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Intrepid - Designing for Ability


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Industrial Design project exploring concepts to make outdoor sports accessible to disabled adventurers.

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Intrepid - Designing for Ability

  1. 1. DesignForAbility|Caravans Alexander Hillary
  2. 2. Raised in New Zealand, I have always maintained an interest in the arts. At a young age I participated in a young artists programme, from here I moved on to become passionate about photography. Over the next few years this passion took me all over New Zealand and abroad searching for new and better locations. At high school I began working in Design where I designed a sustainable beach house perched upon the cliffs at my families property on New Zealand’s west coast. The next couple of years led me to delve into Industrial Design which I immediately took to. At the same time my enthusiasm for long exposure light painting grew, this project turned in to one of my proudest. . Everywhere I look, I see good and bad design; this drives me to want to design better products. My design philosophy is to create objects that people enjoy, while being as environmentally and ethically friendly as possible. STUDIO CONTEXT This project was completed for an RMIT University studio called Design for Ability. The studio looks at responding to industry requirements for a caravan that caters to a growing disabled demographic. As a method of responding to this challenge the studio focussed on using computer design techniques to present the design ideas. With CAD as a standard industry tool we went a step further and explored the applications of virtual reality in industrial design. Alexander HILLARY Upon entering the course my focus was to enhance my skills in CAD which after man many hours practising I feel I have done so. This process has meant that I am now in a position where I could produce CAD models of most designs in my future projects. This project has also taught me huge amounts about project management and allocation of time and resources.
  3. 3. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page3 STUDIO ABSTRACT Design For Ability This Studio is about a design challenge to create a next generation concept caravan for disabled users. The goal is to develop this model in 3D Digital modelling and then prepare a Virtual Reality prototype for presentation. The studio required an in depth research and analysis into wheelchair ergonomics, functionality and general characteristics. The research demanded an engaging and empathetic immersion into what it is like, living with a disability. From this point a radical concept was proposed and then developed to meet industry level expectations. We have been further challenged with a secondary agenda to feature modular design elements that can be constructed, modified and be reconfigured as needs arise and updated as technology allows.
  4. 4. To gain a first person experience of what it is like to use a wheelchair in the real world, some fellow designers and I headed out into the city to see what day to day life is like from the seat of a wheelchair. We came to realise that the way we have designed our world acts as a constant reminder to a disabled per- sons disadvantage. Simple tasks are never simple. At the NGV their stan- dard elevator was broken, meaning we had to use the freight elevator, requir- ing security to escort us throughout the gallery. There was a constant feeling of dehumanisation from the way people treated us, to the clinical and industrial feel of disability services. The experience taught me much about the functionality of a wheelchair but most importantly, it provided me with the incentive and desire to try and enable people with disabilities to get outdoors and push boundaries in- stead of staying constrained by their wheelchairs. An example of this is Bob Coomber, from California, USA who has attempted numerous times to cross the Sierra Nevada mountain range. With a specially designed car- avan, Coomber’s adventures could be much more achievable. EXPERIENCING WHEELCHAIRS Small irregularities in the ground that are commonly overlooked in day-to-day life as well as the design process can be- come testing obstacles. Wheelchairs require large turning areas which can become an issue in tighter, more dynamic environments. The issue of accessable height and usable space is accentuated from the wheelchair seat. Being in a wheelchair often results in special treatment. This can be dehuman- izing, leaving disabled persons feeling like second class citizens For disabled people in wheelchairs, life op- erates at a different level to everyone else. Small tasks like reaching for a tram but- ton or light switch are more complicated. Maneuverability is also vastly reduced in tighter spaces, making busy trams or small caravans difficult and awkward.
  5. 5. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page5 Disabled adventure sport is becoming increasingly common. PROBLEM STATEMENT Design Oppurtunity Disability is a very confronting and dif- ficult obstacle in a persons life, creat- ing or maintaining an active pursuit of adventurous or even active sports can be difficult. It requires significant moti- vation due to the raft of difficulties that come with being in a wheelchair. Thus, Intrepid aims to alleviate this and aid ad- venturers or aspiring adventurers to get outdoors and participate in the sports that they are entitled to try. In terms of ergonomics, the caravan is a complex space as it is very vertically orientated. Entering the caravan and maneuvering inside is a trying task in itself. lntrepid is targeted towards all disabled adventurers, young and old, however, demographically middle aged middle class customers are the largest type of clients of caravans in Australia. Living in a space designed for a different elevation comes with a raft of issues. Despite the more obvious issues of line-of-sight, problems also arise with lighting glare. Seemingly minimal design decisions can be a constant hindrance to wheelchair users. Intrepid Philosophy The Intrepid series for Jayco caravans is to be the beginning of specialised cara- vans that allow disabled adventurers to access the outdoors and engage in, the sports they love, with the people they love. Intrepid aims to provide the most effec- tive and enjoyable living experience in- side and outside the caravan. It is the Intrepid belief that features to aid disabled users should be subtle and understated, yet innovative and efficient. Intrepid strives to embody the pursuit of adventure, and facilitate the endeavors of those that are physically disadvan- taged yet uphold an Intrepid spirit.
  6. 6. PERSONAS & SCENARIOS OF USE Morris was diagnosed in his earlier twenties with MAMA which is a disease that progressively removed the use of his legs. At a young age Morris was always active and outdoors. After his incident he developed an interest in adventure sport. Using customised wheelchairs, Morris is able to go hiking and downhill mountain biking. Because of this, he takes three wheelchairs with him; one also for indoors and general use. Photography: While sport is his priority, Morris has always liked photography as it is a wheelchair friendly activity. Skiing: Morris has become an accomplished skier in indoor snow sport gyms. Morris’ important work position means he requires a space to work, even when on holiday. In total, Morris normally takes his hiking chair, MTB chair and normal multipurpose chair with him on holiday. Harry Gill has been disabled since birth but is otherwise fit and strong and loves the thrill and adrenalin of adventure sport. He is determined to give his son; Ryan, a shot at the childhood he wished he lived. Without a caravan their family holidays are a financial and logistical difficulty. Harry’s wife; Linda, enjoys the trips but prefers to relax in the caravan. During work days, Harry is very busy so he hugely values this time outdoors with his son and wife. Ryan and Harry often read and play games when inside... Extra surface space is needed for this. These spaces would also be used for sorting and fixing outdoor gear. Patrick Morris 30 y/o | Environmental Engineer. Harry Gill 46 y/o | Founder of Home Building Company Intrepid Scenario of Use lntrepid is designed for short to mid- length adventures (2-7 days) with up to 4 people on board. The sleeping arrang- ments allow for both friends or family set-up. lntrepid is designed to accomodate all adventure sport activities, however, it specialises in kayaking, hiking, moun- tain biking and snow sports. The inte- rior and exterior has been designed to facilitate these activities. Although in adventure sport external conditions can prevent activity, thus the caravan is de- signed to accomodate days inside with extra surface area for photography and gear sorting/editing. The caravan is capable of navigating rough terrain and snow/desert condi- tions.
  7. 7. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page7 BENCH MARKING & PACKAGING Market Analysis With Jayco dominating the Australian caravan market, what competition will they face in the disabled caravan niche? A variety of different companies mod- ify caravans to suite wheelchair us- ers, however, the following compa- nies produce specialised wheelchair caravans. In addition these companies all cre- ate very generic designs intended for tame environments. Jayco’s Intrepid will find its niche here, in adventur- ous and capable, wheelchair-freindly caravans. Proportional top view of a standard wheelchair. Occupant - Environment Relationship Caravan’s are compact, vertically orientated spaces that are not conducive for effective wheelchair living. Despite this, there are adaptations to cur- rent dimensions and standards that will make standard caravans designs wheelchair compatable. To gain a rough understanding of how a wheelchair moves within a cara- van I dimensioned the blue prints in Photoshop to proportionally match a wheel chair (the blue rectangles) using the dimensions below. Only maneuverable space for a wheelchair. Slide-out space doesn’t provide enough room. Entirely unreachable space by standard wheelchairs. Entrance not wide enough to admit wheel- chair. Jayco Silverline blueprint sourced from Testing a wheelchair in a scale ‘caravan’ environment.
  8. 8. FOLD-OUT DESK BED 1 FOLD-OUT DESK ENTRANCE BED 2 ROBE PANTRY BATHROOM BATHROOM SLIDING DOOR KITCHEN OVEN FAN LADDER BED 1 BED 2 FOLD-OUT DESK ^ Two tiered bed configuration facilitates 3 people. < Sketch showing ladder access to second bed and fold down-and-out desk. Bathroom has a fluid single surface floor, with a lip at the entrance to stop water spillage. This allows unobstructed movement within the space. Aircraft style lockers lower the shelves to a more accessable height for wheelchair and able bodied users. > Latch on base of locker. > Hanging handles allow WC users to easily maneuvre themselves into the bed. < Bedside space contains the wheelchair when not in use. ^ Fold-out tables allow for able and disabled use in a variety of configurations. Under seat storage SKETCH DEVELOPMENT Developing Design Elements lntrepid is designed for short to mid-length adven- tures (2-7 days) and therefore requires all the attri- butes that the user may use in that time. In addition, due to the nature of the caravan, there is a strong chance that the caravan is required to be self con- tained and even self powered. These sketches inllus- trate this as well as other design featues.
  9. 9. 18ft ^ Aerodynamic design lowers fuel costs ^ Solar panels are slanted to prevent snow, dust or water buildup. The angle also maximises sun reception. The awning has double the amount of structural support to withstand strong winds. > Entrance lift mechanism is subtly placed in the caravan rather than outside. < Rooftop wind turbine can be raised from within the caravan, > Rail system around the cara- van perimeter allows easy disabled access outside. > Lowerable roof rack/workbench provides a WC friendly platform for outdoor gear maintenance and storage. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page9
  10. 10. BATHROOM BATHROOM SLIDING DOOR FRIDGE KITCHEN FOLD-OUT DESK BED 1 FOLD-OUT DESK ENTRANCE BED 2 ROBE OVEN FAN LADDER BED 1 BED 2 FOLD-OUT DESK CONCEPT PROPOSAL The initial concept proposal for Intrepid was created from the sketches shown previously. The concept was essentially an adaption of existing Jayco designs to a wheelchair and outdoor sport context. The design allows for easy wheelchair maneuvrability due to the wide passage way. A pnuematic floor lowering system means that there was a fluid transition between indoors and outdoors. Lowerable airplane style lockers allow WC users to access higher storage compartments A single bunk bed increases the capacity of the caravan, facilitating a child or friend on the journey. Fold out desks expand the surface space of the caravan for gear preparation or other leisure. A single kitchen table seat allows the WC user to seamlessly slip in to use the table. 5000 (Interior Length) 5200(Body Length) 2470 (Width) 6200 (Travel Length) Aesthetic inspiration for the design.
  11. 11. KITCHEN FOLD-OUT DESK BED 1 ENTRANCE BED 2 FOLD-OUT DESK BATHROOM BATHROOM SLIDING DOOR FRIDGE DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page11 MID SEMESTER PROPOSAL Developing Design Elements The proposed floor plan is based off my other floor plan concepts. I felt this esign maximised available space in a dynamic way while maintaining a disability friendly setup. Radicalisation of Design After a previously bland design proposal I sat down to envision a very radical concep- tual caravan. My vision was of an autonomous large wheeled vehicle that was capable of operating off the grid. This exercise was intended to inspire my design development.
  12. 12. CAD DEVELOPMENT The CAD process was a steep learning curve for me. starting with the sculpted exterior I began forming the basic internal blocks of the design. From there I developed the chasis, after which I had a solid ‘foundation’ to begin detailing the internals of the caravan. After this point I began detailing and editing where I saw fit, with the most notable change being to the windows and the addition of the solar panel indent. The caravan is made up of individual bodies categorised in components for both organisation and to allow for the joints which can be seen in the image below (blue joint symbols). The walls of the caravan are curved which ads difficulty to the interior cabinetry. This meant that each body created that intersected with the wall required combine cuts to remove the material. This process worked effectively but limited my ability for editing the surfaces further down the track.
  13. 13. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page13 Late in the CAD process I learnt that the VR software; the Unreal Engine, does not allow for material applications to surfaces on bodies. Thus my exterior and interior walls would be the same. This lead to a complex process of creating a secondary interior wall which proved extremely difficult due to the complexity of the form. Due to the addition of suspension and the rear rack and ramp many features and alterations where made to the chasis to ensure the caravan had a solid base. The bottom left image shows the shower floow which is a flat platform with gaps for water to run through and then drain away in a sink below the floor. This design, also visible in the bottom right, means that a wheelchair can be used easily in the washcloset. The front bed fram had to be positioned correctly so as to not collide with any internal features. The front wall extends out making the bed 2/3rds longer. These functions were created using as built joints.
  15. 15. INTREPIDEnabling the next generation of disabled adventurers. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page15 CARAVAN VISUALISATION EXTERIOR
  16. 16. CARAVAN VISUALISATION EXTERIOR Intrepid’s twin axle suspension, sleek design and aerodynamic sportinge-quipment rack ensures that driving is efficient and swift.This mobile unit is self reliant for the running of its appliances such as the induction stove, fridge and lighting. These are powered by both solar and wind.
  17. 17. The extendable rear rack allows for easy storage of bicycles, canoes, moped and other large equipment. With the moving number plate and lights; the system requires very little set-up. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page17 CARAVAN REAR RACK
  18. 18. Pnuematically powered extendable ramp allows for wheel chair access through the sliding back door. CARAVAN VISUALISATION REAR
  19. 19. A wind turbine on a telescopic pole can be mechanically raised 4.5 metres to generate electricity for the caravan’s appliances. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page19 CARAVAN VISUALISATION INTERIOR
  23. 23. The bathroom door way has only a small lip to stop water leakage but otherwise has no change in surface gradient due to the ‘grill’ style shower drain. To allow for disabled persons to shower, there are rails on all walls to assist maneuvrability, in addition there is a fold down seat which can be used in place of the wheelchair. To make washing easier there is both a set shower head and a movable hose head. The interior of the Intrepid caravan is quite a dynamic design with still a very vertically orientated space. The single bunk bed is essentially unusable to a wheelchair user. However, lowerable lockers hand rails and wide amnueverable passageways mean the the majority of the space is available for effective use by wheelchair users. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page23 CARAVAN VISUALISATION INTERIORCARAVAN VISUALISATION INTERIOR
  25. 25. DESIGNforABILITY|AlexanderHillary|RMITUniversityIndustrialDesign|Page25 To migrate the 3D CAD Models that I created in Fusion 360 into the VR platform the models had to be exported using .obj files to import into the Unreal Engine for materialisation. The materialisation process proved cahllenging as many of the materials and textures did not perform correctly. After substantial trouble shooting, a solution was reached; importing .step files, exported from Fusion A360 drive into Rhinocerous to convert into a workable .fbx that allows free and correct material application. This process was successful and I was able to complete the materialisation of the Intrepid conceptual caravan. After this I mocked up a quick 3D environent using the landscape sculpt tools in Unreal in conbination with Epic Games stock features to add detail. CAD TO VR
  26. 26. INTREPID
  27. 27. REFLECTION At the start of the research component of this project I became quite comfronted by the first person experience we did in wheelchairs. The public in Melbourne city presented mixed reactions that in some cases were rude and others overly kind. This experience taught me the weight of stigmatization on wheelchairs and disability in Australian culture. From this point I became determined to design with subtlety, removing the clinical and sterile nature of disabled design. I wanted to make a product that suited their needs but didn’t highlight them. The research component was quite long and I found myself struggling to maintain perspective. In retrospect I am frustrated with my management of time and attention, as this ramified through the semester. The design component started with me looking at the design possibilities very pragmatically, without any radicalism or innovation. After our initial concept proposal I rethought my design direction and started to approach the design process differently. For too long I refrained from getting stuck in to the design process. In future I intend this to be a constant throughout the research, design and modelling stages. Once I started looking at the design of the Caravan differently I started to approach a design that I believed suited my brief. However, the jump from this stage to CAD Modelling threw me. Being relatively new to CAD and completely inexperienced in Fusion 360, I spent precious time learning the software. With time running out I wa able to begin forulating my design. As I didn’t have a solid design at the outset, there was significant modifications to the design during this CAD process. In the end I was pleased with the model however It lacked interior detail. In addition, I was disappointed as there were some features I was unable to include due to my lack of expertise. When it came to rendering I enjoyed the process, despite frustrating software issues as well as the loss of my entire CAD animation. Despite the obstacles I am proud of what I have learnt in CAD, rendering and VR. While I have huge amounts to learn, I feel I have a strong foundation and renewed motivation to progress further in computer aided design. t stuck in CAD and stopped designing. v Image: Intrepid roof-top solar panel configuration with wind turbine port on the lower right-hand side. Extend-able rear rack holds outdoor equipment such as mountain bikes, ski’s, off-road wheelchairs and mobility scooters
  28. 28. FIN