Getting Hands-On with the Joint Protection Project- Emmaline J.

During the past few weeks the progress done by our team, the Joint Protection Project has been exponential. Recently, we have completed our design proposal and given a ten minute speech as to why our product would be effective for a roller derby player. After receiving some feedback from our classmates and from our teacher, we began to really think deeper about how our first prototype would look. We took a brief trip to Hancock Fabrics to look at all of the materials we would have available to us, and to see what materials would work and which wouldn’t. This field trip was very important to our team because it really enlightened us to all of the possibilities of things we could create with our given supplies. While at the store we saw all different types of materials including outerwear like polyester and spandex, and even quilting products like cotton.

Our team is still set on creating a protection device for the fingers of roller derby players, after I interviewed three girls who have played roller derby before, I can still say confidently that our device will be needed. The demand for a protective device for one’s hand is present, all three girls I interviewed said that their fingers had been rolled over before and one expressed intense concern about the safety of her hands during the game.

After we had reflected on our given materials and looked back at comments on our original design, our group began a preliminary prototype. We began by tracing Ebheni’s hand on a white sheet of papery plastic, and proceeded to cut out the trace, flip it over and copy it again.  We cut off the fingers of the traces and held the two sides of the trace together by taping popsicle sticks in between. The popsicle sticks acted as a splint for your fingers and stabilized the fingers without reducing too much movement. We also added cotton balls to the palm of the hand, the tips of the fingers and the fronts of the fingers to reduce shock and impact hypothetically. When we tried on the device we created, one of Lily’s first complaints was how hot it was on her hand. The plastic was not breathable or adjustable and the popsicle sticks lack mobility.

image (1)
Personal Image, taken of our first prototype
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Personal Image, taken of the inside of the finger of our first prototype

As we continue to improve upon our first prototype we have been learning about how we will build our next design as well. I learned the basic instruction as to how to use the 3D printer in the makerspace, while my other teammates have been learning how to use a sewing machine. We will be using tinkerCAD in our project which will be a fun tool to learn how to use. 

I personally feel like our team is on the right track to success, each one of us is working hard on our individual parts. My only concern right now is how we will create a professional design incorporating the anatomy of the hand. More research is to come and hopefully as I learn to use the 3D printer with confidence, I will feel prepared to create a final product.


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