It’s All Coming Together- Jennifer M.

The past couple of months have been not only tough but stressful mentally. We’ve been challenged as a team to not only get a deeper insight on the human anatomy but design a device that meets all of the customer needs to protect their joints and prove to be the better design. Not long from now, we’ll begin creating presentations that advertise our product and show that we’ve built a stable effective design through research and prototype testing. Since the previous post, our team has gone through extensive brainstorming and has grown a lot as a team in terms of communication/ distribution of ideas

This is Stephanie (fellow group member) modeling our improved/ work-in progress prototype
This is Stephanie modeling our improved/ work-in progress prototype. Picture taken by Jennifer Molina.

As the building process continues there’s always that constant reminder of “What is this protecting? How is it better than the others?”. Whenever I brainstorm ideas on how to improve our design I bear those questions in mind. Before our current prototype (picture on the left) we had padding in the shape of a circle. This covered a small fraction of the elbow and didn’t really provide the protection the joint needed in order to prevent injuries. We tested our previous prototype and found that there wasn’t enough padding and like our reference product, restricted movements of the arm. We took the feedback and knowledge we gained from interviews and testing with classmates and applied them to our design. What would make our design both comfortable and thick? Will sliding make the blow less effective? These questions were kept in mind as we researched for materials that would best suit our design. We then had to order materials online and start to develop ideas on how the building process was going to go and who was going to do what.

 

Our team made major improvements since the previous design and it can be reflected on the image above. We each had an idea of what we could change based on the feedback we got and ended up changing the design overall. By making two small slits where the elbow joint is, we noticed that it allowed more arm movement. By adding more padding, it makes it a thicker and more comfortable design for the customer.

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These are the materials that arrived a few days ago. The one on the left is Polyester Elastic and the other one is Spandex. Photo taken by Jennifer Molina.

The marketing and research process of the project have really shed some light on some areas that our team was having trouble covering. First we began researching the anatomy of the elbow and actually asking what our design was actually protecting and why. Research showed us that protecting the ligaments and tendons is as important as protecting the actual bones. Their main job is to connect the bones and hold joints in place. Our design protects the annular ligament, medial, and lateral collateral ligament. Rather than having one giant elbow pad, we’ll have small sections of hard plastic on top and on the bottom. This not only allows a wider range of motion but a wider range of protection.

 

While we were making the ad for our product and trying to find ways to effectively advertise our product we learned that we should be thinking about what the customer wants to hear rather than what we think will make us sound good. For example, instead of saying the materials used for our product, we would mention if the product is washable or why it’s better than the others. While we’re making our product we need to think about what the customer wants and what suits their needs best. After all, they are the ones buying it.

Next we’ll be testing our prototype in order to see if it’s comfortable, protective, and all of those wonderful things that prevent injuries. We’re also starting our actual presentation and what we want the panel and customer to know in order to sell our product. In order to do this we’ll have to dig deeper into the customer’s brain through more interviews and testing. We’ll also look into questions like why should I buy this? and what makes it better? Our team has been pretty optimistic about this by sharing ideas and dividing the building and research, which had helped the project come together nicely. These past months have been endless amounts of trials and errors, but like the great Albert Einstein once said “You never fail until you stop trying”.

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