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Winner - Platinum
Competition: Spark:Fall/Winter Student
Designer: Andrew Schlecht
Design Type: Concept, Health & Medical, Product & industrial
Company / Organization / School: Academy of Art University
Team Members: Andrew Schlecht
Defender was conceived while researching protective equipment in skateboarding. Through surveys, stakeholder interviews and observations, I learned about a market need for a wider range of products that catered to the needs of actual skaters. Talking to my target users, I learned that at the skatepark they were experiencing injury in a quite avoidable way. Many are wearing headphones while riding, which disassociates them from their surrounding resulting in injuries. Additionally, the use of headphones discourages skaters from talking to one another. Skate culture fosters a huge sense of community and as more people become interested in joining that community due to recent exposure from The Olympics and other major sponsorships, the danger for that sense of community to be washed out becomes larger. Skaters must be able to come together and enjoy each other’s company in all skate spaces in order for traditional values to remain. The second piece of research which provoked this product’s design came from a study done by the National Library of Medicine in 2016. It states, that if small amount of pressure is placed on the jugular vein, it decreases the amount of damage done by repetitive head and body impacts to the brain.