Feed on

Next Steps

After we presented to our class and talked to an expert in sports gear at RPI, we have received a lot of thoughtful feedbacks:

  • Wrong type of brace
    • The ankle brace we used for the second prototype is just a basic sleeve that wraps around ankle but not a ankle brace that can protect user from injury. So we need to change the brace to an actual protection ankle brace.
  • Store data to see improvements over time
    • As we mentioned in our initial concept, one of the functions we want to have is storing data of user’s movement that can be used for further analysis. We definitely will improve this feature in the future but will require some more work.
  • Strain gauges over flex sensors
    • We need to change the flex sensors to strain gauges for more effective measurements of user’s movements. For the flex sensor, it gets the work done but it is still a hard object that may obstruct user’s natural moves more than strain gauges, which is basically strings and measures how much it stretch. We want our product has as much minimal interruption of user’s natural moves as we can provide to users. In addition, the strain gauges are also not as easy to break than a hard flex sensor. We ordered some strain gauges, but due to a delayed package delivery, we realized they were way too small to work with. Therefore we decided to stick with the flex sensors for the initial prototype.
  • Sound as alternative to vibration
    • Sound is also one way of warning user when a bad movements happens. We want to provide both way of sound and vibration that user can choose by themselves based on their preferences.
  • Reduce device size to bare essentials
    • The size of the device is also a huge problem for a sport gear. When people is doing sports, they always want as more comfort as they can. However, our product with a big box is obviously an obstacle of comfortable product. We do need to change the size in the future. This will require a smaller microcontroller as the Arduino Micro might be a bit too big. Also, the size of the breadboard takes up a lot of space, which could definitely be improved.
  • Add more product types other than just for the ankle
    • As we have shown, the hit point of our product is basically the electrical part than the brace itself. These electrical components is universal to all other joints in a way. We can apply our products to other joints like knee, elbow, waist, and even every parts of your body, but this requires another type of brace.
  • Making our smart protection brace even smarter
    • We also consider about making the brace customizable for each user. In the future we are going to develop a mobile app for our product that can not only provide user’s movement data but also adjust the warning point of every users. Since everyone has different pliability,  some people have more move margin than others.