Bridge 2 Partner Design

Written Description:

I learned a lot as a result of the process of this piece, both about Alana and better design practices. Studying Alana and hearing her stories about movement and pain really sparked an interest in creating something to help her. I was inspired by many sources, but most specifically the research done by Herman Miller on active/responsive support and how it is necessary to create something that shifts with the user. I designed a responsive back support system, mainly designed to be used when sitting in bed working on a laptop. It features a flexible S curve shaped back support, the “Embrace,” and neck support. The “Embrace” applies pressure in three points around the body, providing a feeling of comfort in addition to keeping the user close to the structure of the support. When weight is not applied to the seat, the thing strands of metal are loose and wide, but when someone sits on the seat the strands constrict to hug the user. I was inspired by Nike’s HyperAdapt technology that uses technology to automatically tighten someone’s shoe laces. I wanted to allow this system to fold up and be mobile as well, in case Alana was going on a trip or wanted to go work in a friend’s room. Ideally it would be made of light materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum, and the pressure sensitive system would run off a simple rechargeable battery. It was challenging to think about the mechanical or technical sides of this design as I’m not used to dealing with that kind of challenge. I really enjoyed it however, as it was a new concept to design something specifically for one person.

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