Haag-Streit Reliance came to our third-year design studio. They asked us to redesign their ophthalmology workstation for the 2017 market. They were looking for a system that would add value to purchasing their entire line as opposed mixing their components with other systems. Special attention was to be given to the mobility problems of the elderly and patients in wheelchairs as they related to eye exams. The unit was also to be installed on the floor as most clinics didn’t have the infrastructure to support mounting the test equipment from the ceiling. Up to this point in my design education, I had strictly followed the direction of my instructors on the generation and evolution of concepts. For this project, I chose to deviate from the more traditional path and use form studies to explore new opportunities of functionality. As opposed to looking for forms to accomplish known functions, I was ideating forms without specific functions in mind. The goal was to envision innovative functionality through unique forms. To do this successfully I needed very open-ended inspiration. I chose the theme “retro future”. Instead of looking to what we currently believe the future to hold, I looked at the future through the eyes of 1960’s America. There was plenty of imagery to work from. The ball started rolling quite nicely.
The final concept presented quite a few innovations from the current design. The entire system pivots around a base station. Mounted to the base station is a tower used to bring the instruments down from above. This allows the instruments to be raised up and out of the way of patient and Doctor interactions. The Chair is capable of rotating out of the way to accommodate a wheelchair. The controllable pivot in the chair is the seat allowing you to raise the chair to an appropriate height and then lowering the patient’s legs into a standing position. This reduces a large amount of strain on patients who have trouble getting into and out of the deep procedure chairs in service.
At this point, through working, I had realized that I was most likely not going to get a job with as few restrictions as I was presented with in school, so I started pushing my projects more towards the blue sky. There are quite a few holes in this project’s feasibility, the least of which isn’t by any means cost. The concept does little to inspire patient confidence, and the delivery system is whimsical beyond manufacture-ability. but – During this project, I did learn to do some amazing things with solid works. I fell in love with the process, and I became a much more confident sketcher and presenter.