Improve a Carrying-Device

Client:

Dartmouth College

Role:

User Researcher

Engineer

Tools:

Interviewing

Prototyping

iMovie

Deliverables:

Working prototype

Class Presentation



Assignment: Create a better carrying-device.

Dartmouth students navigate multiple different environments and activities every day. They have to carry many things with them, but at times the current systems for carrying things can be bulky, awkward, inconvenient, and even unhealthy. Essentially, we want to help Dartmouth students better manage the things they need to carry with them by creating better carrying devices. ​



Analyizing market for carrying devices:

Upon receiving this assignment, my partner and I conducted interviews with extreme users such as athletes who carry gym bags on top of their backpacks and hikers with large packs on their backs, to the regular majority of students who generally carry a single backpack around all day. Eventually, though, we realized that a carrying device could refer to anything, really, ranging from a card holder on the back of your phone to a lunch box, laundry basket to trash bin. Ultimately, we settled on a problem that we saw many students deal with on a daily basis--tangled earphones.





Problem:

Dartmouth students need a way to store and retrieve earbud-headphones easily.





Establishing user-need:







Background: Apple improves the technology of all of its products, except for headphones.

In 2001, Steve Jobs announced the world’s first ever iPod. Within the past 16 years, Apple has gained a monopoly over the personal tech industry. According to a study in 2012, 50 percent of all households in the United States are home to at least one Apple product. Basically, over 55 million homes have at least one iPod, iPhone, iPad, or Mac. With each iteration of Apple products, focus is given to the main piece of technology: the phone or the laptop. Their companion components, such as chargers and headphones, however, remain relatively the same. Despite improvements to Apple’s hardware and software, Apple had failed to fix a crucial pain-point for many of its billion users: the dreaded headphone tangle.

Physicists have actually done a study in which they tumbled a wire in a box hundreds of times and then used mathematical knot theory to analyze them. They identified 120 different types of knots and concluded that stiffer wires were less likely to form such insane tangles. Interviews with Dartmouth students confirmed this theory. We realized that the issue of tangled wires was particularly a problem for college students who are always on-the-go and don’t have much time to spend untangling wires.





Prototype and Demo: Portable pouch with spool mechanism.

We decided to put a mini pouch on a backpack strap for quick and easy access. The pouch is detachable and can be used in a variety of ways. Inside this pouch is a spool mechanism that allows the user to roll their headphones in or out.

View of backpack with bed-4-your-buds attached.

View of bed-4-your-buds up-close.

Up-close demo of bed-4-your-buds device.






User-feedback + User-DEMO:



Positive

+ “I like the way it looks. Can I customize it?”

+ “I can put this thing in my pocket, too?!”

+ “I like the easy access.”

Negative

- “It’s a little bulky.”

- “I wish the headphones were easier to wrap around.”

- “The spinning mechanism is so intuitive. I just wish it was a little smoother.”





Next Steps:

If I were to continue with this project, I would work on making the pouch itself less bulky, implement an easier wrapping method, and attach a smoother zipper.