Our team recently received a wonderful donation of a book about the anatomy of the hand. Inside was a contructable hand kit. One class we put it together and found it quite helpful. With our new helping hand we’ve been able to place our prototype on it and see how exactly the bones of the hands move in response. A couple problems arose, the first being the fact that the measurement of Lily’s somewhat small hands is definitely not the average size of a women’s hand. The bones often stuck out or didn’t cover the whole finger. Also the paper plastic of out first prototype was a little bit too flimsy.
Currently we now have two-ish prototypes in the works. One is of the popsicle sticks and paper plastic material but the second one (in the picture to the right) is made of hard plastic that looks like a grid.
We were able to make them into cylinders to slide on the the fingers. They were long enough so that they extended past the finger nails. After hitting the tips of our fingers on the table we realized that the hard plastic prevented the jamming of our fingers. We picked the grid like material for the sole purpose of how hard and sturdy it was, however this had major cons like the fact that we couldn’t bend our fingers at all. It was highly uncomfortable and not flexible or strechy what so ever.
Our next move is to incorporate flexibility, comfortability and fitting to the direct anatomy of the hand.
After talking to Grit and Bullet from the Texas Roller Girls, we knew sleekness and the ability to bend the fingers was a must. After asked specifically about their fingers and hands they replied by telling us, “The thing with finger protection… it needs to be flexible so you can pull your hands in.” When they say “pull your hands in,” they mean when someone falls. When roller derby payers fall they are taught to fall small, with fists for the main purpose of no one rolling over or smashing their fingers. It was suggested for our product to be one piece so maybe it could connect with the wrist guard. Our main focus will be to able the player to bend their finger while having stability at the same time.
I believe our progress is on the right track but could be a little more focused. It’s a good start to have sturdy material but we still need to use that sturdy material in a way that allows the fingers to bend. The roller derby players we asked mostly said they couldn’t really imagine wearing something on their fingers. This creates not only a challenge to make our product but also marketing it. For someone to put something where there was originally nothing because of the inconvenience makes it harder for them to want or try to put something there. We know roller derby players are tough so they might not think they need finger protection but if we incorporate qualities like flexibility, comfortability and sleekness maybe they could warm up to it. It’s a good thought to maybe market our product to more of a beginners, and lower level skilled roller derby players who might have trouble with keeping their falls small and pulling their hands in. It’s going to be challenge to make finger protection for two hands, ten fingers which have to connect, protect and infect roller derby throughout the world… or city but I’m sure we’ll get there.
Maggie, I’m really impressed with your blog post! Even though you mentioned that Grit and Bullet couldn’t see themselves wearing finger protection, you still managed to convince me of the immense importance of this product. It seems like you and the rest of your group has made a lot of progress on your prototype and are only continuing in the right direction!
I love how your prototype was initially focused on protection, which is the most important aspect of any preventative product, and once your prototype accomplished protection, you moved on to the other customer needs to make the product more usable and appealing. That is a great way to approach prototyping and I can tell you guys are going to end up with an amazing product. Also, I love your tags!!
– Ally Wait