I unfortunately did not document pictures of the high-five switch. I had chosen the highest area of the palm to place the switch. When I sandwiched the conductive fabric, when making contact with the switch the pressure had to be substantial to trigger the switch.
Sara’s Glove First Prototype
Team JUB: Jamie Park, Uriel Zarate and Brodie Legnon
In this prototype we designed a glove for sara with three flex sensors located around her index finger, thumb and wrist to gauge how much movement she had in each respective joint. This first prototype was to help us understand the range of movement Sara had; both micro and major movements. I created a pattern based on her hand measurements and housing to protect the electronics and decided to go with a performance-driven lycra fabric that would be comfortable to wear for the user. We went with a glove design with the intent to measure her hand movements as it was difficult from the video to get an accurate measurement of how much movement she actually had, while her parents and caretaker also seemed unsure of how much movement sara had as well. By quantifying Sara’s movement using LED indicators, our goal was to obtain measurable data we could work with in the next prototype when creating a communication platform for Sara.
Sara’s Glove 1st Proto Feedback
The first proto feedback was a failure. We were disappointed to find out that we didn’t receive the data we were looking for as the instructions were not followed I’m sure because of human factors (ex. sara may have been too tired, unfamiliarity with shooting video). We were not able to see the LED feedback because one, the LED’s were too small and two, they were obscured by the camera and angle. Overall, the biggest learning from this prototype was that the prototype was too complicated for the first round. For the next prototype, it is essential that the prototype is extremely simple to use without the use of an instruction manual.
Sara’s Glove 2nd Proto
In prototype two, we reverted back to the drawing board and chose to simplify our design approach. Rather than dive into the prototype with a solution that gave too much flexibility, our “button” design sought to discover whether Sara could press a button. Also, the strength of this design was that rather than having a range of movement that Sara could “choose” between (which further adds complexity), the concept of a button is simplified to having one unobscure function and one function only. Initially, as seen above, we had played around with conductive ink to create a minimal, flat design. However, when thinking back to our user Sara whose other senses are amplified by CP, we thought in her case having a physically tangible button would create a better memory and interaction use-case scenario for her. Furthermore, to expand on creating an “open-ended” design that could be defined by Sara’s behavior and habits, modularity was a design principle we acted on by assigning one word per button that could be moved around with velcro-backed stickers. Last but not least, we added an intuitive, yet playful, function by debossing the respective words onto each button for our secondary users’ Sara’s mother and Courtney to easily understand, while using bright colors to differentiate each word for Sara. The end result of this was a universally understood design.
The umbrella of design principles we designed around were modularity, customization, simple, intuitive and fun.
Link to Instructable
I chose to document this heat-bonding technique because as an industrial design major, I find sewing extremely intimidating because of the nature of the malleability of fabrics and soft-goods. I really enjoy traditional manufacturing techniques and heat-bonding fabrics reminded me of welding and compression molding manufacturing, which is what excites me. Also, the lightweightness and seamlessness of heat-bonding is enticing. I’d be interested in prototyping more with these adhesive-backed fabrics.
Sara’s Glove 3rd Proto
We were really happy with the positive feedback we received from the second prototype. Sara was able to touch each button easily. For prototype three, we noticed that it is difficult for her to move such a large distance from one button from another, so we shrunk down the scale of the design to a design that encompasses the realm of her finger tips. As I began to build this last prototype, beginning to think about how our device would adapt/live-on the chair became important. I began to implement practical “nice to have” design features into it such as compactness of the wheel chair pad into a module that easily collapse back onto her wheelchair arm when it was not in use and a cable management feature. Lastly, although not developed fully, the design intent was for it to be designed for disassembly so that the piece could be flat-packed, easily assembled by the receiver and so that the soft parts could be removed to be cleaned when dirty. If there was a prototype 4, I think we would think more carefully about more durable materials to build the prototype and adding more button diversity.