Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting award-winning projects and ideas from this year's Core77 Design Awards 2012! For full details on the project, jury commenting and more information about the awards program, go to Core77DesignAwards.com
Designer: Jonathan Spoerke
Location: Georgia Institute of Technology
Category: Consumer Products
Award: Student Notable
Designed Obstacles is a piece of modular parkour training equipment designed specifically for use in the gymnastics or other controlled training environment. The design uses a system of anchor boxes and bars to create a large, stable training structure which can be quickly setup, reconfigured, and disassembled. The primary structure consists of 4 boxes. Additional boxes and/or additional structures can be incorporated as your gym size and budget allows. The training structure is designed to make use of the mats and other safety equipment in the gym environment, augmenting the system and providing an infinite number of training scenarios.
How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
I was watching the live stream on my computer at work. I had my headphones in so the people around me were a bit confused when I threw my arms up in excitement.
What's the latest news or development with your project?
My project has recieved a good deal of interest and positive feedback since I introduced it. I have a background in mechanical engineering as well as design so I have always been keen on making sure that the design could be manufactured. In my spare time I have been refining the design and am still evaluating how feasible it would be for me to bring the product to market.
What is one quick anecdote about your project?
One of the biggest questions I had to answer before I could introduce this design was 'will it work?' and the only way do that was to have people test it. I was pretty confident in my building skills but the user testing was still incredibly stressful. At one point, I remember looking up and seeing one of the participants about to jump from the highest platform onto a metal bar suspended between two of the shorter platforms. This was probably a good 4' jump and I my heart stopped waiting for the bar to fail catastrophically under him. It didn't. My family, who helped me with setup and take down, had a good laugh on the way home. The common sentiment was 'wow, I'm really glad that worked!'.
What was an "a-ha" moment from this project?
You know, because the design challenges presented by the massive impact forces and stability concerns were so important in terms of the success or failure of the design, there wasn't ever really an 'a-ha' moment in the early concept development. There was always a lingering 'yeah that looks good on paper....but it might fall over... or explode...etc.'. The 'a-ha' moment really didn't come until the user trials and I saw the prototype standing there in front of me with guys vaulting, climbing, and flipping on it. It felt great to see it work. It wasn't quite an 'a-ha', more of a 'ha- HA!....it works!"