Product Inspiration - Grandmother
I wanted to uncover the system not just a temporary contextual fix. For narrowing down of solutions, you could design a better stair lift for addressing falls downstairs, however that doesn’t correlate to falls when walking on even ground. Going a layer back, I conducted root cause analysis and found sarcopenia as the cause of improper balance leading to falls in the elderly. Falls occur through improper fast twitch fibers on the muscle in the legs.
from user interview & initial research
• Due to advancements in healthcare, people are living longer than ever before. This, unfortunately, does not directly translate to functionality and maintained independence throughout.
• There are currently few devices aimed at middle aged and older adults in the promotion of resistance training for longevity.
• There is an emerging market of intelligent, trackable resistance devices to be used in the comfort of an individual’s home.
• There is currently a stigma that resistance training is reserved for younger individuals and athletes.
• How do you design a product that counteracts development of sarcopenia that doesn’t risk injury of the user?
You can have cool sketches and in the initial stages and you can argue that there are no bad ideas, however, the concept need to be in service to the primary design goal and link back to the design criteria.
The initial concepts spanned a wide range of ideas, across a bottle neck in identifying feasibility to the project manager (Paul Maynard). Concepts were too vague regarding, mechanism, product competitor research uncovered many different mechanisms, so needed to identify this before continuing with concept development.
Human Centred Mechanism
Designing to focus on eccentric portion of movement – helps fast twitch fibres.
Varying the force through the movement to potentially elicit higher time under tension with lower weight.
Varying the gear ratio of the mechanism over the duration of the set to adjust for muscle fatigue and reduce injury due to compensation and break down of form.
Form & ergonomics & anthropometry exploration
A lot of the form was constrained by ergonomics, foot placement, arm wingspan however comfort and balance were some of the most important aspects of the design.
Thought was given to what the material conveys subconsciously to the user on a visceral level to make sure it is aligned to the story. This product design criteria highlighted the need to try and get round the stigma of intimidating weight training to encourage a different user base so it was designed without super harsh sharp edges and a matte non reflective finish.
User Experience & Form
Balanced – Arranged in good proportion.
Comfort – Harmonious flowing shapes.
Seamless – No apparent gaps or spaces, everything needs to flow.
The product simplified the process of resistance training through clear signifiers and no anti-affordances.