Chris Gruijters / Industrial Design at University of Technology Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Industrial Design at University of Technology Eindhoven, The Netherlands
It was great to see an investigation into an often ignored category with an innovative use of cross industry technology.
The project started within the theme Wearable Senses, combining technology with wearables to create added value in society.
SAP is a compression bandage for military use, with a textile that has integrated super absorbent polymers with rich swell qualities. The blood that is lost during an injury is absorbed and the expansion provides accurate pressure on a wound, to stop bleeding.
With confidence I present you a concept that the Military
should already have used during the uncertainty of war.
When every second counts.
The initial goal at the start of this project was an ignorant thought about wearables and fashionable technology. A notion on a subject I didn’t know profound enough to quote that it ‘had just elevated from the phase of experimentation.’
Nevertheless, the end result has qualitative similarities with the envisioned objective from the very beginning of the project: An adaptive piece of clothing, reacting on preferably the human body.
My design process is distinctive by the continuous play of diverging and converging but realistic
focus. My conceptualisation is constantly elaborated by prototype development and finding confirmation. This realistic approach forced me to focus on details and innovate on a low level.
My innovation is short term – My innovation is practical.
And even if SAP as a product wouldn’t survive over time,
it will be there first.
During my extensive design process, I came across army technology.
The military is on the frontline of innovation – nevertheless the current level of gear that
is actually present at the literal frontline, is a manner of human instinct and basic fundamental
This enlightenment started the search for a better, faster and more-supporting product that can be reality in an acceptable period of time. A product which soldiers of today need but also deserve to have.
The importance of proper and supporting wound care in the pre-hospital phase of military injuries, realized by a new innovative compression bandage that responds to the injury and provides pressure.
The fact that such (unfortunately) important context like the Military has shortcomings is something I can not accept as a designer and as a person. I was aware and challenged with the restrictive attitude and requirements such a topic brings along and have put all my effort in practical innovation that can make a change, as soon as possible. I hope to evoke a sense of awareness on the level of support we provide for our soldiers and strive for an efficient and especially secure environment to operate in for the brave men and women who serve our countries.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The design process started with the initial goal to finally do something with the experimental phase of fashionable technology and the added value of technology in wearables. A state of mind that soon turned out to be ignorant and a subject that turned out to be well elaborated and used in reallife.
As a designer who allows freedom of thought and the ensurance that each minute used for exploration and inspiration is well spend, I allowed myself to explore the entire field of fashionable technology, fashion history and future perspectives that new technology brings.
Taking into account the effort and time I also wanted to put in a final concept, the rest of the process was the following:
Further explorations in the following three areas:
x Life, Technology and Materials
x Clothing History
x The Human Body
I have been carrying on my research in the field of the military since I thought I had
only touched the surface with my technology research and noticed how the military
had much more aspects which were interesting to link to wearables and clothing.
Main actions taken in this part of the process were:
- Exploring all aspects of the Military concerning their gear, equipment and outfit.
- Creating topics and research questions.
- Making an overview of all interesting aspects of Army Gear.
The ultimate goal of this in-depth research was to create a base of interesting elements
on which subsequently could be brainstormed and which could be connected with different kind of topics or directions, in wearables and the human body.
The diverse ideas from the brainstorm were all assessed on their strengths.
After the analysis, the explorations of the possible effects and strong aspects started. Two of the three concepts were properly explored, since they had most potential and fitted the personal objective.
After a midterm exhibition, it was time to decide on the direction of my work.
The super absorbent polymer had the most potential and the army was a challenging but inspiring context.
The next weeks included:
x market research (what is existing? what is wrong?)
x confirmation of the concept (official materials, inflation, blood)
x involving business (experts, new pressure tests and material tests)
x concept development
I found it most important to work with final materials, like LuquaFleece from BASF.
And also to involve possible partners like TNO, working on Military Innovation as well as people like Army medics, soldiers and hospitals.
I have spend the last weeks of the project on product development.
Choosing materials, developing intuitive interaction and creating reliable prototypes that would pass my pressure and user tests.
Finally, the application and context in which the SAP bandage would perform best is decided:
A compression bandage that is faster to apply than the current compression bandages
and gives the right amount of pressure, alike the thumb press technique.
The scope of injury types, varies from veinal to arterial bleeding with an emphasis on
those injuries which normally get an amiss limb-over-life treatment.
To drive the understanding of the concept, some facts on military health and injury are proficient:
- 90% of battle deaths occur in the prehospital phase
- the majority of the hemorrhage occurs on the battlefield
- about half of all battlefield fatalities are due to hemorrhage bleeding
- as many as 25% of battle casualties that result in death within 5 to 15 minutes following injury could benefit from rapid hemorrhage control.
These facts together with the stories of soldiers gave me enough motivation to create a concept that makes a difference and become a secure extension to the equipment of a soldier.
The SAP bandage:
+ consolidates numerous treatment varieties into a single unit
+ creating the immediate direct pressure to the wound site by material qualities
+ keeping the wound area clean and maintaining the pad/pressure on the wound firmly in place
+ quick and easy application and self-application; designed with the end-user in mind
+ significant treatment time savings