design. Trinh and Angelic, the biomedical gals, are still researching various ways on how product could affect the cardiovascular and circulatory systems. There is never a limit to how much research an inventor could do! This website had really cool and easy to understand facts on the circulatory system.
As the class becomes more self-guided, the students must use their time as effectively as possible, Guppies Group Inc. will be working hard on putting their product together. This is the really fun part for them! So as the break comes to an end, the Guppies are super pumped to start doing some hands-on prototyping!