In my previous world, I was blessed with a successful company designing and manufacturing seating solutions for persons dependent on wheelchairs for their mobility. Originally a practice of custom seating for persons presenting severe fixed orthopedic deformities where the primary objectives were orientation of the head in space and optimization of their activities of daily living. This practice evolved into standardized seating solutions that focused on comfort, positioning and prevention of ischemic tissue trauma.
The development of these rather sophisticated designs required a significant amount of research on anthropometric standards and material dynamics as well as studies including pressure mapping, spine function and orientation in space to optimize the users experience.
It was the outcome of this process that contributed perfectly to the CoreChair human interface.
The aggressively sculpted seat is a carry-over that is effective in promoting an upright pelvis and uniform pressure distribution to enhance comfort. The low back support works with the seat to embrace the pelvis and further enhance this neutral position to promote greater natural extension of the spine while in the seated position.
With the patience of a plethora of allied health care professionals and friends, family and acquaintances, we tested the system in clinics and offices to learn how it affected comfort and positioning on a variety of body types and sizes. We then sought out Dr. Jack Callaghan, PhD, Canadian Research Chair at the University of Waterloo, Department of Kinesiology and a renowned researcher in the realm of ergonomics. Initially we embarked on a couple of pilot studies to gain some credible scientific feedback on the design and how we could improve it. Then, after implementing this knowledge in tandem with practical field trial feedback we returned to Dr. Callaghan to perform a full kinematic study on how the CoreChair performed relative to traditional office chairs and the exercise ball.
The outcome of this study provided validation that the design performed as intended and allowed us to continue tweaking design features to make it even better.
An evolving design began to take form and the engineering took it to the next level. At this phase, we had to decide if we were going to introduce a low-priced commodity solution or press on to create a robust product that would encourage people to move and enjoy a long life expectancy of their chair. Opting for a high-quality solution CoreChair is essentially over engineered to achieve this. Following BIFMA/ ANSI quality standards the chair was designed, engineered and tested to exceed expectations of traditional chairs with the key measure being a dynamic durability test that exceeded 1 million cycles.
Sensitive to the environment, durability is a key design feature to ensure that we don’t find it contributing to a land fill site. We also designed it to use either recycled or recyclable materials and the efficient packaging ensured that we were able to leave a smaller carbon footprint with user friendly assembly.
Next was the stage of tool design and manufacturing to ensure high standards of quality control and repeatable production on larger scales.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Journey.