Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Material Choices

I have chosen to keep the material choices quite plain and simple for the material outer. I am using fleece for the inner lining and then a cotton linen mix for the outer lining both of which will be neutral colours of white/cream.

The intention is that this is the piece which would be given as standard with the patient but that there would also be a subsidiary option where the patient can buy other covers in different colours and designs. By keeping the materials plain I also wanted to encourage the element of customisability. I made my brace my own and acceptable to me by having friends and family sign and draw on it which is something which I want to encourage other patients to do in whatever way they please whether it is to stitch on additional details or by using fabric paints.

More than just a Product Designer

The one thing I love about being a product designer is the ability to span into other specialism’s so that you can approach your work with a lot more of a multidisciplinary approach.

For example for this project I have covered everything from fashion to medicine and engineering. For me this is the best way to work as you develop a much broader perspective on your work. At the moment I am focusing on developing the material outer for the rigid panels to be put in. I have taken inspiration from corsetry design for this and have been working with a seamstress to develop this further as although I did the prototype myself I have taken it to them for the final to ensure it is a more respectable standard for the final presentation.

Pannel Prototypes

We are closing in fast on the final stages of the project and it is all about the refinement now of the panel shaping. Now that I am using the custom made mannequin it has made the moulding of the panels a lot easier. The final shape is very similar to that which we originally started with but with more refinement.

The structure of the panels is focused around complimenting a females curves and being sympathetic to that. Although a large number of females can be a dress size 8 there body shapes and measurements can be very different. By curving around under the bust and then around the stomach the panel aims to support the back and the curves of a female without limiting or being too constraining. For example existing designs consist of a solid form which provides quite a lot of pressure on the stomach which can make deep breathing difficult and you certainly wouldn’t be able to eat a big meal !!

Mannequin Me !

I have been experiencing a number of problems using the traditional mannequins for moulding the plastic panels. To overcome these issues I combined my work using the 3D body scanner and the CNC machine to manufacture my very own mannequin….of me!

This allows for a lot more accuracy when it comes to the shaping of the panels and also provides a very good visual platform on which to display the final product. By doing this process it also allows me to get a good idea of the forms I am designing for and can be a lot easier to see possible problematic issues when moulding the panels which may not be identified when on a less realistic form or when being worn and physically tested.

By having this mannequin it allows you to physically step back as not only a designer but also a patient. A combination of being able to wear the product as well as see it on another form is ideal. This is because they pick up on different areas of the design and by being able to perceive in on another form allows to see it from societies perspective

I am an Entrepreneur

Last month I was awarded a bursary through Materials KTN to attend an Entrepreneurship conference in London which was held on Monday the 19th of April.

This was a fantastic opportunity for me and a real eye opener as to where to take my project next and possible next steps. Throughout the day there were several presentations from people who work in the patenting office to current entrepreneurs to presentation coaches.

Key points which were highlighted during the conference included the essential aspects of intellectual property rights and financial funding alongside support networks and routes to help you take your product further.