Swaddle Design

This blog post documents the design journey and research led elements of the swaddle blanket, the swaddle blanket aims to cover off 2 the original 10 key sensory needs, smell –smell of mums skin (5) and curled up – comforting feeling of being contained (10)

Being completely new to the research area of newborn babies I was initially struck by the contrast in advice surrounding the swaddle, initial research shows swaddling your baby and keeping them close to be the most traditional and natural approach to motherhood, as you can see from images below, I found extensive evidence of native, non-western, women swaddling their children.

Also drawing on a personal experience I recall visiting a community in northern Vietnam and observing a swaddled baby on mother's back while she worked, stopping only to loosen the Swallow and let the child’s waste flow away then the child quickly became swaddled back again. Could this really be 'unhealthy'? It has been noted in some of my further research that the different types of swaddling across the world highlight the dangers of swaddling to babies health "Cultures that keep infants’ hips extended on a cradleboard or papoose board have high rates of hip dysplasia in their children. Cultures that hold infants with the hips apart have very low rates of hip dysplasia." (Dysplasia Institute., 2012) This research would indicate that the way children are swaddled and the resulting hip dysplasia is the root of main concern to the medical profession.

However, in 2011 a study by the National Resource Center for Child and Health Safety (NRC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) concluded that swaddling “swaddling is not necessary or recommended in any childcare setting.” (DeJeu et al., 2016) The AAP named several specific swaddling-related concerns, beyond Hip dysplasia, adding, “Loose blankets in the crib (if a baby breaks free of the swaddle, the blanket can cover his face, increasing the risk of SIDS.) Stomach sleeping (if a swaddled baby is placed on her stomach to sleep, or if she rolls from her back to her stomach while swaddled, it increases the risk of SIDS.) Improper swaddling technique in general (the AAP has concerns that not all childcare workers know how to safely swaddle babies.)" (DeJeu et al., 2016) it is off the back of such stark advice that some American mothers now believe swaddling your child to be ‘illegal’.

With all this in mind, I had a meeting with two new mum’s Kate and Jackie. Kate and Jackie openly refer to themselves as attachments parents, they are both well educated and highly informs mothers and were able to share some of the research and findings of the benefits of swaddling or baby wearing. “When a proper hip position is maintained while baby wearing, there may be a substantial benefit for natural hip development. The Spread Squat position…with the thighs spread around the mother’s torso and the hips bent so the knees are slightly higher than the buttocks may decrease the risk of hip dysplasia” (Dysplasia Institute., 2012) To hear more about the advice they gave me go to blog post ‘meeting two new mums - Kate and Jackie’.

During our meeting discussion turned to the benefits of having a swaddle that could be used to put your baby down at night.  One of our main problems is the baby falls asleep on us and then putting them down is a real problem as they are swaddled to your body. I had a lot of ideas and suggestions around a double swaddle idea with clips, however, as the discussion continued I soon realised this could be a whole project in itself and that my attention needed to be spread across other areas.

From the discussion with Kate and Jackie the most relevant information gained, for this discussion, is the published ‘baby wearing rules’ - T.I.C.K.S (further information in the graphic below) and the knowledge there are ‘baby wearing consultants’. This gave me reassurance that to swaddle your child isn't ‘ignoring the medical advice’; moreover, it is about becoming informed and then choosing what was right for ‘your’ child. "New parents often learn how to swaddle their infant from the nurses in the hospital… when done correctly, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep." (Pediatrics, 2015)

Now approaching my design specifications, the swaddle cloth must still consider the concerns raised by the AAP; there must be no loose blankets, promotion of baby being on their back, sufficient instruction ensuring parents know how to correctly position their child, alongside ensuring the design avoids any leg entrapment and subsequent Hip Dysplasia. "When in the womb the baby’s legs are in a fetal position with the legs bent up and across each other. Sudden straightening of the legs to a standing position can loosen the joints and damage the soft cartilage of the socket." (Dysplasia Institute., 2012) keeping your legs slightly bent with the freedom to move around seems to be another major consideration and raising the newborn’s legs is worth considering.

I then moved my research onto currently available models on the market, I found a company called Cosycover who have a range of swaddle like tummy bands, "Baby needs to feel as reassured and safe as he was in his mum's womb.”" (Cosybag, 2014) Cosycover's product range addresses the newborn at different stages of their growth and development with key features appropriate to development times. This research has informed my design consideration for having multiple swaddles. My design will change as the baby grows, there will be 3 different sizes of cover/swaddle alongside a new leg raise size at each stage, 0-2 months, 3 -5 months and 6-8 months, I have used these markers as these are the dimensional differences I have referenced throughout the design process. It is worth further research to determine whether; should a mother continue to use the 0-2 month swaddle and leg raise would there be any detrimental effect on the child’s growth or development?


Prototyping:

Informed by both the research into existing products and the health concerns surrounding swallowing your baby, I created a key criteria is list prior to initial prototyping - the swaddle must:

- Have no loose or excess fabric surrounding the baby’s face.

- Designed to actively encourage the baby to be laid on their backs.

- Be clear and obvious in the direction of use.

- Avoid any sorts of leg entrapments or constraint to the hip joint.

- Aid in a slight raise of the knees and legs.

With all this in mind I began by creating an initial prototype pattern piece, referencing both the midwifery baby doll and the ergonomic dimension’s  (Tilley, Associates, and Wilcox, 2001) I was able to create the first fabric prototype.

As you can see from the images below, once I had the initial fabric prototype I was able to make further allowances for the arms and legs, ensuring sufficient space for hip rotation, from here the design went through various changes and alterations. A major consideration and alteration was how to attach the leg raise. After movement and attachment trials I concluded that the ‘though leg piece’ was superficial and could therefore be used to attach the leg raise to the swaddle. Along side this, using Katie’s curvature tool I was able to alter the pattern piece, ensuring the swaddle piece is both manufacturer-able and had curves that could take a channel edge.

The fabric chosen for the swaddle is a terry towelling, white, 100% cotton material, this fabric has been chosen for its natural fibre content, it’s soft and tactile texture and for the rigidity Katie has mentioned. Should this product going to manufacture trialling surrounding the blue edge’s potential to bleed onto the white cotton should be explored.

Getting the blue fabric on the bias allowed for a flexible piping edge piece, from here I used the piping toolironing flat as you go I was unable to heam the edge of the swaddle using the blue fabric, this gave the swaddle a professional finished look and feel.  Having finished the swaddle cover I gave the ends the same blue fabric colour in keeping with the colour scheme is also had a professional finish.

From here I explore the use of buttons have a decorative to finish, in manufacture and final production these buttons would be appliquéd to the surface insuring no risk of choking hazards to the infant. This will ensure the project keeps within the EN-71 small parts European laws.

Another consideration taken into the final design what the attachment method, used to hold the baby in place,  consideration was taken into the abrasive nature,  the noise created and the fiddlyness mums would be able to tolerate on a daily basis.  Despite Velcro being a noisy option, overall this was my attachment method of choice, chosen for its versatility as the babies torso grows, and for its simple and easy attachments and removal. Also having considered the available sample options Josh was able to provide me (a member of the design team for the paramedic response luggage Company)  there are my anti microbial nonabrasive Velcro is available,  this Velcro don’t have a shorter attachment lifestyle than conventional Velcro however considering the lifespan of this product 90,000 attachments should be sufficient!

The final stage of the swaddled prototyping what tounderstand the position at which the swaddle should be attached to the under sheet,  the attachment must be sufficient to keep the baby in-place while not hindering the leg or hip movement.  Equally ship this will be placed to high there would be irritation under the baby’s arms.  By consulting the ergonomic dimension book I have stitched this model in an appropriate place, this however is a feature I feel would need further user trials.

In summary of the prototyping section of the swaddle,  I feel this elements of design has A lot more legs as previously discussed with Kate and Jackie allowing for mothers to swallow their babies and then place them into the snuggle is a whole project in itself for now this was addresses the main safety issues raised by the AAPwhile also giving parents peace of mind that the child cannot roll out.  In the time I have had and the scale of this design project I’m happy with this final outcome.

Bibliography

BabyCentre, the (2016) Milestone chart: One to six months. Available at: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a6476/milestone-chart-one-to-six-months (Accessed: 25 August 2016).

Cosybag (2014) Available at: http://www.babymoov.co.uk/keyfeatures/43-cosycover-3661276009943.html (Accessed: 3 July 2016).

DeJeu, E., K, A., Jules, M, J., Slade, E., Kempnich, M., M, F., Watson, H., Pfeifle, H., Everhart, J. and Obilo, M. (2016) Is Swaddling Your Baby Now Dangerous (and Illegal)? Available at: http://www.babysleepsite.com/newborns/is-swaddling-baby-dangerous/ (Accessed: 6 August 2016).

Dysplasia Institute., I.H. (2012) Hip-healthy Swaddling. Available at: http://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/hip-healthy-swaddling/ (Accessed: 6 August 2016).

Pediatrics, A.A. of (2015) Swaddling: Is it safe? Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/Pages/Swaddling-Is-it-Safe.aspx (Accessed: 5 September 2016).

Tilley, A.R., Associates, H.D. and Wilcox, S.B. (2001) The measure of man and woman: Human factors in design, revised edition. New York: Wiley, John & Sons.


Mattress Deisign

This blog will address the research, prototyping and design development of the ergonomic mattress elements to the ‘Snuggle’, a baby sensory environment.

One of the major sensory differences between being in a cot and being in the womb for a new-born is the lack of feeling enclosed, surrounded and supported.  Being tightly swaddled and cuddled closely by a mother is currently the closest replication to the womb environment. There are some products available on the market today that address specific areas of this problem, however, the ‘Snuggle’ mattress intends to address multiple problems within a single product.

One of the key adjustments new-born babies have to make is this loss of closeness-problems of feeling lost in the empty space of a cot; this can be evidenced with premature babies who literally reach out trying to find the womb edge, “You will see these little preemies trying to bring their hands together or bring their hands to their face, or lay them over their head and their ear,” says Dr Als. “They search, literally, with their feet to try to find a boundary.”(Cornell 2016)

 There is further evidence to show babies sleep much better when swaddled and wrapped tightly “The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) says that when done correctly, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep." (Pediatrics, 2015)

Some key products that provide a solution to this problem, are; the Swaddle UP "Unlike traditional swaddles, the unique arms UP design of our Swaddle UP™ replicates your baby's behaviour in the womb, allowing movement of their hands to self-soothe." (Sarah, 2016) . Also, the ‘The Cocoonababy Nest® designed by Dr Danielle Salducci, as  “mattresses which would enable newborns to make movements similar to those made inside their mother’s womb." (Cocoonababy, 2016).  Another product key to my initial research was the ‘Babymoov cosy dream’ this product supports the baby’s legs, raising them slightly to help with the feeling of being curled up and a return to the foetal position.  Finally "The Cosydream provides a smaller and more snuggle space that reassure baby for better sleep." (Cosydream, 2014)

Another inspiring product I found during my research is ‘Dexbaby safe lift crib wedge’ which is placed under the baby to help relieve symptoms such as colic or acid reflux. This, and similar products, range from having a 12°-30° incline to help soothe a fractious baby "try raising the top of the cot to a 30° angle so he is not lying flat to see if this helps." (Ltd, 2016)

The Lexikind baby pillow can be used to prevent deformation of the back of the head. “Positional plagiocephaly occurs when a baby's head develops a flat spot due to pressure on that area. Babies are vulnerable because their skull is soft and pliable when they're born.” (Persing et al., 2003)

Finally there is the feature of a slight raise in the mattress under their arms; this is because new born babies apparently cannot self-sooth when laid flat on their back “as they do not have the strength to move their arms upwards” (Cocoonababy, 2016) and so by raising the mattress in this area, under the babies arms, self-soothing can take place.

This wide ranging research has inspired the ergonomic shaping and design of the ‘Snuggle’ mattress. The blog will now move on to discuss the design development - prototyping stage and other influences on the design.

In previous blogs ‘foam supplier’ & ‘textile cover’ my discussion revolved around the material qualities and limitations which have been pivotal in informing the design of the ‘Snuggle’ mattress.  A large part of the design journey has been the ergonomic dimensions needed for a product for a new-born baby and the key design considerations in response to these dimensions (See ‘ergonomics for a new born’ blog for further detail). The dimensions of the baby’s head informed design decisions for the distance required from the centre of the head to the surrounding foam – if the head was to roll left or right there must be enough space to ensure the baby could not smother themselves. (Woods, C, 2016) These dimensions and ergonomic considerations also informed the measurements of depth and circumference for the ‘dip’ for the baby’s head as you can see from the images below.

Alongside the research into ergonomics affecting products for babies, I conducted a SWOT analysis of existing products currently available on the market, paying particular interest in the dimensions of each product, and keen to see the stated age range they catered for in their product.

This research lead to an understanding of a preferred dimensional size for my mattress and ‘Snuggle’ will fit in line with products aimed at 0 to 8 months old , the dimensions I have chosen are 700 mm tall and 400 mm wide.

My initial cardboard model used these dimensions as a starting point and I instinctively gave the mattress an egg/womb-like, nest curvature shape. I removed some layers of cardboard to create a dip/recess for the head, adding a wedge of cardboard beneath the platform base to elevate this head end. By making a physical representation of the size and dimensions of ‘Snuggle’ I was able to have a clearer understanding of the proportions of the design in a model form. I added handles, further research would be needed for the materials/size/weight bearing capacity of these, began to carry it around the house and start playing with textile components to create the examples of the mould forms that would eventually make up the mattress accessories.

I had a basic model from which to develop and at this point in the project, smell, light and sound were the key sensory replications I needed to be concerned with introducing next so they could be added on and it could become a ‘modular piece’. The mattress would be the starter piece, with these sensory additional extras available in the surrounding top pieces; The ‘head cradle’ housing the speaker/s and the ‘leg-raise’ housing the lights/movement.

I started to approach the modularity of the piece with a more ‘sense-driven’ breakdown, having elements for touch, another for sight, sound, smell and movement. As all of these research elements came together the foam mattress started to become more of an ergonomically formed pod. Key parts of the research (as stated above) were informing not only the surrounding foam shapes, the leg raise and head recess, but were giving credence to the design philosophy I was generating; of ‘Snuggle’ becoming an ergonomic piece to aid transition from the womb for new-born babies.

At this point in my design journey, I was able to investigate the opportunities of each aspect of the design, potentially resolving more than one key sensory area at a time.

As you can see from the graphic below I started with 10 issues/sensory areas and have reduced them down to 5 components or product add on’s.

During this time I was able to get direct feedback and potential customer research; I spent the day with 2 new mums who were able to share their invaluable opinions about my product concept and give me a relevant outsider’s point of view.  To hear more about these please go to the blog “meeting 2 new mums; Kate and Jacquie”.

My design was becoming more of a reality and my next step was to source some foam to actually create the mattress, and the foam I chose is a 2” RX 39/120 roughly 70mm x 40mm(more information about this in the ‘foam supplier’ blog).

A key consideration whilst cutting and forming the foam was the height of the foam surround – an interesting, and I consider, a vital part of the midwife’s endorsements (see midwife meeting blog).

I also altered the overall shape of the mattress at this point to fit in with the archetypal pram form and dimensions.

While my main concern was with the ergonomics of the product for the baby’s head and corresponding safety considerations, I was also acutely aware that the foam surround needed to house the Bluetooth speaker and this proved to be a challenge to both practicality and aesthetic qualities; equally important aspects of my design.

Having created a foam form that was ergonomically correct for a newborn baby from 0 to 8 months old, I moved on to consider the mattress cover, as you can see from the images below this multifaceted foam form proved initially quite difficult to cover with a single piece of fabric. (The blog ‘textile cover’ has details about the technical and textile advice I was given by a fashion contour expert- Katie).

In line with Katie’s advice I acquired a two-way stretch fabric and set about covering my mattress form. This was by no means an easy process and despite Katie’s assurance that the two-way stretch fabric would result in no creases this is something I’m struggling to achieve.

After consulting with Dave Heaton and Dave Grimshaw they both advised me to cover the foam mattress in two separate pieces. As discussed in the ‘textile cover’ blog there are companies and processes that will create a perfectly fitted cover through heat setting the fabric and this can be seen in the moulded cups Katie found during our visit to John Lewis.

Katie was also able to advise about the degree of curvature and tightness of angles a heat sets fabric would be able to achieve. Whilst continually referencing the ergonomic drawings to ensure it kept within the requirements, Katie supported me in creating a final foam mattress that has a form achievable and coverable with the heat set industry process. At this point the mattress shape reverted back to the womb/nest like oval: this was informed by the hood design and allows for the 180° opening of the hood.

At this stage in my design process, I was rapidly approaching final hand in, and I made a visit to Katie the contouring expert (who also just happens to be my sister!).  Not only was Katie able to advise and suggest improvements, but she was also able to teach me vital garment construction skills. I initially tackled the foam mattress and then, looking at the form within the hood, I concluded the back edge needed to be significantly more angled.

During this section, consideration was taken as to where the speaker/speakers would be located, and, after a few trials where I placed the speaker within the foam at various points, it was concluded that a single speaker placed internally in the back of the ‘Head cradle’ would allow for a ‘surround sound’ acoustic,  in contrast to the original design where there would be two speakers either side of the baby’s head. By reducing this component to a single speaker the overall component cost has also been reduced.

During the visit with Katie we visited a range of mother and baby stores exploring existing available products, whilst also investigating, touching and feeling the fabrics in use on these items. Katie explained the appropriateness of each fabric and the processes used on each product, reinforcing the valuable lessons learnt from ‘comp. shop’ research.

Having purchased and trialled relevant fabrics (for more detail see the ‘aesthetic look’ blog) the foam surround ‘Head Cradle’ is now starting to look more professional. Final considerations now need to be around how to attach ‘the swaddle’ element and making the mattress cover removable for washing – a key feature for mums.

After exploring the available options I concluded that attaching ‘the swaddle’ directly to the under sheet would be best and easiest for the mum. (It is intended that the mattress will come with two cover/swaddles enabling one to be washed while the other is being used). 

 Please see blog ‘swaddle Design’ for more design detail.

The final ergonomic ‘Snuggle’ mattress looks professional and will be easy to produce in bulk through industrial processes. In addition to these factors, for me this is a fantastic end point!

The journey I have taken to get to this point has been interesting and exciting! Packed with learning; new technical skills, design developments and inevitable compromises with a deeper material appreciation, as well as satisfaction at a version of a final product completed.

Despite not being able to include all the sensory features that I investigated, I believe the basic ergonomic design of ‘Snuggle’ mattress could be a success. It has been mainly research lead; each feature being informed by a current medical challenge for new-borns, and with my research into existing products only reinforcing my belief that there is indeed a need for this product in the market place.

Future work would involve a development of the extra sensory products (or add on’s), as the market demand dictates.


Bibliography

Cocoonababy (2016) FAQ. Available at: https://www.cocoonababy.com.au/pages/faq (Accessed: 4 September 2016).

Cosydream (2014) Available at: http://www.babymoov.co.uk/baby-head-rest-sleep-positioners-/48-cosydream-3661276143050.html (Accessed: 5 September 2016).

Ltd, N. (2016) Baby reflux wedge supports? Available at: http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/baby-794/drop-clinic-652/775867-baby-reflux-wedge-supports-all.html (Accessed: 4 September 2016).

Persing, J., James, H., Swanson, J. and Kattwinkel, J. (2003) ‘Prevention and management of positional skull deformities in infants’, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS, 112(1), pp. 199–202.

Pediatrics, A.A. of (2015) Swaddling: Is it safe? Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/Pages/Swaddling-Is-it-Safe.aspx (Accessed: 5 September 2016).

Sarah, S. (2016) Make sleep simple. Available at: https://lovetodream.com.au/ (Accessed: 5 September 2016).

Woods, C. (2016) ‘Professional advice from a Midwife’. Interview with .

Hood Design

This blog will document the design journey, influential thinking and key research that have brought me to this final hood design outcome.

From the very beginning, my design concept incorporated the idea of having a hood form that would allow for the baby to feel in an enclosed dark pod. The main rationale for creating this dark enclosed pod was an attempt to replicate the womb conditions. " An unborn infant, says Dr Als, is basically peering through a fog of amniotic fluid into a dark cave. It’s possible that a bright light might filter through to the womb but, to the infant, it probably means the difference between dim and dimmer." (Cornell, 2016) In the graphic below you’ll see the initial sensory observations made of the experience within the womb vs. the sensory experience outside of the womb.

My initial designs did not see the hood as a separate element; moreover, the pod was more of an inclusive mattress, foam former or tunnel.  At this stage, the design was concerned with creating a multisensory zone.

As I started to create more designs through sketching and overall shape consideration, the hood started to become a separate element. The major changes took place as I took the 10 sensory elements and merged them into five product components.  It was at this point that the product became modular and the idea of an additional hood with internal lighting was born.

I was now considering how the hood could be made and began by researching pop-up tent technology as I felt this would be an easily usable option for mums and would provide a quick and effective pod or dark space. Below are the key images from my research, having visited a few camping shops I observed the tents were created though the use of memory metal which is held in place by fabric pieces and loops.  I purchased a pop-up unit with similar technology; from here I de-constructed the product and altered the fabric pieces and metal framework to fit with a pop-up hood design for Snuggle.

Unfortunately memory metal does not stand up to bending and reforming and quickly lost its memory. As the general design of pop-up tents and sunshades do not have retractable sections and a key design feature within Snuggle was the ability for the mums to part shade and also fully enclose their babies, the use of memory metal and pop-up tents technology was no longer applicable, so my search continued.

 

I then turned my research towards a more familiar form to mothers; the pram, creating a hood with an archetypal form would allow my product to be instantaneously familiar to customers. Aware of the type of customer this product is aimed at I began researching the forms off popular pram hoods. In line with my research bugaboo are considered the pram of choice for new mothers "Now one designer buggy has received the ultimate endorsement. Kate Middleton has joined the Bugaboo Brigade." (Kemp, 2013) I, therefore, purchased a Bugaboo sunshade to observe the material choice and manufacturing techniques used.

I then took my research and development into the workshops of MMU, initially starting on the laser cutter I was able to cut x6, 7 mm arch supports for the fabric hood, cutting from plywood, gave the arch supports more strength, however when I took these pieces into the woodwork department and began to explore the use and rollover,  I began to hit problems.  As you can see from the images below they all lay flat the mattress almost has a halo also, the plywood was of insufficient depth to take a bolt to hinge on.

 

Having discussed the available 'flexible' wood options I decided to use at 3 mm ply, cut to a 20 mm depth. These struts were then bent around the mattress, allowing me to measure the length each strut needed to be.  I was then able to explore different forms and shapes working with different combinations from 4 through to 5 and eventually finalising with six struts. The final design gave the hood an inclusive feel reminiscence of the forms from bugaboo prams and the archetypal pod shape. The use of plywood next of the white material is also inline with the look and feel I have discussed in the ‘aesthetic blog’ using natural woods rather than formed plastic keeps to the natural organic feel this product intends to convey.

 

During a design critique with my lecturer David Grimshaw, he felt an inclusive hood was not necessary. I took this on board, however, felt offering a completely enclosed mattress hood with breathability would keep to my initial design agenda and create the sensory environments initially intended.

 

Having finalised the struts and the overall form of the hood I approached the contouring expert Katie, she was able to assist me in creating a pattern piece and selecting the correct materials for final prototype.

As you can see from the images below we started by, first measuring the hood to creating accurate dimensional drawings, from here Katie showed me the techniques used to take measurements from a 3D structure to inform the pattern piece dimensions. We used this pattern piece to further understand how the fabric then fit the three-dimensional form. Exploring cutting the fabric on the bias or along the grain led to a number of alterations of the pattern pieces, tweaks were then made using a curvature’s tool – this tool allows you to draw curves achievable in fabric, once completely finalised, I cut x5 sections and made an initial Calico White prototype.

 

Now confident in the knowledge that the pattern piece was correct Katie and I went into town to acquire appropriate fabrics.  We chose fabrics for their breathability, Cotton content and aesthetic look and feel. The final fabric swatches looked fantastic when placed alongside the plywood, this palette creates a none gendered neutral look.  To read about this please visit the ‘aesthetic blog’.

 

While spending time with Katie I learnt about pattern cutting, designing for 'on the grain pattern pieces', key information for pattern pieces, how to measure from a 3-D form onto your 2D pattern, and finally, Katie was able to advise on the type of stitch needed for each section.

 

Having returned home with a fantastic prototype, one of the seams has unfortunately misaligned in the final seam. I had not allowed enough seam allowance and it is now slightly wonky.  I will address this and alter the pattern pieces. There is also an element of hand stitching required for the section that surrounds the bolts of the hood when looking at manufactured hoods this is something that can be created on the machine.

 

If this product were to become manufactured, I feel the hood struts will end up being made out of a High Density Polythene, “Can be moulded into almost any form due to its excellent moulding qualities, is rigid and hard.” (Polyethylene, 2016) this would be a safety, weight and durability point of view, however, I would be keen for the plywood look to be maintained in someway.


Bibliography

Cornell, C. (2016) Baby’s view of the womb - today’s parent. Available at: http://www.todaysparent.com/pregnancy/being-pregnant/babys-view-of-the-womb/ (Accessed: 21 July 2016).

 

Polyethylene (2016) in Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyethylene (Accessed: 6 September 2016).

Lighting Design

This blog will document the design journey, influential thinking and key research that have brought me to this final lighting outcome.

Initially my entire final major project for my product design MA centred around lighting, personally drawn to the effect light can have on the surface I intended to further my research into the interaction of lights with a textile and paper surface, this however is not the journey I ended up taking and now seems almost a lifetime ago!

Within Snuggle there is a two pronged approach to the lighting design: firstly to shade from light (e.g. providing a similar function as a hood on a pram) to allow sleep and secondly to provide light to replicate the womb.  During research it was identified that certain colours of light can also help to promote sleep.

From the start I intended to use the sense of light to recreate the sensory conditions of the womb by creating an enclosed dark pod. " An unborn infant, says Dr Als, is basically peering through a fog of amniotic fluid into a dark cave. It’s possible that a bright light might filter through to the womb but, to the infant, it probably means the difference between dim and dimmer." (Cornell, 2016) No matter the mothers skin tone or race, all babies will experience this red hue; due to the light passing through blood vessels “ Your baby actually sees shades of red and orange in bright light." (Rhoads, 2012)

Originally I had intended to include these red lights into the leg raise, allowing for a projection of both shapes and tones across the inside of the hood. Utilizing a ‘northern lights’ replicating projector I had explored the similarities of these shapes to that of the shapes seen within the womb. Unfortunately this avenue was quickly ruled out as it contained large moving parts, and required a significant power source. During the next design development stage it was decided that the lights would be incorporated into the hood because the purpose of the ‘add-on’ hood was to address light.  Therefore from a modular and marketing point of view it made sense to combine these features.

As I carried out further research it became apparent that a red light also has proven scientific benefit in encouraging sleep. 

Our internal body clock or ‘circadian rhythm’ is adjusted daily in response to our environment of external cues, the most important of which is daylight. This body clock is responsibly for regulating our sleeping patterns, through the release of a hormone called ‘melatonin’ which chemically causes drowsiness and lowers body temperature (Mastin, 2013)

It is now well accepted that the circadian system is very sensitive to short-wavelength (blue) light and is quite insensitive to long-wavelength (red) light. Retinal exposures to blue light at night have been recently shown to impact alertness, implicating participation by the circadian system.

.  This has an effect not only on the baby but also on the parents – research showed that pulsing of the red light would potentially reduce stress levels.  On this basis the design incorporated a band of red LEDs, however, the pulsing light was not incorporated as this deviates from the womb environment and it is judged that the effect on the baby is more important that the potential stress reduction in the parents.  LEDs were chosen due to the low power requirements, life expectancy and low heat output.  I also explored other sources of light, such as EL wire.  However, these did not achieve the desired effect.


Prototyping

Following this, the design evolved to consider internal hood lighting. The first trial was in the use of EL wire.  This was unsuccessful, as the wire did not generate/ project enough light and would present an environment of red stripes rather than a womb like red glow.  The final prototyping settled on a strip of battery powered red LEDs.  The placement of the strip was varied to assess the effect on the light diffusion.  It was realised that placing the source behind the baby’s head resulted in a projection of light that reflected back off the hood to create an even warm glow.  The various phases are documented in the Figures below.

Insert images

Final Design

The final design evolved following the prototyping to relocate the LED strip to behind the baby’s head, on the second hood support strut.  In addition, it was recognised that the product needs to be transitional and so a dimmer functional has been included.  This could be implemented in practice using a system similar to Philips Hue, whereby the light is controlled via a mobile application.  One issue still to be resolved is the location of battery pack/ source.

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Reflection

The process of incorporating light has be educational – I’ve learnt that light can physically effect your mood and well-being.  This is a new dimension to light, which has been an instrumental part of my design journey.  This learning will influence my lighting design products in the future.

 

"If you have a baby, managing her exposure to light and dark is key in the early months while the circadian rhythm is maturing. In the morning, raise the shades and take her outside for a dose of indirect sunlight. As bedtime approaches, make the lights dim and keep them low during the night for feedings." (See: Visual conditions & sleep - national sleep foundation, 2012)

 

"There is ONE type of light that doesn’t do this however. Red. Red based light has a much higher wavelength than white/blue/green light, which research shows (see links at end) does not inhibit melatonin. It doesn’t so much improve sleep, it just doesn’t interfere with the chemical building blocks of it. Of course the absolute best lighting to use in the nursery is nothing. Pitch black. This isn’t realistic however when it comes to night feeds or nappy changes. So red is by far the best second option. Don’t just focus on the nursery however, think about the light your child is exposed to before bed – like in the bathroom. Is your bathroom lit by regular white light? (even worse, are they energy saving lightbulbs – which emit much more blue light than old style incandescent bulbs) If so you might want to invest in some battery operated, more appropriate light." (Ockwell-Smith, 2015a)

 

"How light affects sleep Have you ever woken up just minutes before your alarm goes off and marveled at your body's sense of time? Humans (and most living creatures) have an internal clock that mirrors nature's cycles of day and night. Nestled deep in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, this timekeeper regulates many of our body's functions, such as sleep, energy, and hunger. Sunlight detected by cells in the retina of the eye sends messages to the brain that keep us in a roughly 24-hour pattern. These light cues trigger all kinds of chemical events in the body, causing changes in our physiology and behavior. For example, as evening approaches and the light in our environment dwindles, the hormone melatonin begins to rise and body temperature falls—both of which help us to become less alert and more likely to welcome sleep. With the help of morning light, melatonin levels are low, body temperature begins to rise, and other chemical shifts, such as an uptick in the activating hormone cortisol, occur to help us feel alert and ready for the day." (Stephan and Zucker, 1972)


Bibliography

Mastin, L. (2013) Sleep - how sleep works - Circadian rhythms. Available at: http://www.howsleepworks.com/how_circadian.html (Accessed: 6 September 2016).

Ockwell-Smith, S. (2015a) Gentle sleep book: For calm babies, toddlers and Pre-Schoolers. United Kingdom: Piatkus Books.

Stephan, F.K. and Zucker, I. (1972) ‘Circadian rhythms in drinking behavior and Locomotor activity of rats are eliminated by hypothalamic lesions’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 69(6), pp. 1583–1586. doi: 10.1073/pnas.69.6.1583.

See: Visual conditions & sleep - national sleep foundation (2012) Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/see.php (Accessed: 6 September 2016).

Sound Design

This blog references the on going research into the creation of a holistic sensory solution for newborn babies. This solution aims to overcome the sensory difference between cot and womb. Below is a discussion surrounding one of the five elements; womb-like sound.

As discussed in previous blogs, white noise has been consistently proven to aid with infant sleep. In an experimental study of newborns, 80% fell asleep within five minutes in response to white noise compared with only 25% who fell asleep spontaneously in the control group (Spencer et al 1990).

White noise, alongside other different kinds of natural ‘soft sounds,’ such as the sounds waves breaking, an adult’s heartbeat, a waterfall or the rain can be most effective when used on young babies. "Babies become accustomed to the soundscape of the womb — the steady thump of mum’s heartbeat, the whooshing of blood through her blood vessels, the rumbling of her stomach and, most importantly, the tones of her voice filtered through tissues, bones and fluid." (Cornell 2016) these replica soft sounds can provide a similar soothing tone for the newborn to focus and relax to.

A few of the notable current solutions adopted by parents are, driving your child in the car, (Reporter, 2012) putting a hair dryer on or playing the sound from your mobile phone app. (Woods, K, 2016) Sounds similar to the videos seen below:

However, "Mobile Phones should not be used in close proximity to babies and small children as they are more susceptible to radiation."(Company, 2016) So a solution or device separate from the phone is required, maybe still utilising the phone's apps with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity?

It is also worth considering the volume these devices can output, how loud should this white noise or soft sound be? "The womb is deafeningly loud. It is just slightly less loud than a lawnmower. Loud is normal to a baby. Life outside the womb is uncomfortably quiet. White noise sounds like “home” to a baby." (Dubief, 2011) In fact studies by the American journal of perinatology found internal womb sound to be 72 to 88 db (Smith et al., 1990) a further study at The Children's Hearing Institute in New York has given a specific recommendation for continuous sound"levels should be set at a volume of 75 decibels, as this is safe for continuous sound". (Company, 2016) This is also discussed within the research provided by Gro, a company who have created the Gro-hush a handheld device that plays 10-minute intervals of white noise at 75 decibels - perfect.

As previously discussed "Babies become accustomed to the soundscape of the womb ... most importantly, the tones of their mothers voice." (Cornell 2016) therefore could there be a case for continuing the environmental sound of the mother's surroundings post birth? Products such as the; Motorola MBP26 Digital Video Baby Monitor already has two-way communication technology that lets you keep connected to your baby (ReviewsGuide, 2016) However this product will go one step further and become a wearable device that can stream live sound from mother to baby (Snuggle), giving the background hum baby considers normal. Could this device also pick up on a live heartbeat that is again fed straight into the Snuggle sound system?

Within prototyping I’ve experimented with different sources of sound output and finalised on a small handheld Bluetooth speaker I can wirelessly connect to an iPhone, allowing me to demonstrate the acoustic properties of the foam mattress. Should this product go into manufacture the intention is for the speaker system to have many further functions beyond playing white noise. By having an integral intercom system from mother back to baby, as seen in the baby monitor documented above the background noise baby is used to would continue, as well as a live heartbeat feed being picked up from the parents device (should they choose to wear it) If not there will be a feature to play a pre-recorded heart beat sound. The speaker will have wireless speaker technology that slots within the foam base. This integral intercom system will then be connected to an integrated app that is downloadable alongside the purchase of the Snuggle. This app will allow the parents to not only remotely chose the sounds they play to their infant but also allow them to phase it out over the coming months. The product would need to remain battery-powered with the potential USB charging port, again looking at current products available on the market this is well-established technology and I’m confident this project is achievable.

Having said all this, the Snuggle speaker system, would not look to replicate the current baby monitors for ‘baby to mother’ communication. As they are quickly adapting to included video this would require a relocation/ redesign of the current product or a potentially a secondary unit.


Bibliography

Cornell, C. (2016) Baby’s view of the womb - today’s parent. Available at: http://www.todaysparent.com/pregnancy/being-pregnant/babys-view-of-the-womb/ (Accessed: 21 July 2016).

Company, T.G. (2016) Frequently asked questions - the Gro company. Available at: http://gro.co.uk/frequently-asked-questions/#about-the-gro-hush (Accessed: 4 September 2016).

Dubief, A. (2011) Why babies Love White noise. Available at: https://www.preciouslittlesleep.com/why-babies-love-white-noise/ (Accessed: 7 September 2016).

Reporter, D.M. (2012) New parents cover more than 1, 300 miles a year driving their children to sleep (and it costs them £547 in fuel). Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2225590/New-parents-drive-1-300-miles-year-driving-children-sleep-spending-547-petrol.html (Accessed: 6 August 2016).

ReviewsGuide, B. (2016) Exposing the best Motorola baby monitors | quality reviews. Available at: http://www.babymonitorreviewsguide.co.uk/motorola-baby-monitors/ (Accessed: 4 September 2016).

Spencer, J.A., Moran, D.J., Lee, A. and Talbert, D. (1990) ‘White noise and sleep induction’, Archives of Disease in Childhood, 65(1), pp. 135–137. doi: 10.1136/adc.65.1.135.

Smith, C., Satt, B., Phelan, J. and Paul, R. (1990) ‘Intrauterine sound levels: Intrapartum assessment with an intrauterine microphone’, American journal of perinatology., 7(4), pp. 312–5.az

Woods, K. (2016) ‘Meeting with 2 new mums’. Interview with .

Movement - bellows

The movement aspect of this ergonomic sensory environment for a newborn is a contentious subject,  having spoken to a midwife Christine as you can read about in one of the earlier blogs she was concerned with the feature being able to be left on when there was no adult present,  equally when talking to the new mums Kate and Jackie,  they were concerned that this feature would allow babies to fall back into a deep sleep something which is responsible for some examples of cot death.

That being said, the movement feature is one of the key elements when it comes to newborn sleeping patterns and mother’s frustration. Having an option where you can rock your baby to sleep on your chest and then lay them down onto a surface that is still rocking will aid in the transition from sleeping with mum to sleeping alone. Which, when all is said and done is the main aim of this product.

Below are the sketches and design exploration I have undergone surrounding movement:

 
So how to introduce movements in a way that fits will all the requirements above? I felt it was necessary to consult with a few experts.


I arranged to meet with a friend of mine who is the race engineer at Bentley motorsport, William Hunt, he was very interested in the bellows and had multiple ideas for how I could implement this movement. Will felt the bellows could provide more than just the rocking motion, which would help the infant to sleep. Will suggested the constant movement and change in pressure would also help with blood flow for the infant.


Much like the products that are available for anyone who is bedridden and at risk of developing bed or pressure sores. “The bed contains a mixture of air and fluid. Researchers found that pressure sores became smaller after 2 weeks using this type of bed.”  (Research, 2016)
The Apollo 5 Premium Airflow Mattress is a great example of the current technology available. Using a durable and robust pump the Air Flow Mattress manually adjusts to the user's body shape, featuring 18 individual cells that provide an extremely dynamic alternating therapy action.

Alternating Pressure Pad installation

Will compared this to the system within Bentley seats, the massage unit is made up of multiple airbags that are placed around the seats inflating and deflating to give a massage on the back.  Details of the system can be seen below, created by a company called ‘kongsbeegautomotive’ who are the world leaders in providing automotive massage technology. “The system is based on a series of small air bladders that alternately inflate and deflate to provide a massage sensation” this system is fully programmable with both speed and intensity.


I also spoke to a safety engineer call Pete ***, as we discussed the bellows in further detail, his initial observations were that by keeping the noise and the mechanicals away from the baby in a separate unit created a well thought out safety feature, yet due to this feature, a remote pumping unit was the only option. Having this pump remote yet in close proximity to the baby could also promote sleep through the rhythmical sound of the pump.

The other thing to factor in Pete said, is that pumps get hot – moving parts generate heat, and temperature is an area I am keen to stay well clear of.

While having the pump within the mattress may give the additional option for vibrations and result in a more streamlined design, it can be concluded that any option of overheating and moving electrical units should be kept away from the baby where it is possible. So a remote unit is the direction I will take.

Getting into the practicalities of the bellow design, Pete observed within my design (seen above) that the forces needed to inflate this bellow, would create a significant gushing/rushing sound as it escaped from the valve on the other side,  this may play to my advantage as mentioned above if you had a rhythmical breathing sound, however, Pete felt this sounds maybe too loud and potentially scary for an infant. Pete, therefore, suggested a two-pronged system. A pump that can work in two directions, with a pump going in, then reverse to pump the air out with each pump working at opposite times.


The movement feature for this design concept has been present from the very start, For me it is one of the most instinctive and intuitive things you can do to help a baby sleep - rock them.

This project intends to replicate the feeling of the womb,  helping babies with the transition from womb to cotby having sensory elements that replicates the environment of the womb,  that are transitional,  this product in terms to relieve some of the sensory stress associated with that shock change to both mother and babies environments. “Newborns are like sailors that come to dry land after nine months at sea, says Dr. Karp. The stillness of lying in a soft, motionless crib can drive them crazy. Rhythmic, vigorous motion has an almost hypnotic effect.” (Bevinetto, 2015)                       

The first example of a rocking cradle was in 1683, as you can see in the image below."For centuries, babies in Western Europe and North America were put into small baskets or boxes raised slightly off the floor, on rockers." (Rocking cradles – wood or wicker, 2012) “The cradle has a long history and the earliest and most common type of cradle is the rocker, derived undoubtedly from a half log, hollowed out to provide a secure resting place for the infant." (Blackburn, 2005) Across the history of baby care there seems to have always been an element of movement. The use of a natural, rocking motion instigated by an "older sibling or a busy adult with a spare foot while her hands are busy with other tasks." (Rocking cradles – wood or wicker, 2012) is commonplace through out history and still remains true to this date.

Current products on the market allow for a range of manual or electronic options to provide movement for your infant. The motions range from swinging to bouncing, and even (as seen with the mamroo) a combination of movements. During my time with Kate and Jackie we discussed this option for movement, talking about how, when you rock a child to sleep it is not a single direction movement, its more multi-directional, you are either rocking and bouncing or bouncing and twisting. (Woods, K, 2016)

Initially my design concept was concerned with the use of an airbag that would inflate and deflate in a rhythmical Motion replicating the mothers lungs and heartbeat. As you can see in initial sketches below this is integral element to the design, with the power and motor external to the baby’s mattress. This is a key consideration for me and I quickly identified that parents would not want any mechanical electronic components near a sleeping newborn baby. My design therefore Incorporated the power lead to be short with a long air compression tube to the mattress, in principle should the worst happen all the baby will receive is alternating gushes of air.

While considering how I would prototype this element of design I arranged to meet with two engineers, one a race engineer for Bentley motor sport, the other a safety engineer for Urenco, to hear more about their advice refer to the earlyier 'text/blog'., he was very interested in the bellows and had multiple ideas for how I could implement this movement. Will felt the bellows could provide more than just the rocking motion, which would help the infant to sleep. Will suggested the constant movement and change in pressure would also help with blood flow for the infant. Despite being unable to find any evidence for this, it is commonly held that similar products that are available for anyone who is bed ridden and at risk of developing bed or pressure sores can be invaluable. The bed contains a mixture of air and fluid. Researchers found that pressure sores became smaller after 2 weeks using this type of bed.”  (Research, 2016)

Throughout this research it was slowly becoming apparent that to create a prototype system of gentle and controlled movement through the use of bellows was far from realistic. It was at this point that I returned to my initial research and explored other alternatives to movement. Returning to more traditional, manual forms of movement.

While developing these designs, I was constantly considering and debating the pros and cos of each route. Either the route of mechanical, electric movements that can be switched on and left on, giving rise to unattended movement of the newborn. Or do I go down the route of manual movements that requires that parents be present to give and maintain the movement?

When talking to Christine the midwife she was mostly concerned about having any unattended movements for newborn’s, when considering bad parents. “it would be an easy option for parent and is not promoting the mother baby relationship you would hope to encourage.” (Woods, C, 2016)

In the same vein when discussing the same feature with Kate and Jacqui the two attachment parents, they asked “why would I put my baby on a mattress to rock them, when I could pick them up and rocks them myself?”  This product is not aimed at attachment parents we concluded.

Would a rocking feature that requires you to be beside the baby inhibit or put off mums? Is the idea of having to rock your child and then gently be carried into another room a problem? As previously discussed it would appear the use of a natural, rocking motion is commonplace through out history and still remains true to this date, being at one with your Childs responding their mood and sleep patterns, and is being close to your baby.

As you can see from the prototyping images below the next stage of my prototyping developments explores the use of a round bowl like shape used as a rocker underneath the mattress.  The main issues I encountered here what in response to the centre of gravity.  Having explored the use of multiple rounds which inhibited the direction of movement to a single left to right rock I concluded this product direction would require a round who’s diameter was the length of the mattress, taking away from the pram like archetypal form I intended.

The next stage in my prototyping development explore the use of springs,  initially hard to get my hands on I eventually acquired some mattress springs having sweet talk the local skip men,  from here I experimented with different placements out quantity of springs across the baseboard.  As you can see from the video below I came across the same problems regarding centre of gravity.  As I placed extra springs around the baseboard I was able to overcome the problem of the baby falling out however this then limited the multidirectional rocking motion.


Bibliography

Research, C. (2016) Dealing with pressure sores (sore skin). Available at: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/coping-with-cancer/coping-physically/skin/managing/dealing-with-pressure-sores (Accessed: 25 August 2016)

Amby (2016) Help your baby sleep with the Amby baby hammock. Available at: http://amby.co.uk/amby-benefits/sleep (Accessed: 7 September 2016).

Bevinetto, G.B. (2015) 5 ways to recreate the womb. Available at: http://www.parents.com/baby/care/crying/ways-to-recreate-the-womb/ (Accessed: 21 July 2016).

Blackburn, G. (2005) A short history of beds, cradles, and cribs. Available at: http://www.finewoodworking.com/woodworking-plans/article/a-short-history-of-beds-cradles-and-cribs.aspx (Accessed: 7 September 2016).

Rocking cradles – wood or wicker (2012) Available at: http://www.homethingspast.com/rocking-cradles/ (Accessed: 7 September 2016).

Textiles Cover

This blog references an ongoing project where I am working towards creating a holistic sensory solution for newborn babies. This solution aims to overcome the sensory difference between cot and womb. Below is a discussion surrounding one of the five elements; the fitted sheet.


Now at the stage of modelmaking and prototyping the fitted bed sheet; an understanding is needed of the techniques and materials required to make a well-fitted fabric bedsheet. Having a background in textiles and a general understanding of fabric construction, I feel confident to approach this.

However, as you can see from the image above a single piece of fabric will not be adequate to cover the intricate curves and shapes within this foam mattress. This will require many pieces and a greater understanding of fabric construction that I am confident with.

I, therefore, felt it was necessary to contact a fabric contouring expert.  I spoke to Katie who was able to give me invaluable advice regarding both the fabric choice and direction around how to approach the construction of such a complex structure.

We first talked about the fabric itself, Katie highlighted the fabric I had used was a non-stretch, rigid material and this was not the most forgiving material for trying to wrap curves. “you will end up having 5000 pleats across that top edge leaving your model looking messy and unprofessional”. Katie suggested using a two-way stretch fabric "when you have the fabric in your hands it’ll stretch both, from left to right and from top to bottom". Using a two-way stretch fabric is much more forgiving and will look a lot better across the corners and soft edges.

Katie also mentioned using a 'matt' fabric, this would help to eliminate any unseen mistakes that would otherwise be highlighted with the use of fabrics with a sheen - "drawing the eye to any slight raises or bobbles across the surface."

Katie also recommend considering the weight of the fabric, she felt this product would need a 175gsm - 200gsm, “if the label does not tell you the weight of the fabric then place your first under the fabric push it through, as the fabric stretches, if you can see the colour of your skin through the fabric it is too thin/light weight”.
Using this same technique will also indicate whether the fabric has a good recovery Katie explained, as you remove your first from the fabric if a ‘boat’ shape is left rather than springing straight back, then this material does not have a good enough recovery. 

Having spoken to Katie about her suggestions for fabric selection and further construction recommendations the conversation moved onto the manufacturing, Katie informed me of a company called ‘International moulders’ this company based out of Hong Kong can create fabric covers that are 'seem free'. this adds to the comfort of the product alongside the overall visual atheistic. Using a company like 'international moulder' is not possible at this stage of prototyping, due to the resources cost and time I have available to me.  Looking to the future, if I was to enter mass batch production, a conversation with international moulders would be relevant.

Foam Suppliers

This final major project is concerned with creating an environment for a newborn baby to help with the transition from the womb to the cot.  This product and associated technologies will culminate around an interactive multisensory mattress.
Now fast approaching the part of this project where I need to take my ideas off the page and into 3D prototypes, and after a fantastic tutorial with Dave Heaton yesterday, I feel confident to start making. Getting some foam, cutting, sticking building and ‘feeling’ the proportions and design will help me to understand the design and continue to think with my hands.

At this stage it is not important to get the right sort of foam, moreover, I just need to get my hands on some foam! In the search for this foam, I contacted a local foam supplier in Stockport called Sherlock Foams Limited.
I initially rang Sherlock foams and spoke to Leslie their in-house ‘mattress specialist’ Leslie describes to me the differences between the foam types they had available. She started by informing me that closed cell foam is most definitely not appropriate.

Close cell foam is the type of foam you would find as swimming pool floats and is not fire retardant and is in fact extremely flammable - definitely not appropriate for a newborn mattress then.

Memory foam is reactive to heat and as the foam becomes warmer it gets softer, moulding to the shape of the warm object. As it then cools off the foam gets harder and returns to the original form. Therefore Lesley felt Memory foam was also not relevant for babies, as the infant's body heats the foam, the foam holds the heat and can quite quickly overheat the infant. Also as the memory foam softens, the baby will become encased in the foam, potentially prevent any movement, counter productive to what this product intends to assist.

Open cell foam was Lesley’s recommendation, "this foam is the general foam you find in your household sofa cushions or bath sponges." Their foams are measured in kilos per Cubic Square, and come in a range of densities, Leslie, then encouraged me to come into the store so I could feel the variety that is available and feel the variation in firmness.

Sherlock Foams LTD

Later that day I went into the store and spoke to Phil. Phil showed me samples of the available foam relevant to my project, I was able to touch and feel the options as Phil explained their qualities. The first lesson was how to feel the firmness of foam. “You can not feel the difference of foams by pinching or squeezing an edge, you must do is place your hand or arm on the top of the foam and press down evenly, this defuses the pressure and gives you a more realistic feel to the difference in density.”


Having assessed the firmness of their available foams Phil recommended I used 2” thick 39/120 foam and referred me to their manufacturer (carpenters in Glossop) for further specifications and product details.
I also discussed with Phil the benefits and problems of memory foam, we concluded that a small 10mm layer of top coat would be the best solution, giving the product the sales pitch option “memory foam is an important, sales feature in the world of mattress” yet ensuring the baby A) does not over heat and B) can move around with ease.

Phil also explained the technique they use to cut forms out of foam, pointing out a foam former they use for bath supports (see image below) where a soft curve is needed. They use a relief mould, which is pressed into the foam, the raised foam section on the other side, is then cut away, leaving the other side the excess as a hole, the exact shape, size and perfectly smooth.

I left with two pieces of foam, cut to shape; Phil also generously gave me a 50% discount.  Usually at retail a piece of foam 70mm x 40mm, 2” deep, would retail and £9, also for a piece of memory foam to cover the top Phil estimated around £4.50.

Meeting 2 new mums: Kate and Jackie

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting two new mums; Kate Woods a qualified lawyer with baby Grace and Jacquie Woods, her Sister in Law and qualified doctor, with baby Dan. Together they made for a truly inspiring and knowledgeable pair of mothers.
Initially, we spoke about the product and the features I had included, with the reasoning behind each feature. They were able to question me and instigate conversations about my design from a stance which included their parenting knowledge and also practical knowledge of using childcare products. The talk shed valuable light onto areas and ways forward I had not previously considered.

With regard to ‘Sound’ – Jacquie, mentioned how most baby monitors currently on the market have an intercom feature, where you can talk back to your baby should they become distressed. Jacquie had not used this feature yet – preferring to go and sooth the baby in person herself. However, with the sound, I am thinking of having (heartbeat noise, white noise and/or the muffled sound of the parents) both Kate and Jacquie thought hearing general noise would bean interesting and soothing feature, definitely worth exploring on a transitional basis. With respect to the ‘heartbeat’ and ‘white noise’ features, these were of most interest to them; Both Kate and Jacquie talked of success with white noise in soothing their babies to sleep. Jessie (Kate’s husband) informed me of the multiple other options available too – White noise, pink noise, brown noise, violet noise and blue noise! Not wishing to get totally side-tracked ‘off task’ today I did not ask him about these differences and will put it down as ‘More research potential….’

Jacquie, from her medical background, also had a wealth of knowledge with regard to SID’s, Sleeping patterns and she recommended I look at research by Professor James J. McKenna. Professor McKenna’s book ‘Mother-Baby Behavioural Sleep Laboratory Studies’ talks of how “using traditional anthropological and medical research techniques, the laboratory cuts through myths and controversies to provide scholars, parents, and the news media with accurate scientific information on a variety of sleeping arrangements, including safe co-sleeping practices.” (Mckenna, 2014) His advice surrounding co-sleeping and sleep apnoea will be of significant importance to my research Jackie stated.

Alongside this, she recommends looking into ‘Kangaroo’ mother care, an initiative started by Jill and Nils Bergman in South Africa. A movement that is concerned will increase the amount of skin to skin contact the new born baby has with their mother. This again is merely the initial understanding I have of their research and I hope to explore more in depth and deepen my knowledge.

With regard to ‘Sleeping’ – Jacquie and Kate talked about a term ‘formula babies’ – meaning babies who get their feed through formula milk. Babies, who are fed formula milk, tend to sleep a lot better and for longer due to the longer protein chains within formula milk, (Onusic, 2015) in contrast to breast milk. This will be relevant when looking at ‘statistics of sleep patterns’ and ‘expectations for sleep duration’, as the stats could be significantly different depending on which types of babies were referred to; formula or breastfeed babies.

On the topic of ‘Swaddling’ – there are baby wearing rules Kate informed me! Kate and Jessie have only just purchased a pushchair – 10 months in! - Because they always wear/carry Grace in the sling or swaddle. They have even passed on their ‘sling consultant’s details’! – (Yes!-there are such things as sling consultants!!) I learned that there are also a whole range of products that are geared to help new mums to wear/carry their babies safely and comfortably – ‘Vija Design’ is a clothing company who specialize in making clothes with large pockets that the baby can sit/ sleep in, skin to skin with the mum or dad.Vija Design’ is a clothing company who specialize in making clothes with large pockets that the baby can sit/ sleep in, skin to skin with the mum or dad.

We discussed ‘Types of parenting’ and who my audience actually is? We talked about the style of parents that Kate and Jacquie are – they would describe themselves as being very close to their baby, ‘Attachment Parents’ this is an approach to parenting in contrast to the more Urban/City mums who are keen to return to work and get the baby weaned onto the bottle a.s.a.p. For the purposes of this blog, I will refer to them as‘Lesser Attachment Parents’.  It would appear that my customers will be from this secondary group of parents as ‘Attachment Parents’ already embrace the ‘mindful/ meditation’ philosophy and build this attitude into their regime. The ‘Lesser Attachment Parents’ however will have more disposable income, be more time pressured and so be looking for the ‘wonder product’ to help solve their problems.

The further talk made me realise that actually there is no right or wrong approach. Rather an ‘informed’ or’ less-informed’ approach, maybe a ‘right for the baby’ or a ‘right for the mum’ approach- Baby centred or Parent centred approach…

On a parting note the ladies told me about ‘occupational baby therapists’, experts who I will try to find and get in touch with for further research into this fascinating subject.


Bibliography

Onusic, S. (2015) The scandal of infant formula. Available at: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/the-scandal-of-infant-formula/ (Accessed: 25 August 2016).

McKenna, James. J (2014) Kidsinthehouse.Com. Available at: http://cosleeping.nd.edu/ (Accessed: 11 August 2016).

 

Design Direction

Approaching the phase of design development concerned with the movement feature of this design, I have found myself at a crossroads.
Do I go down the route of mechanical electric movements that can be switched on and left on giving rise to the unattended movement of the newborn? Or do I go down the route of manual movements that requires an adult's intervention to provoke and maintain the movement?

When talking to Christine the midwife she was mostly concerned about having the mattress being able to move unattended. This was a concern for her when considering all types of parenting - good and bad. The concern being the feature would be abused as an easy option for parents rather than promoting the mother baby relationship the NHS would hope for.

In the same vein when I was discussing the same feature with Kate and Jacqui the two new mums they personally felt this feature would not be relevant to them personally "why would I put my baby on a mattress to rock them when I could pick them up and rock them to sleep myself?"

These two elements of research bring forward this design direction crossroads, the mums that this product is aimed at are 'busy mums' who are keen to be able to put the baby down during the day so they can continue their lives while also being a mum.  This product is aimed at mums who have other commitments besides being a mother, Women who need a solution that will enable them to maximise their time during those 2 - 4 valuable hours of sleep.

So it would appear from my research and current level of understanding of the target audience shows that a non-manual option would be appropriate, having an electronic, unassisted movement feature would be beneficial.
The questions still remaining to be answered are:

  • "Would my target audience 'mum' be happy to sit, rocking their baby to sleep while getting on with something?  
  • "Would a rocking feature that requires mum to be 'beside' the baby inhibit or put off mums?"
  • Would this still be a problem if you can rock them to sleep with you, then gently carry the mattress and sleeping baby into another room?"

Midwife Meeting

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with a midwife, Christine Woods, to discuss my product direction and the design specifications.Christine's feedback and opinions were fantastic and I left feeling much more positive and reassured about the accuracy of the research I have completed so far and the legitimacy of it all. 

Christine was able to pass on her professional knowledge and advice, alongside this, her Husband, Nigel, was available and together they are both parents and grandparents, so they were also able to give me valuable marketing suggestions.

I gave both Nigel and Christine a general over view of the background research that has lead me to this point (which you can read about in earlier posts) and then showed them the images below.

Christine's first suggestion was to consider the increase in baby weight and length. Currently, the product is proposed to have a 40cm width and 70cm length, Christine was concerned this may not accommodate for how much longer the average baby is "the average length of a full term baby is 51cm." (Hicks, 2016) With babies growing 2cm within the first month and on average a further 1-2cm each month. Using these average measurements, it can be assumed that this product could only accommodate a baby until 6-7months of age.

When discussing the babies weight "The average weight of a baby who reaches full term is 3.5kg or 7.7 lbs. (Hicks, 2016) and the foam structure needed to support a baby correctly, Chris mentioned that within the industry, there are concerns surrounding the type of foam used within infant mattresses as some have been found to link to cot death. "Bacteria linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) seem to thrive in vomit-soaked polyurethane foam." (BBC, 2002)

The breathability and airiness of the mattress are also important both for prevention of "the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a bug often found in the throats of SIDS babies." (BBC, 2002) and temperature control "Overheating can increase the risk of SIDS ... Keep the room at about 18C / 65F."(Choices, 2016) So the foam mattress used in the final product must not be an open polyurethane and there must be sufficient ventilation.


When discussing all the knowledge I have gathered we discussed how important it is that my research is coming from a valid and accurate source, with this in mind, Chris suggested having a look at the Royal college of Midwives blogs as they have a great range of discussions around current trends and topics in midwifery. Chris also suggested getting in touch with the Manchester Universities school of Midwifery, as they may be able to help with pulling a focus group together. I have since contacted Alison Busby from Manchester Universty and am awaiting a reply. Finally, Chris also mentioned looking into the local NCT groups in Warrington to see if I can talk to mums who are experiencing baby's sleeping problems. This is something I will look into once I have a sample I could take a long talk, though.

 

Overall my time with Christine has brought a lot of reassurance and confident to the product, she was very impressed with my level of knoledge and extent of research. She ended the conversation by exclaiming, "I do hope this works out for you, as it will be a game changer for a lot of us"


Bibliography

BBC (2002) Foam mattress link to cot death. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1935034.stm (Accessed: 3 August 2016).

Choices, N. (2016) Reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/reducing-risk-cot-death.aspx (Accessed: 3 August 2016).

Rowdeford School

So at the minute my MA research is focused on what stimulates us as human beings and further to that what helps us to relax and become less stimulated. To date I have found that we are generally over stimulated by the daily bombardment of visual and auditory communication. Having an opportunity to let our minds be still and take a moment to be at one with ourselves it's becoming more and more of a rarity.
To start my research into techniques and products that help humans to relax and unwind I visited Rowdeford special School, who cater for students with communication and interaction challenges.

By visiting Rowdeford School I had hoped to gain an understanding of current products available on the market that can help children who finds daily life stressful.
Within Roweford School there is a sensory room, reserved for students who need some time out. The room is full of predominantly visual and auditory stimulus. The sensory room is similar a children’s soft play area, there was a projector with aslowing turning disk that created a constant moving image on the wall of the room. there was also a large glass tube that had bubbles coming up, beside this tube were some interactive coloured buttons that allowed the children to change the colour of the bubbles. there was also a soft, felt Wall that had tiny fibre-optic within the surface much like a starry sky. they also had a cupboard full of objects that were very tactile and recative to touch.

Each of the three children who were in the room whilst I observed it had a favourite item, when discussing this later with one of the TA's Nicki, we discussed how each of the children had quite specific and unique Learning and communication challenges which had resulted in them having unique favourites.

The fabric fibre-optic wall was for some children very relaxing and tactile yet for others the lack of order became quite a stressful experience. She expanded by explaining how some children need to find patterns and consistency within their environment. for these none 'neuro typical' children each experience must be explored on a case by case basis.
we discussed how the product I hope to create would focus on a Neuro-typical customer, and Nicki suggested that repetitive regular rhythms would be relaxing for the neurotypical mind. Regular speeds were also calming.

We also discussed the feeling of being grounded; Nicki explained that some students required a weighted blanked to help them to feel grounded and safe.

From this research I have decided to further investigate neuro-typical humans, with the hope that I can create the products accessible to a generalised audience.  Further investigation is required into gender or age-specific clients.  Are there different benefits calming benefits at different ages to different sexes different times in your life? Research now into the most stressful times in human’s life is required.

Human Physiology

Our day to day experience of reality and the world around us happens through our senses.

A sense is a faculty by which outside stimuli are perceived by the brain, each sense, therefore, can differ from human to human depending on how one's brain interprets said stimuli.

Our human senses are split into two different groups.
Our exteroceptors detect stimulation from the outsides of our body. For example smell & taste. The interoceptors receive stimulation from inside our bodies. For instance, blood pressure.

While we are taught there are five exteroceptor senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste) and no one doubts these, having been classified since the days of Aristotle. Other researchers argue that "true senses are bodily systems consisting of a group of sensory cell types that not only respond to a specific physical phenomenon but also correspond to a particular region in the brain." (Cerretani, 2014)
From Harvard Medical School researchers to neurologists, most recognise additional human senses, however, ask how many senses humans have and you’re bound to receive a range of answers. For now, we’ll have to continue to rely on our five standard-issue senses.
 

Taste and Smell; are clasified as chemical senses because the receptors they contain are sensitive to the molecules in the food we eat, along with the air we breathe.

Vision needs both the eyes and the brain to process any information. The majority of the stimuli is done in the eyes and then the information is sent to the brain (often the cerebral cortex) by the way of nerve impulses.

Hearing; the ear is the sense organ that collects and detects sound waves and plays a major role in the sense of balance and body position. The sensory receptors are hair cells that are extremely sensitive to mechanical stimulations.

Touch is the first sense developed in the womb and the last sense used before death. The skin is the largest and one of the most complex organs in our bodies. With 50 touch receptors for every square centimetre and about 5 million sensory cells overall.

So for humans, our sense of vision largely dictates how we perceive the environment around us, unlike most other mammals who's sense of smell dominates their world. Vision is also the most well-developed sense in humans, in terms of complexity, the amount of brain area used, and advancement over other mammals. (King, 2012)  Alongside vision's dominance smell is key and plays a large "role in social communication, detecting emotional stress in others (‘emotional contagion’) and of course during eating." (Curnoe, 2015)

Senses are a balance between the brain (neurological) and the body (psychological) if this becomes unbalanced or damaged, "some phenomena like synaesthesia and referred pain can cause a 'confusion' of our processing or understanding of input."(Muniz, 2015)

"Synaesthesia is a condition where a sensation in one of the senses, such as hearing, triggers a sensation in another, such as taste. For example, some people with synaesthesia can taste numbers or hear colours."

It is also interesting to consider what would happen should all input signals were to a suddenly cese. "We would still have the memory of their functionality, and ... because our imagination is the conscious experience of these senses and their actual functionality or employment is not necessary for us to perceive the experience of using them." (Muniz, 2015)


Bibliography

Cerretani, J. (2014) Harvard medicine. Available at: http://hms.harvard.edu/news/harvard-medicine/extra-sensory-perceptions (Accessed: 5 July 2016).

Human physiology/senses - Wikibooks, open books for an open world (no date) Available at: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Human_Physiology/Senses (Accessed: 5 July 2016).

King, P. (2012) Which one of our five senses is best developed? Available at: https://www.quora.com/Which-one-of-our-five-senses-is-best-developed (Accessed: 5 July 2016).

Curnoe, D. (2015) Making sense of our evolution. Available at: http://theconversation.com/making-sense-of-our-evolution-44591 (Accessed: 5 July 2016).

Muniz, D. (2015) What would happen to/in our brain if we lost all five senses at once? Available at: https://www.quora.com/What-would-happen-to-in-our-brain-if-we-lost-all-five-senses-at-once (Accessed: 5 July 2016).

 

Paul Tempest - external input

I have just had a wonderful, quick and informative catch-up meeting with Paul Tempest the director at Ferrious; a high-end design interior shop in Manchester.

His advice is clear: get making, get messy and start creating!
"Have you played with projection and LEDs in different light formations? Have you looked into moiré patterns? Have you been to the Whitworth gallery to see Nico Vascellari’s work?"

So really what I’m thinking is a) to break each day down into research in the morning and playing in the afternoon and then blog, blog and blog at lunchtime.

Also, I set about researching the areas and visiting the shows he had suggested!

Nico Vascellari’s instalation at the Whitworth gallery. 2016.

FMP ponders with Dave Grimshaw

After finishing version 1 of my Learning agreement, Dave Grimshaw and I sat down in the muggy, humid café at Benzi building Manchester, Feeling to cool air breeze in from a nearby, the ajar door was lovely, and we set about discussing my learning agreement.

Dave’s initial advice and overview were to add more depth to my subject area. Rather than breath, I need depth! The bringing together of key ideas with an academic rigger, quotes and well-built arguments. Not just my own opinion and self-justified ideas.

Dave also suggested my ‘end user’ area was far too broad and I must focus on the where; defining the actual area. It is true that a children’s waiting area in an A&E unit will be very different to a gentleman’s club in Soho or a Hotel lobby in Yorkshire. A decision for future blogs.

We also discussed an area for further research – to understand what exactly the experience ‘is’ that I want people to have? I need to understand the experience we humans have and how we describe our feelings, when seeing/ experiencing these natural ‘moments that cause you to pause’

With the introduction of my ‘key images,’ (see above) the discussion moved onto the difference between
a) the effect of the object - ‘Poetic Ripple’
b) the object itself 'Mariko Kusumoto'

So we then discussed how it was the object plus light that was of interest, how the object looks alone is lovely, but upon adding light that is when the magic happens. So the effect of the object can be a bonus. Again some reading and justification around this is needed.

 

The effect of the object is almost a bonus, an extra element because you still need the object to have an effect of the object. This is an interesting consideration, would the reflection, the shadows and the effect of the object be the main focus or the object itself and how that recasts to light. A discussion around how we feel about objects vs – the effect of the object is needed.

Here you can see how the effect of ‘light’ with dry ice can give an ‘experience’ - Sou Fujimoto – light beams also the Mischer'Traxler interactive glass bubbles for Curiosity Cloud installation at the V&A 2015.

Could this work then, be more of an installation rather than a stand-alone product? Space where a sensory, visual, auditory experience takes place.  Another area of exploration is, in capturing the natural ‘moments’ will the experience need to be a whole body experience, entering a space rather than becoming aware of the object and its effect on the surrounds.

Even a product that gives you an experience, much like the lava lamp, or the poetic ripple.

 

Talking through the images further, discussing how with the poetic ripple, each product could and potentially is slightly different – hand blown glass can be controlled to a certain degree, then the rest is out of your control. This is an interesting consideration, much like the work of Ian Mcintyre, with 1000 plates. Controlling some elements then allowing other to be unique and individual give each piece an identity and natural feel. Could this uncontrollable touch make the product feel more like the ‘experience’ we are trying to capture?

This can also be said for the Roger Hiorns: Seizure room, as seen in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park last week with my mum. The crystals are an organic formation, controllable to a certain degree.

 

This brought us onto the phrase ‘Natural individuality’

One thing that is true across most of the images of my inspiration is that the materials make the object both literally and philosophically. It will be the material properties, abilities and limitations that define the objects experience.

Moving then to consider the fuel for this product, the background research must centre around the deeper cultural resonance of the human condition of our time. The constant pressure we have to fill our lives with stories and photos of what we are doing rather than just doing it, experiencing it and being present. The question is how does it benefit your mental well being to shut off and relax for a moment every now and then?

I also had a skype conversation with Daecan, once of my close friend ds who I studied with last year at MMU – check him out. We talked about the lava lamp and poetic Ripple as capturing your attention in the way a fire or sunset can. And this was the direction I was going down when discussing capturing the attention.this gave some insight into the area I was focusing on.


Questions and actions taking forward …

Reference and Read – 50 processes book.

Where will this product be used?

I need to understand the experience we humans have and how we describe our feelings, when seeing/ experiencing these natural ‘moments that cause you to pause’

A discussion around how we feel about objects vs – the effect of the object is needed.

Experience or product?

The question is how does it benefit your mental well being to shut off and relax for a moment every now and then?

 

Richard Dawkins – the blind watchmaker. – nature vs god.

Frances Ween – mumbo-jumbo. – how

Simon Amstel – social media

 

 

Design thinking

Discussing the design direction of my Final Major Project with Dave Grimshaw, last week, has helped to direct my research topics for this week ahead with though provoking questions...

During the previous module; CUTE values, I found the predetermined 'problem to solve' and the subsequent brief gave me a perfect amount of boundaries. I am, therefore, keen to have a 'brief' of sorts, for the final major project, this thinking is in line with the direction I discussed off the back of my tutorial with Jane Webb.

Initially, Dave and I discussed questions to ask prior to the FMP; to help inform and clarify any design direction:

  •     What's the area of my practice?
  •     What's the emphasis? - How will I outcome this - with an app, product, service etc.?
  •     What's the inspiration?
  •     Define what I mean by 'Great' when answering the above!
  •     Understand what I want to achieve by October 2016. (GRADUATION!!)

We discussed the multiple directions I was currently interested in going down and Dave suggested breaking down what the main thing is for me and my work - what is the nucleus to my work, the element I don't ever want to drop?

As we discussed my current ideas in further depth and started to talk through my initial answers to the questions above, we discussed how for me, I am interested in:

'how light can transform a surface.'

this can be anything from daylight through to an LED, but its that moment when the light is turned on, there is a transformation, an uncovering of depth, detail and more. Light adds another dimension.

As the use of daylight is also an option, this enables this project to go outdoors, no longer bound to a power source, there are options to play with natural light, the daily rhythms of light, and the way this can play through shadows and direction.

When talking about nature and art, Richard Long, Andy Goldsworthy and James Turrell are key figures of inspiration.

We then talked about how it's about the way you feel, as you are experiencing this product/piece that is important to me. Something that is not permanent or static. It captivates you for a moment and brings some sense of 'pause' during a hectic day, a moment of mindfulness and a small rest for the mind.

  • Could I create products that promote a moment of mindfulness?

Looking back to the above artists, their interventions and collaborations with nature, create an experience visually for the viewer, triggering you to stop for a moment and be in awe.

Could I capture some of the things in nature that are just beautiful - box the experience? Focusing on the everyday subtle changes that we take for granted. Taking a moment to notice how we respond to the emotional visceral surrounding.

So the final question is: how can a mindful, natural experience inform product?

Competitors

While working as a 3D designer at Tigerprint it was common place to receive an existing product that a manager had bought from a 'comp shopping' trip and be instructed to creating something in line, similar or inspired by. Coming onto the MA I was introduced to the idea of design methodologies. Creating new ideas by thinking in a different way. Approaching design in a much more fluid and serendipitous way. Playing with materials to see if you can create something. exploring, playing, making and then stopping and looking. A much more time hungry and free way to design.

Coming to the CUTE values module where a design direction and structure were in place, really helped me to clarify my thoughts and develop my ideas generation and thinking in an organic yet controlled manner. Following the brief and customer persona creation, we were encouraged to go and look at the competitors. Exploring both online and in store.

This is something I did twice. Initially to help to refine my thinking and clarify which of the many areas I was interested in, was the most viable or the least visited. then secondly when I was finalising my design and wanted to see the components and corresponding prices points available on the market.

The first set of competitor research created was based mostly online. As you can see from the images below I approached each of the problems identified by my persona and searched for products that solved this problem available on the market.

This proved to be a very useful task, both for the process of seeing what was out there and also to understand that a lot of 'what is online' doesn't actually exist yet!

A lot of the products available on google images or Pinterest are concept designs, have been created, realistically and are 100% believable but not available yet. From this images above I have since found out, x5 are rendered/concept work!

For my second set of customer research, I visited the biggest Evan Cycles in the land. By Manchester Trafford Centre and here I spoke to one of the evan cycle assistants and ran my ideas past him. his thoughts were very customer focused and really feed into some of the final customer consideration. He was really interested in the idea of the lock being something more than a lock. His main suggestion that was off topic but GREAT was - a small fashionable bag that men can cycle to the pub with and then carry in without look like a fool. An area to revisit for sure.

 

I have really enjoyed and even thrived on the boundaries and timelines given in this module. I enjoyed the process of having to create a brief for myself. Identifying and user and creating a persona for them. Being able to refer back to these gave me a good mark in the sand. They changed along the way and Dave and Hayden encouraged this, but it felt reassuring to have decided on something.

This is where I need to get my work too, the standard of product designers out there is mind blowing. Solidworks 3D rendering software and photoshop are fantastic tools used correctly and I intend to create

Design Methodology

While studying at university for my BA, my design methodology was largely concerned with process and experimentation - exploring techniques that spanned ceramic's, metalwork, laser cutting, screen printing, papermaking and origami - my creative journey was a very hands-on tactile experience.

Moving from education into industry with a job at Marks& Spencer design office called Tigerprint I was exposed too a much more cutthroat and efficient way of working. Creativity was encouraged and I was able to flourish as a designer, however, the design process was heavily brief driven. Why design something if there is no need, or space for it to be sold. Having such a quick turn around in the design office (a brief each day) meant there was very little time for exploration, creative pondering and design methodologies to be explored.

Coming back to education to study my MA here at Manchester Metropolitan University I was introduced to a much more theoretical and conceptual approach to design thinking. If I'm honest this was initially a real struggle and I found myself craving design briefs.  As the year has gone on I have found myself appreciating that the way you think and the questions you asked as you approach a design problem strongly influenced not only the ideas you have but also the final product outcome. If you’re trying to design a new bedframe and all you look at is existing bed frames, you are unlikely to come up with a new concept. While studying on the MA I have been introduced to a company called IDEO who have a much more user-focused approach to design. If you are still designing a bed frame then the design process would be about building bed frames, lying on them, talking to people who sleep on them, looking at people who sleep on them - it’s all about the problem, observing it, living it, experiencing it and then hopefully coming up with a solution.

The module we are currently undertaking called CUTE values of product design, for me is inline with IDEO’s approach to product design. Being based in the engineering school they have a much more pragmatic and realistic approach to design. Creativity and conceptual thinking are as encouraged however there is also a user or a persona involved in the process. I have found the initial research, user persona creation and the brief identification process wonderful. There are no limits to the persona or brief you can create - allowing you to be as safe or as wacky as your imagination will allow, however there are boundaries. You set yourself boundaries from the start and your product must fulfil these boundaries.

As I’m approaching my final major project here at MMU I feel I will take on the CUTE values approach to product design. I have found the boundaries to be a reassuring limit on my imagination. As somebody who can quite literally come up with 100 ideas everyday the ‘no boundaries approach’ has left me almost like a rabbit in headlights.

Branding and Product Identity

To successfully pitch this product to the general public, consideration to the brand identity must be taken. This product is aimed at the 'working female' market and the brand must represent this.

When looking at women's sports apparel the trends forecast by WGSN are shown above. I feel these are not inline with the styling of our female customer. I will research further into popular female brands and their styling.

While searching for 'female branding' I found many examples of feminist statements through brand. This is not the sort of message this product needs. Therefore I turned my search to an innately female product – makeup, and the branding of popular and ‘current’ brands.

Above you can see images from Benefits makeup collection, their use of retro styling and 1950's pinup female styling with a tongue in check narrative will appeal to the young trendy female audience.
"Nice package"
"Enhance your AHH appeal with fabulous makeup"
" Flawless with a side of FAB!"

A similar style of commentary would be great for the advertising campaign.

Topshops makeup range has a very distinctive Branding. Their use of gestural mark making pattern give their product a playful sophisticated look and feel.
There use of monotone pallets with a clever placement of colour (usually vibrant) completes the look. Their has a hand drawn feel yet is easily readable. There are elements of this range that will feed into my branding. I am also Very inspired byTopshop's make up slogan - DESIGN WORK LIFE


Looking directly on pinterest for Logo and brand inspiration brings up a lot of commercial and polished branding ideas. Below are a few examples of my favourites.

The branding should be able to reflect Key features of the product with the use of wording, icons and slogan. The key features of this product are the Electro magnet. Finger print technology, keyless locking, lightweight nature and wearability.

 

Belt lock           E-lock          electrolock

 First attempts at the brand identity.

First attempts at the brand identity.

I have noticed a trend across platforms I have been using in the last few months where black and white imagery teamed with an overlay of 50-80% opacity of colour is being used. Keeping in mind the other ideas that are developing around 1960 female iconic images and the marking making patterns. A real look and feel is starting to organically develop.