Design challenges have become a great research tool for Eastman. We take our materials to a group of young industrial design students to challenge their thinking (and sometimes our own) in creating an advantageous product with our materials. We not only take away new insights, but also educate the future designers about materials in our portfolio.
The University of Cincinnati’s Industrial Design program is a fast-paced program that prepares young designers to be industry leaders. The program is highly experiential, and equally values “design thinking” and “design doing”-a perfect setting for a design challenge.
The Eastman team and Paul Backett, industrial design director at Ziba, presented the material brief on Eastman Embrace™ copolyester and the challenge to develop a feasible and useful concept for Embrace outside of the packaging world. Participating students were randomly placed in 5 teams, each team given one of five themes: medical, rescue, sport, transportation, and architecture, less than 10-hours to design their concept, and 15-minutes to present for judging. A timeline was outlined to help keep the teams on track in each phase: research, frame, explore, refine, and finalize. The winning team would receive not only praise, but brand new iPad’s as well.
“We haven’t participated in many design challenges in the past,” says Peter Chamberlain, assistant professor of industrial design at UC. “It struck me that one of the main positive aspects of the experience was to take what we had taught them about design process and apply it to an actual problem outside of the core curriculum.”
In the end, the winning concept was developed by team medical, which included Cameron Bresn, Karyn Georgillis, Allison Manares, Tim Zarki, and Emily Ziegelmeyer. The team designed bandages of various sizes that fully utilize Embrace to make it snug and seamless. It is used with a heating element that allows the bandage to “shrink” comfortably to the body. The concept showed good use of the materials attributes and quality of final product.
After the challenge, we asked the winning team about their design.
Eastman: “What was the inspiration for your final design?”
Team medical: “Our design was inspired by the need for better bandages that can effectively protect cuts and bruises on body parts that experience the most movement. The bandage would hold up to children playing outside and keep the wound clean. We also were inspired by busy parents who want a quick, reliable, and trustworthy way to tend to their children’s minor scrapes, cuts, burns, and bites.”
Eastman: “What were some of the challenges your team faced with the material and design?
Team medical: “We had to consider how to allow for shrinkage to multiple differently sized body parts and people. We also had to be very careful with our design to protect the Embrace material so that it isn’t affected by the integrated heat generating device until it is meant to be shrunk. We were also intrigued by the materials strength when shrunk, as well as, how as a flat material it can be manipulated into a 3 dimensional product.”
Eastman: “What does your team like most about your final design and believe it deserves its keep in the world?”
Team medical: “We like our design because it provides a new solution to an everyday problem that parents face. We feel that it is a convenient, unified solution for storing, dispensing, and applying Embrace bandages. The pre-medicated bandage design takes the guesswork out of treating minor injuries, and most importantly, is kid-proof, leaving one less thing for parents to worry about. Thanks to Embrace, our design provides a sturdier, seamless bandage solution for children and adults alike.”