RCA Blog 


DeComputation Project 1: Gravity


Keywords: gravity / wearable device / user experience

In the first group project of the elective course, we focused on the design of wearable devices and used this form to express the influence of the basic element of "gravity" on ourselves. 

As one of the most basic forces, gravity is everywhere and affects us all the time. And it is very easy to be ignored in our daily life. Because like leaves falling or apples falling to the ground, we are all accustomed to the existence and presentation of gravity. But in the eyes of a class of people, gravity is still an insurmountable obstacle.

Based on the stories and experiences around me, I found that the effect of gravity is common in the eyes of normal people, and it is a very serious problem for patients with DHS (Dropped-Head-Syndrome). Dropped Head Syndrome is characterized by severe weakness of the muscles of the back of the neck. This condition is a type of ALS, the muscles of patients with this condition do not have enough strength to make their limbs resist the effects of gravity on them (Image 1). This is why they cannot raise their heads when we encounter such patients (same as the famous scientist Hawking cannot lift and move his limbs).

Although this disease is not common, it still impresses me because I have encountered such patients. And as I learned more about the symptoms, I discovered most of the time, Dropped Head Syndrome is caused by a specific generalized neuromuscular diagnosis. This symptom is often caused by genetic or unknown causes. This means that such patients are often difficult to cure completely. Therefore, after investigating this type of disease, our team decided to design a wearable device based on the gravity factor in DHS, so that we as normal people can feel the accompanying effects of this condition.

In the beginning, we designed a more complex device. This device is envisaged based on the structure of a bicycle helmet and has hooks and weights at the front. We imagine that when people wear this device, as the front weight increases, the weight of the weight will make the head down (Image 2 and 3). But after receiving feedback from people, we found that such a device is too serious. Its "sci-fi" appearance makes users unwilling to wear it. So after such feedback, we focused on making the device more every day. And finally, we used caps to complete our work.

In this step, I use an ordinary cap and use coins as a counterweight material. Due to the size and shape of the coins, they are easily stacked together and can be placed in different positions as needed (image 4). So I used hot-glue to fix a lot of coins under the brim of the hat, and then the black cloth cover sewn by the team member Smriti wrapped the brim and the weight together. Such materials and colors keep the appearance of the hat almost intact, and at the same time allow it to give users less psychological pressure (Image 5).

We received good feedback on our final product. It is more concise and daily, and it can also convey the difficulties and problems faced by such patients to people. At the same time, we also noticed that, as a product design-type work, in terms of wearing comfort, we can pay more attention to user experience. The product orientation should also be more complete so that users can more effectively understand the purpose and background of the product.


Dropped-Head-Syndrome: https://eorthopod.com/dropped-head-syndrome/