How can we design a hands-free way for strength coaches and physical therapists to monitor accurate performance of common repetitive exercises?
Athletics | Wellness
Electronics | CAD | Iterative Design
Me as the product manager, leading a small team of 4 undergraduates helping with manufacturing and branding.
In Fall 2020 I was appointed the Director of the Projects-to-Products initiative at the Yale CEID. This initiative represents an effort from the CEID and Yale Engineering to make previously successful undergraduate student work widely available outside of Yale through dedicated work in industrial design, supply chain, branding, and business modeling. The Squat Box, the first former student project accepted by the initiative, is an exercise tool that allows a user to record specific depth for an exercise and then signals to the user when that depth has been crossed, both in repetitive exercises like squats and in isometric holding exercises. The Squat Box was inspired from challenges faced by the Yale Athletics strength coaches, who found that lifters often don’t know how far to squat down during weighted exercises, and that physical therapists need a measurable way to encourage consistency of depth during isometric stability holds.
Reimagining Student Design
The original Squat Box, created by a team of first-year engineering undergraduates, was bulky CNC-milled delrin enclosure. The depth recording and feedback, while functional, was unreliable and inconsistent, and the UI/UX had not yet been considered in the design process.
Iteration to Small Scale Production
I led the overhaul of the Squat Box enclosure design, electronic architecture, and code optimization. Electronics were simiplified and soldered onto a custom PCB, which was enclosed within a signficantly smaller and more ergonomic ABS plastic box. While 3D printed, the box is designed for eventual injection molding. To evaluate its viability as a product, I led the in-house manufacture of 50 redesigned Squat Boxes to be sent to university strength coaches, personal trainers, and physical therapists. This round of beta testing, to be completed in early 2021, will inform changes to the Squat Box design as I continue to lead the team now in market research and supply chain optimization.