Module 2 - Object
In 2013 I took part in a tramp for my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh at Mt Holdsworth, New Zealand. Somehow I managed to sprain my ankle on the last day and had to make it out of the bush walking down mountainous terrain with an ankle that was sprained. This was a painful experience, it was hard to put my shoes on as my ankle hurt and the laces put a lot of pressure on the ankle. I decided I wanted to design a type of hiking shoe that would be able to support my ankle and keep it fixed in a straight position with not much room to move. I can see my design looking like a combination of a medical moon boot that has many straps up to the knee and a hiking shoe with a chunky sole.
What does this body support device need to do?
This body support device will be a form of footwear that needs to be suitable for diverse weather conditions that allows for movement on mountainous terrain helping to supporting a sprained ankle. It needs to be comfortable for the injured and easy to put on while being sturdy enough for diverse weather conditions.
Why I chose Concept 3:
After looking over my concepts I realised that concept 1 would not be the best choice because it was to chunky at the top near the upper ankle and did not shape the ankle enough and also the buckle straps would be complicated to make with cardboard because it won’t be able to attach to the boot easily. I also realised that concept 2 had a bit too much movement in the area of the tongue of the shoe because it was extended and I don’t think will increase the support of walking down mountainous terrain, it only helps getting the foot into the boot. The laces also wouldn’t be beneficial as they can easily unhook from the hooks and take a long time to do up when pressed for time. Also the laces would create a pressure on the front of the ankle which probably wouldn’t be appreciated when the ankle is in pain. I chose concept 3 to develop because the support device over the front of the ankle would easily be able to sit on top of the comforting rest of the boot and the use of tabs to attach each side to each other would be beneficial as the injured person would be able to readjust the tabs to reach maximum comfort. The large sole could be created from a ribbed structure for support and be great for mountainous terrain. The front of the boot will have a steel-like cap (although from cardboard) that will protect the toes in this condition. The velcro-like strap across the top of the foot will be helpful to put on this boot as the patient won’t have to move the foot into the shoe but rather slide it down the back of the shoe and into the sole to minimise ankle movement. I will develop this concept so these things are subject to change.
Goals for concept 3:
I need my device to be:
- durable for the mountain
- able to restrict movement
- be easy to put on
After going over my design with a little assistance and feedback I’ve realised that I have tried to merge ideas in my head from things that already exist eg. ankle sprain materials and hiking boots. I’ve decided to change my design so that instead of my device being supportive (obviously I will keep that) but I will make it look supportive with old fashioned mechanisms so that you can visually see the strength of the device and I want to be able to look at my device and say that’s a ankle brace not say that’s a shoe.
My research took a turn and I started looking at old ways with older technologies how ankle sprains were braced and and take ideas from ways the ankle was braced in the past but in a way that will not be a hazard when in the bush tramping. I also looked at other mechanisms in successful device that restricted fast movements. I came across the hydraulic damper (gas strut sort of thing) from in the back of a car door and thought it might be an interesting concept to include. Also, looking at nature for strong concepts are good as many animals and trees have different sorts of strength made naturally.
The side support braces give the impression of a hydraulic damper which gives a flexibility without compromising support. It needs to flex a bit but the hydraulic damper returns it to position best to support the sprain.
In 2017, my first year of study we were given the opportunity to explore a range of design types, this project was my first attempt at Industrial Design. Upon completion I decided Industrial design wasn't for me, but was very beneficial in my learning.