Master Graduation Project, Spring 2022
Sports Guard for Prostheses
Positive design for child amputees' play
This project was graded with a 9.5/10 and will be featured in the December edition of Dutch Journal of Positive Psychology in a review written by Pieter Desmet.
Preteen boys socialize primarily through contact sports, yet amputee preteens often feel insecure on the soccer field. This is because they view their prostheses as not fit for exercise, even though they functionally are. The sports cover for soccer facilitates a mental shift in how children view their prostheses to boost their confidence. The action of putting the sports cover on signals to its wearer that the prosthesis has transitioned to its sports mode. In addition, the compliant mid layer provides protection for other players on the field by dampening oncoming impact.
This graduation project takes a positive design approach, focusing on designing for children with limb differences with their psychological wellbeing as the main concern.
I employed positive design methods to understand the sources of unmet or unvoiced needs, priorities and preferences children have. As children differ from adults in their cognitive, emotional and language skills, I leveraged principles of design for children as well as psychological research into children’s development to develop my own methodology, a set of guidelines to communicate with preteens to uncover their motive hierarchies.
Analysis of products on the market was conducted through a lens of to what extent they fulfill fundamental psychological needs of preteens.
The research phase drove the construction of “moments”, analysis of current interactions the target group currently experiences in which design can provide value.
One of the scenarios is playing soccer with friends. I analyzed the current interactions the target group currently has on the soccer field and contrasted this to the desired alternative. The contextual, behavioral and functional allowances of this context guided ideation.
formgiving and memetic study
The final idea selected is a shin cover designed to boost the amputee preteens’ self-confidence when playing soccer, through facilitating a mental shift from daily to exercise use.
When donned on, as if plate armor, the prosthesis cover visually transforms the prosthesis. The auditory feedback of the snapping cover and buckle provides confidence that the cover is attached properly. 3D printing is explored as an enabler of the lightweight, compliant mid-layer which dampens oncoming impact.
The prosthesis cover for football is a novel design that addresses a problem that was unknown to all but the people affected by it.