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
Allayant is a paramedic uniform with a built-in adjustable artificial spine (spring) for back support. As the EMT bends over to lift, the back brace automatically adjusts, assisting the EMT in tightening their lower back muscles. With this built in back brace, EMTs can safely lift and transport patients and other heavy loads.
How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
I learned I had been recognized through the Core77 awards page once the Soft Goods category had been announced. I was grateful to have received very useful feedback from the jury.
What's the latest news or development with your project?
I have received a lot of support and encouragement on this project and have continued to further develop the prototype. I am continuing my research on materials and consulting with material venders to find the most innovative materials that are appropriate for the function. Currently the prototype is with IDSA and will be displayed at the gallery for the 2012 International Conference in Boston.
What is one quick anecdote about your project?
Throughout the project, I interviewed and observed EMTs and Paramedics maintaining the equipment they use and transporting patients. EMTs are amazing people with an incredible willpower to do their job. Every day, their backs go through an extreme amount of stress transferring weight up and down buildings. I learned that some ill patients become combatant and EMTs stabilize their backs as they climb stairs carrying and protecting the patient. A lot of their hard work goes unnoticed, sometimes placing the patient's safety above their own. All that led to my decision to choose to design around issues of back pain. I am very touched at how quickly people get the idea, right away they tell me stories about their back pain. I think everyone can relate to the issue of back pain.
What was an "a-ha" moment from this project?
I started designing and building prototypes of sliding plates that would lock and unlock to create a ridged yet flexible structure around the lumbar. The material I was cutting had resiliency and I got the idea of creating a spring to support the spine. That was the "a-ha" moment, when I created a hinge for the waist and a spring for the spine with my prototype. The spring would flex with she curvature of the spine and slightly pull back to prevent the user of hyperextending, while the hinge would add needed pressure to support lower back muscles.