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TriFold

A multi-purpose smart jacket that can be transformed into a shelter for homeless individuals.

Discipline

Industrial Design

Duration

Team

5 Weeks

Chan-ho Park

 

“When you’re homeless there is no quarantine, or chill. Unless you’re the type that is comfortable laying on the ground in public.”

- UNTGaryOaks reddit user on r/homeless

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The Health Risks

"It's an enormous crisis superimposed on an existing crisis," says Margot Kushel, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco and researcher of homelessness in the U.S.

The homeless population is already at risk for many diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis A, and influenza, which spread easily in unsanitary environments. Their vulnerability to harsh weather conditions such as rain, wind, UV light and heat, and the cold can also severely compromise their immune systems.

Now, consider the effect that COVID-19 must have on these already at-risk individuals. 

+ Shelter Response

Public facilities such as shelters, soup kitchens, and churches are paramount to the survival of many homeless individuals. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19, these places have been driven way over capacity by the massive influx of individuals seeking basic amenities, medical care, and safe places to self-isolate.

In such overcrowded conditions, it has become increasingly difficult for homeless individuals to obtain the resources they need and for shelter staff to avoid catching the virus.

 

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Poor hygiene, exposure to harsh conditions, and exhaustion can severely weaken the immune system, making individuals more vulnerable to illnesses such as COVID-19.

+

We should build a structure for homeless individuals so that they may be less exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

+

We should build a product for shelter staff so that the client screening and resource allocation process may be more efficient for overcrowded and understaffed shelters.

User Personas

JOE / Homeless Individual / Age 52

Joe has been without a home for 20 years now. He often goes to shelters, but given limited space in his local shelters, he is left on the streets.

 

JENNY / Shelter Volunteer / Age 34

Jenny volunteers at an emergency homeless shelter. She has two small children at home and is scared that by unknowingly making contact with infected clients, she is also putting her children at risk.

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“It might be risky going to shelters, but I have nowhere else to go, no place to sleep, and nowhere to get food."

 

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“I'm scared that I'll miss something — that I won't notice a client coughing or breathing heavily, and that it'll cost us."

 

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User Journey

Design Guidelines

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Efficient

Is quick and easy for users to deploy and integrate into existing routines.

 

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Versatile

Provides all-in-one solution to meet several of the essential needs of homeless individuals.

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Low Risk

Reduces person-to-person contact to prevent the spread of disease, reduces exposure to harsh conditions.

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Ideation

Concept One - SMART JACKET

A multipurpose smart jacket that can transform into a shelter or a pack to easy transport belongings and reduce exposure. I had several ideas for possibly integrating a digital component:

  • a body temperature or heart rate monitor for shelter screening

  • a light indicator of user proximity to others (within 6 feet)

  • a light indicator of user proximity to shelter or public washroom

 

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Concept Two - POP-UP RESTROOM

A pop-up restroom which includes the toilet and a privacy tent. I had several ideas for possible expansions of this concept, such as including some sort of washroom counter, sink bowl, or storage. I also considered how we might make it more portable with some sort of pack integration.

Between these concepts and my partner's two concepts, a 360° shelter and a portable sanitation kit, we decided that the tent jacket had the most potential and continued to refine it.

 

+

Potential Features

+ waterproof tarp for one-person tent
+ aluminum tent frame (poles)
+ pack or sleeve to hold poles and small items
+ thermometer + data storage / scanner
+ inner jacket layer for blanket or sleeping bag
+ face mask attachment
+ instructions flap (for assembly or wash)

 

+

The Benefits

+ limits exposure to harsh conditions for homeless
+ all-in-one design is convenient for travel
+ allows for no-contact screening at public facilities
+ provides a more accurate client health report

 

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Similar Solutions

JAKPAK

Pros

+ all-in-one design (waterproof breathable rain jacket with integrated tent, mosquito netting, and sleeping bag)
+ lightweight design (medium size is less than 3lbs)
+ integrated suspenders to help distribute weight evenly
+ quick and easy setup
+ detachable tent and bag, can be stored separately

 

Cons

+ tent feature only covers the head, neck, and shoulders
+ limited range of movement in fully employed tent
+ no sense of privacy / security

 

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The Trench

Pros

+ capable of transforming into a 1-2 person tent with base and pole attachment
+ mesh back ventilation and mesh hand pockets
+ carabiners included to offer different styling potential

 

Cons

+ excess fabric limits range of motion
+ less approachable appearance

 

User Flow

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Refined Sketches

My partner and I explored how different flat patterns could fold into both a tent and a jacket. I tried to integrate the sleeve into the actual pattern, rather than having them be simply detachable.

I also considered the aesthetic form of the assembled jacket as well as formal details such as the placement of the thermometer and scanner patch and a possible face mask attachment.

 

Flat Pattern

Tent

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Tent

Jacket

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Further Details

Pattern Development

Paper Prototyping

We realized that we wanted our tent to be an A-frame rather than a dome for ease of assembly / clarity of the final form for the user. My partner and I thus continued to explore how different flat patterns could fold into both an A-frame tent and a jacket.

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Paper #1

+ forms A-frame tent
+ rolling sleeves
+ robe / cape-like form
+ lots of excess fabric

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Paper #2

+ forms A-frame tent
+ rolling sleeves
+ less excess fabric
+ more intuitive assembly of upper jacket body
+ less intuitive tent entryway
+ pouch places weight on lower back

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Paper #3

+ forms A-frame tent
+ rolling sleeves
+ less excess fabric
+ forms back pouch for storing small items
+ pouch places weight on shoulders, not lower back
+ more complex assembly

Downselection

We decided to move forward with paper concept #3 for its utilization of excess fabric, sleeve integration, and intuitiveness of assembly.

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Cloth Prototyping

I used cloth to create higher fidelity prototypes of our refined pattern.

Because we were in lockdown due to COVID-19, I did not have access to the materials to create a full-scale model on a human torso. Thus, I used Mr. Bear as an approximation of the human form.

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final pattern (attachments highlighted).

How it Folds

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1

Roll over sleeves.

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4

Attach front panels.

5

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Velcro excess for front pockets.

2

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Attach shoulder cover / hood.

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3

Fold panels back for pouch.

Color / Material

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Option One - CANVAS

Pros

+ breathable yet sturdy
+ less moisture retention
+ does not get too hot or too cold

Cons

+ heavy
+ more expensive

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Option Two - POLYESTER

Pros

+ lightweight
+ cheap
+ wicks off moisture

Cons

+ can get very hot or very cold
+ humidity can build up inside

We finally decided to use polyester, mostly due to its lightweight nature and affordability.

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Visual Language

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Privacy & Ethics

Because our product aims to address the needs of both shelters and homeless individuals through the use of personal data, we knew going into the design process that balancing the motives and sensitivities of these two parties would be a challenge.

What our product offers both parties is an opportunity for trust, collaboration, and increased efficiency in dealing with crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, whether or not this opportunity is utilized is solely the decision of the homeless individual. They must make the choice to seek out a shelter and consent to being screened for their personal data to be made accessible.

 

In summary, this is ultimately a design for the homeless individual. We maintain their right to privacy of personal data in the scanner’s detachability and the app’s privacy settings. Furthermore, the amount of data storage within the device is not infinite — the personal temperature data is only stored within the device for week-long intervals; afterwards, it is erased and therefore inaccessible.

 

 

TriFold

The Jacket

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Thermometer

+ situated on inside of the sleeve to provide more
accurate body temperature data

+ once in its tent form, jacket no longer tracks body temperature, but continues to track environmental conditions to inform homeless individual

 

Scanner

+ scannable patch by shelter or hospital staff to access stored temperature data

+ patch is detachable for users who wish to use the product without the data collecting feature

 

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Formal Features

+ forms one-person A-frame tent when supported by aluminum tent poles

+ forms pouch for carrying personal belongings on the back

 

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Tech Pack

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The App

Data

+ tracks weekly body temperature data to provide a more accurate representation of client’s recent health

 

Conditions

+ displays recent environmental conditions to give context to data and inform diagnoses

+ even when data tracking functions are disabled, it still acts as a detailed weather app to better prepare homeless individuals for harsh conditions

 

Records

+ shelter staff can keep notes on client symptoms and behavior to inform future interactions in facility

+ clients can write personal notes to reflect on their daily lives and feelings

+ clients and shelter staff can lock their notes so that they are inaccessible to each other for privacy

 

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The App: Client

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The App: Shelter Staff

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