Jean Lin / California College of the Arts
The jury was particularly impressed with the thoroughness of the research behind ArmRay. Building intimate connections into the user’s life helped establish a design that really answered their needs.
The opportunity is to increase the visibility for the wheelchair users when they are traveling at night. The project is a wearable light wristband that project light; the light can illuminate the user’s arms with light pattern. It also includes a small whistle on the top of the light so the user can get more attention from vehicles and people by sound.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Wheelchair users are lower on ground; they are hard to be seen by drivers of large vehicles. The wheelchair is also a wider structure, they usually use multiple bicycle lights to have driver’s attention. The wheelchair users also need an object like bicycle bell and car horn that helps to make sound to inform people.
The main challenge I had was to think about a simple solution that require less energy and also easier to access for the wheelchair people. I also want to design a tool that doesn’t appear specifically for disabled, but it can be used by other people in different situations with varies of lifestyle.
I choose to incorporate customizable light patterns in to my design because young wheelchair users also like to decorate their wheelchairs. My concept is to design a product that not only solve the safety issue but also give them a new life style.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
During my research, I went to watch and join wheelchair basketball practice. I made some wheelchair athletes friends, some of them were born disabled and some of them were injured from accident. Those athletes are just like normal people, they play sports, go crowd surfing and even sky diving; even though they are disabled, they don’t want people to feel that way, they still have their own life style.
I did some ideations and prototypes to think about different ways to increase their visibility. I thought about the main moving part of a wheelchair user is they arms, so I chose to have my product to place on the wrist, it can create light motion when the wheelchair users are traveling. Also, they can raise their arm to let large vehicles to see them when they are crossing a road.
Projecting light on the body increase more visibility, because it increases the surface of light and it helps drivers to identify the subject. Also the choice of color green is the best color for human eye to see in the dark.
The pattern on the band helps to identify left and right. When the user wears the product, the pattern will face the user; it helps to locate the product on the wrist.
I chose to incorporate whistle into the design is that users can blow the whistle when they are in emergency situation. The whistle doesn’t require energy and it is cheaper to manufacture.
The light does not only solved the safety issue, but also serves as a decoration piece. Although it was designed for wheelchair users, other people such as bikers and skateboarders who travel at night can also adopt this product into their life. I want this product to show positive energy on wheelchair users and hope to give people a different perspective. “Being on a wheelchair can be cool like skateboarders.”