The goal of this project was to redesign an object to make it more 'pleasurable' for the user. We decided to redesign an ankle brace. While functional, was not particularly easy or convenient to use and lacked any sort of redeeming aesthetic features.
In the course of our research, we discovered that almost all respondents wanted a brace which both looked good and was functional. In interviews with rehabilitation medicine practitioners, we found that a significant portion of patients would choose a brace based on its aesthetics, rather than its medical merit. We also found significant difficulties in putting on the brace, as well as poor material choices which decreased its comfort.
We produced a scenario exploring possible uses for our product, and how it could affect an end user.
In exploring alternative fastening systems, we decided to use the BOA system, commonly found in snowboard boots. It uses a series of ratcheting steel cables to quickly and easily tighten a boot, as well as offering a quick release system which allows the user to take off the boot easily.
Numerous aesthetic options were considered with respect to major manufacturer product lines (Nike, Adidas, Underarmor)
Our final product, we added a visual semantic in the form of the top handle to help the user put on the brace. As well, the BOA system replaces the need for confusing straps and also allows the easy removal of the brace. An anti microbial coating and breathable fabrics reduce odor generated by the foot and increase breathability and comfort for the user. Lastly, the overall aesthetic more closely resembles sports equipment, allowing it to blend in with a person's choice of clothing in addition to increasing aesthetic appeal and retaining medical relevance.