The multi-purpose chair frame solution

 

This project was set amongst a team at the Howest Industrial Design Centre in Kortrijk, Belgium. Live clients were assigned to each group. The client selected for the team was a family with a child who possesses ADHD and MND.

 

The aim of the project was to fabricate a new product that would assist the client with every day needs. The needs of the client were interaction between pets and other family members, access to the dining table for eating and the ability to transport and compact the product for travel.

Research

The client required the following apparatus to assist with their needs throughout the home. Each chair was specifically designed to cater a need; relaxing & social interaction, mobility, washing & dining. Two of the existing solutions were removable from their support frames - this inspired the development of a multi-function mobile frame that could adapt the chairs currently in use. 

Relaxing & Social

The two chairs above were good focus points for the project as they could be detached and reattached from their frames. Additional use of velcro strips provided more stability.

Travel, washing & dining

The three solutions above provided further details on the needs of the client. The problems found were poor ergonomic design, cost of maintenance and space consumption in the home.

Conceptual development

The following concepts were produced within the team to help generate potential solutions for further prototyping. The concept had to be mobile, light weight and multi-functional.

Initial Prototyping

Models were produced of the clients chair with frames. This enabled the team to test each solution until destruction.  The Balance was one area that needed to be focused on when designing each frame, as well as how it would be compacted and transported.

Model 1    Extendable leg frame design that could be adjusted in height

Model 2    Chair frame that was curved for aesthetic design and could be positioned upright and in a relaxing state

Model 3    Functional prototype that allowed wooden beams to be adjusted in height. Aluminium rods used to fix legs in height position

Model 4    Designed tested to prove minimal use f legs will not work

Detailed Prototyping

The team were able to source the following 'A' frame design that could be compacted / extended with the press of the red buttons found at the top. The wheels could be detached and reattached. The existing bar featured two red levers that allowed the bar to slide upwards & downwards. Two new Chrome finished steel bars were sourced to begin adjustment and product improvement.

Old bar

New bar

Assembly of second support bar

Once restoring the 'A' frame a second bar was added to the design. The team began to source plastic pipe sections that suited the design of the frame well. MDF sections were fitted both ends to hold the bar within the plastic pipes.

To alternate the height, holes were drilled into the vertical legs of the 'A' frame and each end of the plastic pipe sections. Screws & bolts were used as thread stoppers to lock the bar into place. Removal of the threaded stoppers allowed for the bar to continue to move upwards or downwards.

User testing

The prototype was taken in its development phase to the client to test. All of the clients chairs worked with the 'A' frame, supporting the weight of the client & allowing for ease in height adjustment. The ability to manoeuvre the frame with the use of the wheels was well received.

Final Concept

The final prototype is a fully mobile 'A' frame design that can be maneuvered, compacted & adjusted to suit different chair heights. The following features and benefits are outlined. 

Compact design

The 'A' frame can be compacted with the press of a button. Designed to be lightweight and easy to store when travelling within vehicles.

Two adjustable support bars

The newly assembled bar was recommend for use for the back, as the use of screws & bolts provided a stronger support. The front bar was recommended for use for the front, as this was found to be more easy to adjust height wise with the use of the levers. 

Removable wheels for stable positioning

The 'A' frame can be compacted with the press of a button. Designed to be lightweight and easy to store when travelling within vehicles.

One solution for many needs

This solution adapts the needs of the client with its ability to adjust in height. 3 in 1 solution that performs multiple needs whilst providing comfort and mobility.

Relaxing

Social Interaction

Dining

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D A N    M A R S H A L L    D E S I G N S

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