The project for MCEN 5055 (Advanced Product Design) was to build a novel product from the ground up within a semester. The focus was on identifying and addressing an unmet need through product design. As part of this course we created a comprehensive business plan which can be found at the bottom of the page. The challenge my group took on was:
1. To increase comfort and aid sleep on an airplane with an ergonomic device
2. Analyze the business validity of the idea
Design Process
I was the primary prototyper & researcher for my group of three. To start we brainstormed possible solutions and created the concept map below. The product went through several iterations to arrive at an innovative pillow and several more to arrive at our final design. Throughout the semester we were interviewing and testing with users to see if we were still on track with meeting the need.
Our final product was a travel pillow, aka "Smart Pillow" that was lighter, more convenient and adjustable than traditional choices. It features a U-shape design and a secondary pillow.

Our pillow incorporates three inflatable compartments in the pillow lining that can be inflated or deflated using a built-in pump. This allows the user to inflate the pillow to satisfaction, increasing the height and width of that section of the pillow and providing the necessary support for that resting position.

The secondary pillow is attached to the primary pillow with pinch clips. This pillow can be slid around to offer even more modularity. For instance, it can fill the hole of the primary pillow, converting the device into a flat cushion to use laying forward or as back support.
Although I believe this is a good solution, I think there's room for improvement. A few more rounds of testing with higher fidelity prototypes and I think we could have made something great.

Smart Pillow

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