Who “Kneeds” Knee Protection? – Krysta H. Cindy M. Keira N. Rinda G.

We are The Knee Team and we consist of the biomedical pathway students Krysta, Keira, Cindy and Rinda. Just recently we have finished our preliminary designs for our joint model. After putting in the time for anatomy research and joint modeling we began to conduct customer interviews. Because we didn’t really have access to professional roller derby players, as a group we tried to interview students throughout the school of ARS who have experience playing sports where people are susceptible to knee injuries or commonly use equipment like knee pads. When we were creating our design proposal as a group we wrote a set list of customer interview questions. Two of the questions that we believed gathered that most valuable information was questions 3 and 10. Is the knee a common place for pain during physical activity, if so why? and What are the things that bother you about your current knee protection? These questions overall gave us better insight to what types of activity cause knee pain. With this information we can better design our knee protection device with a biological properties in mind. This information also allows us to understand what parts about knee pads on the market are unsatisfactory so we can create a more suitable design with our customers in mind.

During the next few class periods we began to create a prototype of our joint production device after reviewing our designs from the earlier brainstorming stage. In our first attempts as a group we focused mainly on making sure the prototype stayed together and did not consider the biological aspects of the design. As you can see we use objects from around the classroom such as socks, lace, cotton balls, tape, staples and some sort of clay materials we used in our joint model.

Photo Credit: Cindy M.
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Photo Credit: Cindy M.

As time progressed and we identified what aspects were needed in our design, we began to take into account more biological aspects. Overall we established that our device will include a sleeve like material that’s main purpose is to provide comfort and heat resistance. After our trip to the fabric store we’ve narrowed the materials to be either cotton or some sort of synthetic material that is also absorbent and washes easily. We’ve also decided that our product should allow extension, but restrict some rotation. It needs to be cohesive and stable. After research we’ve found that a major issue in roller derby seems to have stemmed from injuries to the ACL. An ACL injury can be caused by sudden change in direction, stopping suddenly while in movement, landing from a jump incorrectly or direct collision. This injury causes the knee joint to be unstable. Overall when building our prototype we’ve taken into consideration the source and amount of impact as well as how the player lands. 

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Photo credit: Cindy M.
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Photo credit: Cindy M.
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Photo credit: Cindy M.










Throughout this process we have learned that not everything works out the way you plan. Things will definitely not work out 100% of the time and failure helps your innovation and ultimately pushes the group to work harder and find better ideas. Soon after making the prototype of our design both Keira and Krysta began training to use the 3D printers in the maker space and the sewing machine. 3D printing training involved learning that your design on TinkerCAD should be transferred to the .STL file to Cura to the Ultimaker 2. There was a demonstration of the process which allowed us to get a better understanding as to what we will have to look forward to in the weeks ahead. What we’ve also learned so far is that a group we are experimenting with different roles. At the beginning of the semester we decided on the roles, Solver, Shaper, Team Worker and Completer/Finisher. But throughout this design and documentation process we have found that we regularly switch roles depending on our strengths. Sometimes someone will focus heavily on research and someone else will focus more on physical design and construction, and then we’ll switch. So far we seem to be pretty caught up and on top of things and we hope that will will continue to progress throughout this project.


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