February 24, 2016

Looking Back at the Mid Grant Technical Review - The Technical Side

Our MGTR was a few weeks ago, and it went well. We got a lot of feedback on our design- both about its structure and its use. We had our first full-scale prototype out for atendees to touch and look at, which really helped them get a feel for our goals and our progress toward them. 

Right now our design consists of six brackets, which attatch to legs that go straight down, and spokes that run parallel to the ground and meet in the center at a hub. One concern that many voiced was that our spokes and hub created many uncomfortable lumps that would not lend themselves to a good nights sleep. One of our atendees suggested running our spokes at an angle from the corners down, towards the ground, forming a conical shape. This would spread the force more evenly across the supports, and make the whole thing less wobbly.

Another suggestion we'll definitely be looking into was the use of cables. Don Domes, our Lemelson Mentor, advised using cables or ropes for cross support between our legs, because of their minimal weight and high tensile strength. These cables would run from bracket to near the base of the leg, and would increase the stability of the platform. 

A few community members asked us about our testing process, and a few even offered help. Our contact from a local church is involved with the local homeless population, and has asked to collaborate with us in offering shelter to our own displaced people. We also plan to visit either a local manufacturing company or a near-by university and use their testing facilities, for real world data about our invention.

As strong as it is, the platform isn't the most comfortabe thing. One suggestion we'll be testing and perhaps implement is moving the center hub to the ground. The forces would be more equally distributed and, with proper tension in the trampoline, would be much more comfortable. 

Once we have a full sized prototype that's closer to the finished product, we'll explore how the instructions will look. This will also involve more research into the needs and wants of the end user, a process which will involve plenty of communication with our overseas mentors, one of whom is coming back stateside soon. They'll offer insight into things we hadn't consider, and we can't wait to collaborate.

Until next time,

McMinnville LMIT InvenTeam