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EASY KNEES for discreet kneepad usage AMANDA TIBERI SENIOR THESIS PROJECT 2013/2014

Table of Contents 1. Why? Illustration 2. Problem Statement 3. A Solution? 4. The Real “Why?” 5. User Interview 6. Mind Map 7. Mood Board & Word Cloud 8. Worship 9. TKR 10-12. Research 13. Target User 14-15. Existing Product Research 16. Other Ideas

17. Foams & Fabrics Research 18-19. Market Research 20-21. The Data 22. Dual Functioning 23. Sketches 24. First Prototype 25. Model 1 26. Final Model 27. The Secret 28-29. Final Product 30. The Difference 31. Reflection 32. References


I want to influence people by crating

WHY? I design because I want to make a difference in the world. Everything can be made better and I want to be the person that does that.

My passion has always been design and I want to influence the most amount of people that I can. I love design and I want people to love my designs.

simple design that makes their lives just a little bit easier. I plan to work really hard to get myself to the top of the design world so that I have the opportunity to make whatever I want.

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The Problem?

The problem is that people with knee replacements or knee problems cannot kneel comfortably while trying to perform everyday activities, especially while worshipping.

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A Solution?

A solution would be to invent a small, sleek, and sexy kneepad that can be worn under or over pants so that people can kneel comfortably whenever they need to, especially for worship. Tiberi 3

The Real “Why?”

The real reason why I decided to do this project is because my grandma has both of her knees replaced and has gone with my family to Sunday Mass for as long as I can remember. I would always notice that she could never kneel when the rest of the congregation was kneeling. It almost felt like she was being left out of the community, because she stuck out like a sore thumb as she stayed seated while everyone else knelt. Isn’t that one of the reasons people go to church or temple? They want to feel like part of the community. When a person with a knee replacement can’t participate with the rest of the community, they are immediately left out. Maybe that would even deter some people from going to church. I want to stop that. I want everyone to feel comfortable to kneel and I want them to feel like an important part of the community, because they are an important part of their community.

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Barbara has two Total Knee Replacements and hasn’t knelt in over 10 years, for fear that she might hurt herself. When asked if she would use a kneepad that was made especially for people with knee replacements, she said she would definitely try it. Tiberi 5

Mapping It Out

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simple personizable






comfortable sophisticated





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Buddhism-Temple-Monastery Christianity-Church-Temple Hinduism-Temple (Mandir) Islam-Masjid (mosque)-Musalla Jainism-Jain Temple Judaism-Synagogue

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What is a TKR?

TKR stands for Total Knee Replacement, which is a surgical procedure to replace the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint to relieve pain and disability.

The surgery consists of replacing the diseased or damaged joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components shaped to allow continued motion of the knee.

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TKR Research -Knee replacement was the 14th most common impatient procedure in 2009 -More than 4.5 million Americans are currently living with at least one TKR, and make up 4.7% of the population age 50 years or older -Over 650,000 knee replacements occured in 2010 -Knee replacements increased by 84% from 1997-2009 Tiberi 10

The Stats -37% are males, 63% are females -5.3% of American women and 4.1% of men over the age of 50 have at least one TKR -10% of Americans age 80+ have at least one TKR -In 2010: 11,833 ages 18-44 years old; 275, 666 ages 45-64 years old; 351,209 ages 65-84 years old; 17, 315 ages 85+ -95% of patients report satisfaction with TKR procedure -90% of TKR’s last 10 years, 80% last 20 years Tiberi 11

TKR Surgeries In the next 20 years, TKR surgeries will increase by over 300% Currently, one million TKR surgeries are done each year In 20 years, almost four million TKR surgeries will be performed each year Tiberi 12

(in millions)


Target Users: Ages 50-85 Tiberi 13

In Comparison Easy Knees


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On the Market high comfort

visually unappealing

product opportunity

visually pleasing

low comfort

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Other Ideas Cusion Kneeler Tops? -can be retrofitted for churches -small fitted sheet that has gel/memory foam & fits on top of existing kneelers -velcro straps to hold it in place

Portable Cushions? -might be supplied by churches -churches would buy as many as needed

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Foams & Fabrics

Ensolite is an energy absorbing foam originally developed by NASA to protect pressure from damage. It has virtually 100% memory and is waterproof.

Neoprene is made of synthetic rubber material designed to act flexibly, is soft, durable, and practically water proof. It exhibits good chemical stability and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range.

Urethane is used in some mattresses. Because it is artificial, the foam can be made to a particular density, which means it can have different degrees of softness or firmness.

Soft shell fabric is water resistant, breathable, stretchy, and closefitting. It is very versatile and user friendly.

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All Possible Markets?

1.8M people

Shelf Stockers

10M people

22.1M 133M people

Religious Followers

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100M households

Home Improvement


Yoga Enthusiasts

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The Data

20 people interviewed 1. What is your knee status?

2. Do you kneel at church?

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3. Would you use a knee product in church if you were ensured it would not hurt you?

4. Would you prefer a kneepad or a kneeler?

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Dual Functioning What if the product could function as a kneepad AND a kneeler? It could transform from one to the other simply and effectively.

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First Prototypes

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Aspects to consider: 1. strap(s) must not pinch behind knees 2. nothing can touch incision site 3. must be easy for people with Artritis to handle 4. must be thin enough to carry in purse or pocket

Model 1

After prototyping, Barbara (my grandmother and inspiration) helped me sew together a first model. I decided to use ensolite and urethane for the final foams and had just enough sample sizes for this model. It was very comfortable but was still missing the design elements for my final design.

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Final Model

Final model includes: 1. stretchy straps that do not touch behind the knee, therefore prevents pinching 2. a middle slit on inside foam so nothing touches the incision site (can’t be seen, but can be felt) 3. snap attachments (although final CAD design has ball and socket magnets) that are easy for people with Artritis to use 4. only 1� thick for easy carrying in purse or pocket

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The Secret The secret to the success of Easy Knees are the combined foams. Each side to each kneepad has .5� of top quality foams, Ensolite and Urethane. Ensolite is an energy absorbing foam originaly developed by NASA to protect pressure from damage. It has virtually 100% memory and it waterproof. Urethane is used in some matresses. Because it is artificial, the foam can be made to a particular density, which means it can have different degrees of softness or firmness.

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The Final Product Kneepad form and Kneeler form shown.

Easy Knees as a kneepad.

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Attaching Easy Knees as a kneeler.

Easy Knees connects each pad with magnets that are easy to clasp, especially if a person has arthritis. The device can be worn either around the knee like a kneepad or can be knelt on, acting as a kneeler. There is a slit on each part of padding that comes in contact with the knee. This slit ensures zero contact with an incision scar, which in turn ensures no pressure or pain on the knee replacement. The straps are stretchy to fit all knee sizes and can be pulled or shrunken when kneeling on the kneeler version of the product. It comes in an array of colors and sizes for custom personilization.

Side view shows ball and socket magnets.

How separate kneepads fit together to make a kneeler.

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The Difference There is nothing on the market that is as sleek, small, and as ideal for knee replacement patients as Easy Knees. There are no products that can transform from a kneepad to a kneeler either. It comes in all colors and sizes to fit people’s specific wants and needs. Easy Knees is the perfect product for anybody that has a need for it. Tiberi 30


I am thoroughly pleased with my senior thesis and the final product. When the idea for this project first came to me, I had the intent of an entirely different product. Throughout the year, brilliant ideas from the minds of my professors and classmates have influced the way I looked at the big problem and eventually made a huge impact on the outcome. Although this is my project, I could not have done it without the help and support of everybody around me. My professors, my classmates, my family and most importantly my grandmother who I owe everything to. She was my biggest inspiration and I am thrilled to have produced an entire senior thesis on one of the people I love most in the world. Having her inspire me allowed me to create a product with meaning. This isn’t just any old project or idea. This thesis has depth and reason to why it exists and I am so lucky to be able to use my talent to help solve problems to better other people’s lives, especially the people I love. Tiberi 31


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Amanda Tiberi Senior Thesis: Easy Knees  

This project was done as my senior thesis at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2013-2014

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