The original muscle beach

A new beach experience for users with limited mobility.

Role

This is an individual project.

Time

Brief

14 weeks

To imagine the future of beach play for any groups of people who love beaches.

Keywords

Functional apparel design

Apparel construction

User-centered research

Testing

Research

Location

-Santa Monica Original Muscle beach

The original muscle beach is a unique area within Santa Monica beach (south to the Pier) first established in the 1930s for fitness training purpose.

It is now a space with fitness equipments and friendly ambiance that people go for training.

A lot of professionals and amateurs perform tricking, a type of martial arts, together on the Original Muscle beach.

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User research

Persona - Lupita H.

  • Does not have full mobility in her legs. She does not have the ability to stand up on her own.

  • She can control her legs but needs to use wheel chair on a regular basis.

  • Passionate about sports and activities.

  • I met Lupita during a surfing event on Santa Monica Beach. She was enjoying surfing with the help of the volunteers.  She was very excited about the idea of doing tricking performance.

"I am not the strongest,

but I dream big."

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Empathy map

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Main pain points 

  • She needs a lot of extra support and protection on the beach while she wants to feel independent.

  • A very limited amount of activities are made possible for her. She wants to try different activities.

  • She does not want to feel like the person the the position of being helped. She is a strong person who is capable of doing more things then current situation.

What if

Lupita can push her limit beyond other people's expectation?

How might we

help Lupita become the tricking performance superstar on the beach despite her limited mobility?

Strategies

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Using existing equipments

The original Muscle Beach has tons of existing equipments that can be utilize to help Lupita achieve her goal.

Adapting tricking movements

Tricking movements can be adapted to a version that is feasible to Lupita but still impressive to the audience.

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Ensuring safety

When designing for Lupita, safety is an important criteria. It is the key to a pleasant experience for her.

Seeking Possibilities

1st round ideation

-What activities can be made possible for Lupita?

While there are so many activities on the beach, which ones can be made possible for Lupita with the help of the new product?

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Activity Selection

- Tricking performance

Tricking performance is a kind of martial arts. The Original Muscle beach is a very good place for the performers to practice and meet each other.

 

Lupita was amazed by the tricking performers on the Original Muscle beach and loved the idea to be able to be a performer which she never thought of doing before.

Out of all the ideas above, I chose to explore more about the tricking performance.

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Concept 1

First concept is a device to help Lupita do flips which are very frequent in tricking performance.

Feedback

  • The sand can get very hot, so performing on the ground becomes hard.

  • The physicians I interviewed does not recommend imposing force straight on user's back, which can potentially cause injuries.

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Concept 2

The second concept is a body suit in which that Lupita can use her arms to assist leg movement while on the beams on the original muscle beach.

Feedback

  • Safety is important to this concept.

  • How easy can it be to get it on?

  • There is a lot of pressure on belly part when trying to get on the beams.

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Concept 3

What if we can replicate the visual effect of tricking performance with the movement of sand?

Feedback

  • How do we create more variations of pattern?

  • How long can this stay interesting?

  • It is very uncomfortable wearing gloves during summer in Los Angeles.

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Decision

-Which concept works the best for Lupita?

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Testing

The body suit concept has the most potential to evolve and involves more possibility for different movements.

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User

"I like the body suit a lot because I can actually wear it to the beach without carrying equipments and looking weird!"  -Lupita

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Value Proposition

To make Lupita elegantly perform tricking art on the beach like a superstar as we promised, the body suit can possibly provide the most opportunity to look and perform like a professional.

2nd round ideation

-How to adapt tricking movements for Lupita?

Major movements

1

Tornado kicks

Legs kick up in the front

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2

Front tucks

Flips forward

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3

Butterfly kicks

Legs kick up in the back

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Comparison

-Methods to get her on the beam to use the product

Inspired by two methods of lifting ourselves in activities, the solutions aims to provide a more comfortable and easier way to let her get on the beams on Santa Monica beach.

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Inspired by limbing gears

Inspired by aerial silk

Testing

  • The areas where she will be pulling on her legs need to be more steady.

  • It requires a little force to pull her self up to the beam. (see video)

  • Back of the waist feels very hot with the gears.

  • When doing the butterfly kicks, it is better to use shoulders as anchor points. Otherwise, arms are not long enough to pull and make the complete movement.

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Movements

Getting onto the beams

Making it Better

There can be cut-outs on the back

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Sweat pattern study

Back of the knees should be breathable

Where can more supportive materials be without compensating the capability of performing movements?

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Line of non-extension study

The structure around the waist should be "X" shape in order to make it easier to bend and twist.

Structure around shoulder needs to allow arms to make movements 360 degree

Knees should be able to bend freely

Manufacturing - 3D-knitting

Sustainable

3D-knitting overcomes the off-cut waste in traditional apparel making process, therefore introduced a way to have zero material waste in the manufacturing process.

Customizable

By applying different yarns and fabric structures, we will be able to have areas with different material characteristics in order to achieve functions as well as the patterns we want aesthetically.

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Brand

-who will be producing DARE body suits?

World Federation Tricking (WFT)

DARE bodysuit aims to cooperate with NGOs to offer the experience as a special gifts.

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Final Design

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Aesthetic pattern

Underlying material structure

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Major movements

Butterfly kicks

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Tornado kicks

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Front tucks

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Colorways

Beach sunset

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Tropical dream

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Summer breeze

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A day with DARE bodysuit on Santa Monica beach

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Lupita arrives at the original Muscle Beach in DARE bodysuit.

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She throws the strap over a beam.

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She pulls herself up.

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She uses her hands to help complete the movements.

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Lupita's movements impress a lot of people on the original Muscle Beach.

Building process

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Block out pattern

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Mock-up ver.1

Glue-on patterns

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Making sewing patterns

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Making sewing patterns

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Mock-up ver.2

Heat&Bond pattern in real colorway

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Paint fabric patterns

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Put together the suit

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Final model

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Next step for DARE (on-going)

Design doesn't end here.

With more feedback from the user and our design team, there are several directions to work on further for this project.

1. Does it need to be full suit?

One of the most important feedback is that for a location like Santa Monica Beach that is hot, a full bodysuit might not be the ideal method for an enjoyable experience.

2. What is the cost and price?

3. How to incorporate before and after in the experience?

(in progress)

Getting to the facilities in a wheelchair and getting out is also a critical part of the whole experience that needs to be designed.

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in progress