Pushing the Boundaries: Adaptive Design at the UO

The Product Design program at the University
Oregon is a one of a kind Master’s Degree program in the United States and
possibly in the world. It’s an opportunity for the students to have
one-on-one end user experiences. This term we’re working with quadriplegic
athletes who play wheelchair rugby. It’s a full-out contact sport… (Wheelchairs slamming) …for people who have limitations in
their arms and legs. The coach of the US wheelchair rugby team gave us a list of like five products that they want us to work on. And so for this studio I’m
working on a heal stabilizing system that will attach to the footplate and
then wrap around the leg to lock the player’s leg in. Right now I’m developing a glove. What they do right now is they buy like cheap $3 gardening gloves and duct tape them onto their hands. So just figuring out a way that to meet the same garment that is suitable for their needs versus trying to make them like accommodate a poorly designed glove. When you’re designing for the end user
you are empathetic and you begin to feel what it’s like to actually be that athlete. and that’s really what great design is about. It’s listening to the voice the athlete
it’s emulating what the athlete is experiencing and and designing for that
moment. (Traffic passing) Today is like the big energy day. We like to call it concept debut But you know it’s really a final review of their concepts, what they’ve been working on all year. And it’s an opportunity for them to really shine. I mean like most here would say, it’s never really done there’s a lot of things I wish I could
have done little bit differently but I’m overall pretty happy with where it’s at
right now. I’m excited. At this point there’s like no changes that can be made so you have to just like to go out there and sell it. These players really embody the
human spirit of adaptability and what they needed out of this equipment was reliability, durability and they needed something that adapted to their needs. I get to design, I get to build. I got to
know these athletes. What I do for fun is what I’m doing right now and what is going to turn into
my career. Is there anything more you can you ask for in a school?

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