At this moment Human Relief is continuing our work on progressing the ankle brace prototype. We all split the work up, working on different components of the brace. Priscilla is working on the splint for the brace that we are incorporating into our design. Leyla is working on the removal of safety pins due to previous trials of our prototype and experience from puncturing our calves with the safety pins. Yadira is working on the padding in the lower area of the brace (where the calcaneus/heel is located). We hope dividing the work load in this manner will allow for more progress on the ankle brace prototype.
When we began to work on the first trial of our prototype we took in mind one of the most common injuries to the ankle; the ankle sprain. As mentioned in previous blog posts from our team, while an ankle sprain is occurring the ankle joint is receiving immense pressure on the lateral sides. It is commonly known as twisting your ankle. The ankle joint is rotated to the side more than its anatomy allows it to, therefore the ankle’s calcaneal fibular ligament ruptures/tears, in other words an ankle sprain has occurred. Because the objective of our prototype is to prevent this, we decided to restrict the mobility of the ankle to the sides. The thought is: if the ankle joint isn’t allowed to move side to side then the ankle won’t rupture or tear the calcaneal fibular ligament. The way we will do this is by adding a splint to keep the ankle from rotating in such a direction that may cause a possible ankle sprain.
Along with the anatomy we also took into consideration the costumer interviews. We interviewed several athletes and asked them several questions that would put the ideas of our prototype to the test. Many of them reassured the biggest protective component to our device, which is the splint.
Human Relief has been tinkering with materials, officially beginning their prototyping stage, two classes ago. We are using various material such as scraps of felt to stretchy elastic. When we began working on building our prototype we didn’t have the ideal materials to make the ankle device. At first we struggled to connect the pieces of what seemed as an impossible puzzle, since we did have materials such as a plastic toy bed, but that didn’t stop us from beginning to create our prototype. As we continued to work on our prototype we realized all we used to attach the reused sock and the felt was safety pins. 15 safety pins to be exact just to attach the elastic on the ends of our brace. We quickly and painfully, noticed that safety pins were definitely not going to be making the materials list for our final design. All of the members of our team decided we would get certified in sewing. The sewing machine certification will come in handy when connecting all the pieces. Not only will it be handy but it will give a more aesthetically pleasing presentation since it won’t have an obnoxious and overwhelming look, due to all the safety pins and duct tape and it had. At this moment we are not sure if we will be using 3D printing since we’re going for more of a sock feel–fabric and the 3D printing is essentially plastic.
Human Relief will continue to work hard and efficiently so we can keep on track to a successful final product in about a month and a half. The construction of our prototype seems to be going at a considerable rate, and we hope to come across any complications now rather than later.