We have now began to start making our first prototype, with common materials such as a sock, glue, string, elastics, just to get a better idea on what our product will look like, and if what we designed will actually work. It has been an interesting couple of days in class, we have learned a lot about our own product, and even new things that we have to think about now.
We started our prototype with a simple black sock, actually two, the first one we overstretched and wasn’t going to be able to be used because of that, so we got another one. After that we opened two holes, one for the toes, and another for the heel, they are meant to let the foot breath and be comfortable too. Then we added three straps, one big one at the top of the brace, and two in the ankle joint area, which is common in most braces, such as the 325 Ankle Support, which was one of the products we saw in the beginning to use as a reference, we thought the straps will be a good support. Then we added padding in the inside, we were going to use felt, which didn’t work, so we used cotton balls, which seemed to work better. As you can see in the image below, the cotton balls were just on the bottom part of the brace, and it also seem to make the device think, which we want to avoid that, which we will need to take into consideration in our future changes.
When we were in the process of creating our prototype we focused on protectiveness and comfortableness, the top two customer needs. Our product should be able to protect the ankle when playing roller derby, so we focused on how it will protect all the tissues, and at the same time provide support, especially for the bones. The protection device should also be comfortable, so we used products that would provide that, soft materials, such as the sock, elastics, and cotton balls. The device should also allow the joint to do normal movements, such as flexion and rotation, which we also focused on. Because we used a sock, we saw that a material similar to it would work perfectly to allow movement. Apart from that the device should also be comfortable inside a skate, and allow it to move inside the skate, and fit in the skate with socks on also, which is something that we barely noticed and started thinking of. Roller derby skates are most likely to look like the Candi Grl Carlin Sea Foam Quad Skates, the image shown below, which we need to make sure it fits comfortable.
Even though we saw a lot of good things and thoughts come out of our first prototype, we also saw many things that we might need to change, such as how we will put things together and what we need to change just by seeing our first prototype. We know that glue and tying things together with knots will not work in the actual product, so we now know that we have to find another way to attach things to one another. We plan on sewing most of the product together, which now seems like a better idea than ever. 3D printing will most likely be used for the support we planned on putting on the sides, two long thin plastics that are flexible, and support the articulating bones. Our first prototype is based of on our semi-final design, after we make another prototype, hopefully of the actual materials that will be used, so we can see our faults, and fix them, and make the changes necessary to our product.
We can now see a clearer picture of what is in store for us, and how we will succeed, which we are all very confident about.