The Aesthetics of Disability
Although the project brief didn't require students to build a physical prototype of their product or consult with an actual user, i chose to do so, as i am certain that both physical prototyping and user consultation lead to positive results.
My grandfather, having had a recent hip replacement, was happy to have me design a custom cane for him.
Below: a full scale tubular steel sketch model was created to determine successful and unsuccessful features. My grandfather recommended some changes to provide more comfort and described issues with his current cane.
Below: The final prototype was carve out of solid white oak with a CNC Mill. A template was also milled out to allow for future iterations to be made by hand.
Below: The final cane handle design. A plywood tang is visible. This provides added strength throughout the cane body. No tangs were used in the final design to streamline manufacture.
Below: My grandfather with the final prototype for the cane. His original cane is to the right of the image. His final remarks were that he would like a wider base. I let him know that the smaller base was an intentional choice, As he regains balance and strength through exercise. and time, the smaller base will be more beneficial. Although this choice was to provide him with motivation to improve his balance, he still uses both canes intermittently.