There is an unmet need and demand for stress relief and performance enhancement in the realms of employment, rehabilitation, and athletics. The problem might be addressed through the exploration and integration of new technologies—Bluetooth, smart phone, sensors / electronics, and textiles mindful of betterment, function and style
In 2017, massage therapy was a $16 billion industry in the US. The massage therapy industry is projected to have a growth rate of 22 percent from 2014 to 2024. The massage equipment segment is projected to be a billion dollar industry by 2022. This data emphasizes the demand for massage therapy and the space available for innovation and alternative solutions.
The purpose of this IPRO project is to undertake R&D toward the making of alternate / new massage wear product prototypes for various body zone applications—upper / lower – legs / arm, back, torso, etc. Reference research could include, but will not be limited to: acupressure, acupuncture, aroma-therapy, hydro-therapy, biofeedback, chiropractic, reflexo-therapy and Reiki. Prototypes could be in the form of athletic clothing (including wraps, bands, inserts, etc), rehabilitation / wellness accessories, prosthetics, etc.
The initial inspiration for this IPRO project is the observation of the demand to improve athletic endurance, performance and enhancement. Additional applications include health and wellness rehab and general relaxation (for all ages). Framed in a more specific way, this IPRO project will pursue enhancement and rehabilitation body architecture via tech enabled textiles.
There appears to be limited published product R&D in this space despite market depth. There are case examples, however, including:
Understanding the end users and their needs, uses, and expectations for the proposed product(s) will be a critical part of progress and reflection throughout the course. IPRO team prototypes will be evaluated based on their user desirability, technical feasibility and business viability.
This IPRO project will embark on a design / making process that will prepare, evolve and present research findings, analysis of data, creation of logistic diagrams and models, the fabrication of working prototypes and cost analysis related to the problem and objective. With a once-a-week (Thursday evenings) class meeting, the 2.5 hour class will be comprised of team coordination, review of progress from the previous week via visual / verbal presentation and discussion, advancement of team / individual responsibilities, and setting forth goals for the following week.
This IPRO project offers students from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to explore multiple approaches to a problem and prepare solutions that have both technical, social, and wellness relevance. The team will explore important industry knowledge and trends. The course will be relevant to the disciplines of computer science, architecture, design, material science, electrical engineering, business, biomedical engineering and social sciences, etc. Teamwork, communication, logic / reasoning (leveraging prototyping and analytical thinking) and time / project (process) management will be critical to achieving the course objective. We will also discuss and evaluate the ethical implications of the course’s subject matter. The success of the course is achieved when students have raised the bar or set the stage for moving the bar related to the course problem and objective through methodical, rational and visual presentation.