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DURATION

June, 2019 - July, 2019

TEAM

Three design students

ROLES

Product design, graphic design, ergonomic analysis, writing.

SUMMARY

In Diseño II 2019, we designed a product that will allow a user, who practices physiotherapy, to carry out her work more efficiently using a device that does not exist on the market. The steps to follow were those proposed by the iterative method of Design Thinking: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

PREMISE

It was proposed to develop a design in the workplace, contacting a professional and solving an interaction problem between the user and their workplace.

PROBLEM

Gabriela is a physiotherapist who practices RPG and needs a new mechanism that facilitates the use of the inclination plank because she wants to make the most of the little time she spends with her patients and the plank is inconvenient for her to do so.

1
Empathize

USER INTERVIEW

We began by interviewing our user, a physical therapist. She told us that physiotherapy is what she is passionate about because she can solve postural problems from therapy without the need for surgery or the help of any product.

The physiotherapy she performs is called Global Postural Reeducation (Reeducación Postural Global), shortened to the acronym R.P.G. The RPG is a manual therapy that consists of the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of postural alterations of the neuro-musculoskeletal system. It covers two large groups of problems of biomechanical origin: postural alterations and symptomatic (painful) pictures.

Image taken from the RPG Uruguay website.

WORKPLACE

The space where she practices her profession is made up of two rooms, wherein one she performs most of the therapy and the other is an office.

 

She exercises therapy using a stretcher and stretcher arms, benches, wedges, and a tilt table. In addition, she uses a grid where she takes a photo of the patient before starting physiotherapy to record the improvements through a photo. All the equipment was either ordered to be tailored to our user or purchased internationally since there is no national market that can supply her.

2
Define

The way we used to define the problem was: The (user) needs (need) because (insight), where insight, according to Plattner, "is born by processing and synthesizing information and facing the problem to make connections and discover rational patterns."

The problem we chose was to devise a new mechanism for the inclination plank. Currently, there the plank is made of two laminated wooden boards (upholstered with pantazote on the upper one, and felt at the base of the lower one) joined by two hinges. To achieve the inclination, our user uses a wooden board, where she estimates the angle she needs. The objective of this product is to carry out an exercise commonly called "ballerina" (last image).

PROBLEM STATEMENT

Gabriela is a physiotherapist who practices RPG and she needs a new mechanism that facilitates the use of the inclination plank because she wants to make the most of the little time she spends with her patients and the board is inconvenient for her to achieve it; she needs to solve it to help his patients improve their current conditions.

Some limitations to take into consideration for the plank design were:

  • The area where the patient stands should be non-slip, not rigid to the touch, and easy to wash.

  • Where it lays on the floor it must also be non-slip.

  • Must resist 80 kg of compression.

3
Ideate and prototype

MOODBOARD

To start with the ideation step, we chose to investigate different mechanisms that already exist to tilt an object, which is why we generated the following moodboard.

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DESIGN PROCESS

Based on some of the sought-after mechanisms, we began the process of sketching out inclination methods and then moving on to 3D modeling and mockup.

FINAL DESIGN OF INCLINATION PLANK

PLANK ELEMENTS

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View feet.png
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SUPERIOR PLANK

Where the patient stands it's made of pine plywood with a rubber coating to create a comfortable surface, as well as being non-slip and easy to wash.

TILTING MECHANISM

Made of pine plywood, it is responsible for tilting the upper piece. Its shape allows passing from one degree to another.

BASE

The milled base rests on the floor; made of pine plywood with rubber strips underneath to prevent it from slipping.

SPECIFICATIONS

The two wooden planks (both the one covered with rubber and the base) have an internal draft to remove the material and make a lighter product. Regarding the joints, the wooden planks are joined with two hinges and screws, forming a non-permanent union; this allows you to change the substrates in case they break or spoil.

 

The piece that works to fit into the base is attached to the upper plate using a permanent design joint since we wanted the piece not to be seen when the product is not being used.

FUNCTIONAL UNITS

The upper plank has a fretwork allowing easy and quick preparation of the tilting plank. The base plate presents milling where the inclination piece is embedded; in addition, it has fretwork on both sides to facilitate the interaction between the user and the product when storing, transporting, and assembling it for use.

PLANK IN USE

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View feet 2.png

4
Conclusions

IMPACT AND LEARNING

Our users are the main priority when an object is being created and through the Design Thinking process, we were able to see the importance of knowing them, since their opinion during the product creation process was essential.

 

At the beginning of the exercise, we were presented with a challenge to create a product that we didn't have a lot of knowledge about and didn't exist on the market, but we were able to take references from other products for the creation of the plank, in addition to having constant contact with our user.

IN THE FUTURE...

Although we arrived at a product that was as complete as possible, given the short time of the premise, we could not carry out the testing step proposed by Design Thinking, since we could make a 1:1 scale model but not a functional prototype to test. Therefore, in the future, it would be necessary to carry out tests and iterations of the process to verify the functionality of the plank.

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