Save-A-Joint is has now entered the prototyping phase, creating a possible final idea of protection for the elbow joint. We have been considering the elbow movement, and structure as we create the prototype, and also thinking about materials we are going to use. Throughout time we have learned many new things along the way.
In the process we’ve learned what are good materials we would use for the elbow protection, and materials that aren’t good. In the end, Save-A-Joint agreed that the elbow joint protection should be breathable, comfortable, adjustable, stable, and able to protect the elbow joint. About 2 weeks ago in our biomedical class, the teams went on a field trip to the local fabric store next to our school. I never knew there were so many different types of fabric, velcro, and other things. As Save-A-Joint walked around the store, we took notes and try to determine what materials would be best suitable for our customer needs. At the end of the day Save-A-Joint got together to determine what materials will be best suitable for an elbow pad. Some of the possible materials that can be used will be velcro for adjustability, cushion to make it comfortable, polyester because it is common materials, and stretchable fabric so it can be fitting around the elbow. As in the hard part of the elbow pad for protection we are still figuring it out. But we have to consider the anatomy of the elbow. Flexion and extension of the elbow joint is involved, because it is a hinge joint. That is why Save-A-Joint is considering all the movements the elbow makes, and creating a device that will allow the arm to move freely.
During the prototype making we realized that the hard part of the pad is the most important because, it is the main reason of the elbow pad, to protect the elbow. According to The New England Journal Medicine, skaters that don’t wear protective gear have a risk of sustaining an elbow injury that is 8 times that among skaters who did wear protective elbow gear. In Save-A-Joint prototype we used a stretchy sock as the stretchable fabric and spoons as the hard protection. We tested the spoon durability by tapping our elbow onto the table, the spoons broke. But as we were observing we realized when our elbow hit the table we understood where parts of the elbow needed the most protection, and we had to expand the protection even more. As a team Save-A-Joint worked together efficiently and creatively to have a start of a prototype.
In class we are learning to use either a sewing machine or a 3D printer. Sewing is important because that is how we will put the fabric together and secure it, and the 3D printing can make like an outline or frame of the elbow pad we are trying to make. I chose to learn how to sew because it is a good experience to have and will help a lot in the future throughout the process of this project. With 2 members from our group learning sewing or 3D printing, it will increase our creativity and generate new ideas for our elbow pad.
Overall Save-A-Joint is a good point of the project, and as we get further I see us doing a good job, because we all work well as a team, and take in everyones opinion.
I really liked the title of your blog post because it goes along well with it, by how you explain the process of getting started with the prototype to now. Something I can relate to with you was how the hard part was the padding because it is important to protect the joint. I have the knee joint and we also struggle on getting the padding to stay and actually be positioned in the right place for protection in the anatomy of the knee. I like how you and your team all collaborate to get everything done. Good luck! Keep up the good work. 🙂
– Cindy Mondragon