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HI, MY NAME IS CHELSEY I am an Industrial Designer at a medical innovaton and research company outside of Baltimore, MD. In 2015, I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Design from Virginia Tech. I am a proud Massachusettsan, which, of course, means one of my favorite pastimes is showing off my New England pride and rooting for my favorite teams! Outside the office, I can be found in the kitchen because I love to bake! My friends and coworkers love my surprise cupcakes! I also love being active! While growing up, a lot of my time and energy was focused around sports (USAG competitive gymnastics and high school lacrosse). Fast forward to an injury which ended my gymnastics career, but opened my eyes to design as it affects the user. This enabled me to connect my passion for design with my personal interests in health and fitness.

01 | About Me


Sotere Muscle-mimicry brace for return-to-sports athletes


NuWave Assistive hearing device for individuals with full or partial hearing impairment


Snug Stress-releving pet bed for at-home medical care

Table of Contents | 02

03 | Sotere


Sotere | 04

AN ATHLETE’S PURSUIT Athletes differ from a the typical man or woman. An athlete is an individual who trains and competes in his or her physical sport and strives for victory. However, when an athlete becomes injured, everything hangs on the line. Inability to return could mean the end of his or her career, goals, and livelihood.

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How can design improve injury rehabilitation so an athlete can recover faster, return to training sooner, and reduce his or her chance of re-injury?

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47 collegiate and professional level athletes answered Just over 20% of athletes surve questions about their injuries yed experienced to the ankle, hip, and shoulder injuries. Although less shoulder. Although ankle injurie a y fix, orar frequ temp ent than s were the most popular, those considere ankle, d braces to a be Bobwith shoulder es, bracing and therapeutic soluti s of brac ort. injurie term supp s In were lessout with satisfi t ins ons ed. spor for Mull to The the ankle were ers Kate te back train athle and the major ts get ity apis to of gener ther the used surve an ical is ally forinjuri successful. yed athle phys ssaryder tool that tes neceshoul eswith etim Speaking with certified es , but som and Sean Collins bersaome didbenot cum wear brace. This l brac as from Massachusetts, te as es seemed to an athle either e for due ed CattersoBrac to disco hasizDr. mfort from New Jersey, Bob Thom to the ideawas n is an Or esribed desc com with it orrge . Sean unaw tho en very ber of insight. They all emp arene pe reco wh num the ss a dic of te’s of ion curre iled one athle Su nt ent unve use brace Cli att beca Tech soluti on y nic ons long” at the ny injurfee in d of Virginia Virmo ma on nd the ginre Cathat l nee have ia’s New rilion to are ture arourie struc t have . There don’ 08the Th shon.ulder is | RESEA s do you er hip and gthening RCH Va er,Riv “the one lley uldyou focwit at inju ers . TheAlt usehdank Wh h the athlete edow ed braced by using intho , “All ug nam erv the importance of stren When ask on le, edt. slow iew anksho es le,est practition that ents.brac hip iser tsuld em wered ,ke any sort of cou and plain rov socket. Because com sho imp ic te’s return-to sporon ?” hessans let bigg cts athle ma Ath rev an du ts. inju p nter-force to kee ut eal iate spor hel pro rie y ugho ed for it moves across ld soc s. man thro Dr. tha As ate ati cou acro t qu Catterson wit the shoulderveisto be inade abilit athletes rket, but a redesign ia Tech reh p the bone inside ng gin amo multiple planes Vir | 07 m mon the ho ARCH com ble is the ut pro RESE very pro th limiting flexib most mo st ies as the bo-to many ge the the ma , ba injur , the shoulder mu s big lder on ort dy on bil Mike Gofor e’s shou -sp . uti ces e It let joi ilit sol is bra l ath nt a y urn le rea of an in ret ank ll-a movement. Cu st be held in pla any for to ndm g be -so Ad es that ces lon to dit cke liev bra ion too be t er join see ally rre He t ing uld t no , nt ce or. me Dr. mothe es ent braces do not pe aning its ability ve re Catterson noted dofer Direct ay. Spend in a few sho dif -pl are -to re and urn the ce dir ret rform both job that braces ten ections makes Not only could end or her lt to bra the his ficu an g dif me rin s. is ld it du d tha dif s hip to cou e ficu t lead to abnorm wa be worn longe ry lt to brace. and athletes. Th r than necessary al mechanics, bu over from an inju healing proces athletes st. . t it can hinder sitting out to rec s for the injury ans that many that currently exi the strengthenin and result in de career. That me . g pe dy nd rea of an athlete’s enc are y. y the before ce cti pra to return



RESEARCH It was important to gather research through interviews, surveys, and market studies to grasp a better understanding about athletic injuries and rehabilitation products. A number of insights were highlighted following discussions with the Virginia Tech Associate Athletic Director, physical therapists and trainers, an orthopedic surgeon, a former collegiate athlete, and a brace consultant. From the initial research, injuries to the shoulder became an area of focus due its commonness and difficulty to brace.

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A study was con ducted on curren t shoulder suppo solutions for ret urn-to-sport pro rt ducts.

Ace Bandage W


Common soluti on. Wrapping req uires aid of someone wh o is knowledgeab le about appropriate tec hnique. Method is restrictive. Bandage moves on shoulder.

Kinesiology Ta


Trendy lately. Ad ds warmth to the Helps the athlet injury. e feel empowe red. Not a clinically proven method of treatm ent.

EVS Brace

Adds desirable compression wit hout restricting athlet e too much. Re quires the aid of another. Comfort could be heavily improved. Arguab ly inadequate sup port.

BRACE CONSULTANT INTERVIEW Aaron Gresham is the Brace Consultant for Virginia Tech If nothing else, brace’s can provide a sense of security for an athlete with an injury. Sports Medicine and is a Sales Representative for the Unfortunately, wearing a brace can also expose a potential point of weakness which medical device company, DonJoy. His expertise in the an opponent can use to his or her itbenefit. When asked about shoulder braces, Aaron nd se he fou field revealed a number of insights about sports injuries, revealed, nothing out there that is 100% comfortable, honestly.” This is gery beiscau sur“There Sully- or po dislocations, a oustlde in 28 rich Stab ibed brace pre Sh ulted scr res iliz braces, and an athlete’sno road to rehabilitation. because current shoulder braces don’t stay in place because the joint is so mobile. pre er his wh ar in we pa t Ve thewith ma rsa dsight, heDonJ h tile did hin wit In He alt er. de uld red He . ny oy the sho strap He inju Shou ken The ideal brace would anddconsider anatomy the user. s. Strbe letic ability a bro lder Stofab ap lightweight nte ,sand som ep Tech wrestler. etime ilizer n bic hindered his ath are in the nthss, but he wa f, a tor May be too sta mo former Virginia way.2Re 1 year and torn rotator cuf quiresab ble. Athletes com Jesse Dong is a of his collegiate ndted anoom theme of 90º ove r. No torn labrum, a er aid plained tha the rec bremo his senior year uld it’s g ted ath sho too rin res ed ab du his e res le. t min er ve | 011 hav tric No ter uld t necessarily tive. Does not allo RESEARCH to his sho him many de fortmhe should w es the allo fitt of liev e ing no be . on w above . s did head movement lifie brace else. rmally would . Very bulky and career. He exemp pete and win. His ove everything move as he no ab com rt and to te spo dif pe ge his ficu w t ts com on. slo lt to 12 | RESEARCH difficult to athletes who pu son, he did not which made it t early in the sea . Although was hur his hunger to win of se cau be down


Cadlow Shoulde

r St

abilizer Bands connect to straps and spe cial shorts. Varying resista nce. Cumbersom e and clumsy. Fatigued athlete.


DESIGN ACTIONABLE FINDINGS • Athletes • Athletes • Athletes • Athletes • Athletes

needs to minimize limitations to movement due to presence of a brace need to maximize muscle strengthening around the area of injury need to maximize shoulder stabilization during return-to-sport activities need to maximize their comfort while wearing a brace need to maximize their ability to meet performance standards

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THE SHOULDER’S ANATOMY 4 SKELETEL Understanding the shoulder structure is necessary to determine the appropriate shoulder-bracing solution. The “shoulder joint” is the central joint in the shoulder. It is where the humerus meets the scapula in a ball-and-socket formation. Additional structures act as necessary stabilizers around this notoriously weak joint.

1 3 2



HUMERUS Upper arm bone which has a rounded head. Creates shoulder joint with scapula

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2 SCAPULA Shoulder blade. Large surface serves as connecting point for muscles and tendons


3 LABRUM Attached to rim of scapula cavity and partially covers head of humerus. Socket deepens cavity for additional stability

4 LIGAMENTS Fibrous tissues which connect bone to bone. They reinforce the joints that make up the shoulder

THE SHOULDER’S ANATOMY MUSCULAR The muscles in the shoulder work together and are responsible for the movement of the shoulder joint. Additionally, the superscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor create the rotator cuff which maintains shoulder joint stability.

1 4


5 6




DELTOID Forms the round contour of shoulder. Enables wide range of motion of the arm

2 SUPERSCAPULARIS Located in depression of scapular and connects scapula to humerus. Internally rotates the humerus.


3 BICEP Originates from two heads, connecting the scapula after passing above and in front of humerus and ends at the elbow

4 SUPRASPINATUS Runs from scapula, below acromion, to top of humerus. Abducts the humerus

5 INFRASPINATUS Attaches to the humerus from the back of the scapula. Externally rotates the humerus

6 TERES MINOR Attaches to scapula and humerus below the infraspinatus. Assists in lateral movement of humerus Sotere | 10

COMMON SHOULDER INJURIES The flexible nature of the shoulder also makes it susceptible to injury. Although there are many types of shoulder injuries, rotator cuff tears, bicep tears, shoulder dislocations, and AC tears are most common among athletes.






ROTATOR CUFF TEAR The tear of one or more of the four rotator cuff tendons. Because the cuff controls much of the shoulder’s movement, injury to this area can have a great affect on an individual, especially an athlete.

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2 DISLOCATION Occurs when the humerus is forcibly removed from the shoulder socket. The shoulder being the most mobile joint makes it unstable and the most dislocated joint in the body. The shallow socket makes the shoulder prone to dislocation.

3 BICEP TEAR In many cases, tears of the bicep tendon can also damage other parts of the shoulder. The longer head of the bicep (which passes over the humerus) is typically injured.

4 AC TEAR Also known as a “shoulder separation.” An AC tear is the fraying or separating of the ligament attaching the acromion to the clavicle. Tearing of the AC ligaments inhibit overhead and across body movements.







A supporting structure for return-to-sport athletes needs to truly consider the shoulder’s anatomy, the way in which the shoulder is used, and common shoulder injuries. The muscles, especially those which create the rotator cuff, are the core of the shoulder. They allow the humerus flexible movement and enable the arm to push, pull, lift, throw, etc. Why can’t a shoulder brace bring the positive attributes of strong, healthy muscles to the surface? Experimentation with Kinesiology Tape (KT Tape) and Sorbothane were conducted to understand an exterior muscular structure concept.

The popular KT tape is an elastic adhesive used on a variety of injuries. Its effectiveness did not meet expectations. It provides little support and does not stabilize the shoulder. In fact, some researchers claim it has a placebo effect.

Sorbothane is the brand name of a visco-elastic urethane polymer. It has qualities similar to that of muscles. The material provided strong and formfitting tension across the various degrees of motion. Sotere | 12

BRACE IDEATION Various forms and features were considered during the ideation process. The goal was to develop a form that is low-profile, easy to put on, properly brace the shoulder, and look sporty.



Thoroughly iterating exemplified how difficult it is to brace the shoulder . This is a brace that users needed to easily take off and put on with an injured shoulder. The intial concepts looked at ways in which the brace could be light and unobtrusive. At its basic elements, the brace needs to connect the muscular structure of the shoulder to the body. The base and arm pieces must be able to stay firmly in place during activity.

A physical prototype was constructed to grasp a better understanding of the materiality and the overall concept. Putting on and taking off the brace like a jacket would be easy for any injured athlete. It became obvious that anchor points are needed on the arm and at the bottom of the brace body to prevent the material from moving and help hold the muscular elements tight. Also, there is little room between the shoulder and collar to secure muscular structure on the brace body.

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From the first prototype, it was determined that the body of the brace needed to be longer. It also needed securing straps both near the bottom of the “shirt� and around the arm. The length of sleeve was elongated as well to provide a better location for tension of the muscular structure. Straps are introduced to better understand how the muscular structure will be tightened to the desired resistance.

The second model considers ideation designs following the first prototype. The muscular structure is adjustable with the Velcro straps. During tests, the prototype was able to demonstrate varying flexibility dependent the level of resistance. For further exploration, the muscular structure could use a stronger fastener. Additionally, it is difficult to find the back strap and secure it.

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COLOR INSPIRATION The brace design must consider current trends in the world of athletics. The leading sportswear companies know that some athletes like neutrals while others desire very bold color palettes. Patterns and textures have even been introduced. It’s clear that no matter the athlete, the product has to have a dynamic design.

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FINAL PROTOTYPE CONSTRUCTION After finalizing features of the brace, drawings, diagrams, and patterns were put together so the brace could be constructed. The design was outsourced to a local seamstress to ensure a quality product. It was important to hash out all the finer details so that it could be properly interpreted by another individual.

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FEATURES The final brace design is called Sotere. Sotere not only provides a strong, flexible structure similar to the body’s muscles, but the brace is simple and easy to use. Sotere truly considers the user and his or her needs. All straps are fastened toward the athlete’s strong shoulder. No additional help is necessary.



2 6 5 3

4 1


BODY The base is a shirt form with an open front so it can easily be put on. The Lycra makes is it both lightweight and form-fitting.

2 MUSCULATURE STRUCTURE The musculature structure has four pieces which work similarly to that of the rotator cuff. The stretchy Lycra exterior embodies the muscle-like material, Sorbothane 17 | Sotere

3 ZIPPER CLOSURE The zipper encloses the brace’s body. This keeps the brace comfortable and secure. It is both easy to reach and fastens with ease.

4 SECURING STRAPS Elastic, adjustable straps located around the abdomen and sleeve of the injured shoulder. They become anchor points for the musculature structure when in tension

5 MUSCULATURE STRAPS This enables the user to brace the injured shoulder to the desired tension. The straps are reinforced with Velcro

6 STRAPS CHANNEL The Strap Channels eliminate the clumsy mess by providing the injured user with easier access to both straps ends of the main Musculature Structure

BRACING IN Before heading out to practice or competition, athletes can quickly and easily put on the Sotere brace to ensure security of an injured shoulder.




PUT ON The open-front brace is as easy as putting on a jacket. The sleeve is pulled over the injured shoulder first so there is little strain

2 ZIP UP Enclosing the brace is as simple as fastening the front zipper.



3 STRAP UP Tightening the abdominal strap assures a tight and secure fit around the body.

4 ANCHOR DOWN Tightening the arm strap to maintain a strong anchor point for the brace.



5 PULL TIGHT The athlete is able to adjust the Musculature Structure to his or her desired level of resistance.

6 GO Now the athlete is good to go. Throw balls, wrestle opponents, do push ups, get out there and go! Sotere | 18

RETURN-TO-SPORT ACTIVITIES No matter the activity, Sotere is a great option for athletes who are returning-to-sport from an injured shoulder. The brace keeps the humerus in its socket and provides appropriate resistance throughout the healing process.

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BRACE STYLES Every athlete is different, especially when it comes to his or her own personal style. A variety of colors and patterns enables each athlete to choose the brace that best suits him or her. Solid neutrals are also important for the discreteness desired in certain sports.

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PREPARING FOR COMPETITION Sotere can be worn under any shirt or jersey. Its tight and lightweight characteristics make it both discrete and unobtrusive.

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Sotere | 22

23 | NuWave

NUWAVE 5 WEEKS GROUP: Lane Stith, Nellie Talbot, and Peter Yoo 2014 A’DESIGN AWARD Iron Award Differently Abled and Seniors’ Assistance Design

2014 INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARDS Gold Winner Media and Home Electronics

2013 JAMES DYSON AWARD National Runner-Up

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5 0 6 25 million car accidents occur each year

25 | NuWave


of traumatic brain injuries are caused by car accidents


of hearing impairments are caused by brain injuries

PERSONA EVALUATION A persona was developed to better define and evaluate the obstacles and concerns associated with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

MICHAEL 16 years old High school student

“I just want to feel like a normal teenager.” ACCIDENT



Michael was recently involved in a car accident. He sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from the impact.

Michael’s temporal lobe has been affected by the accident. This had led to permanent hearing loss as well as temporary difficulties with memory, attention, and completing complex tasks.

Independence becomes more valuable to Michael as he gets older. The challenges associated with his TBI frustrate Michael and make him feel like a outsider.

Does an appropriate solution exist? Michael is not alone. Many individuals with once perfect hearing may experience its loss whether it be suddenly or over a period of time. At that point, what are these people supposed to do? Should they feel insecure or inadequate because of something they are unable to control?

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One full day was dedicated to better understanding the every day experiences of a hearing impaired individual. Ear plugs were worn to emulate hearing impairment.

The market is saturated with hearing aids. Some are exterior, while others require surgical implantation. The important question to ask is: Why does Michael not wear a hearing aid? Hearing aids in today’s world tend to have some defining issues. If they are not large and bulky, they tend to be expensive (as much as $40,000). In addition, these common hearing aids require maintenance and can cause ear infections.

PAIN POINTS • Difficult to stay focused, especially in group settings • Easy to miss words • Hard for others to get attention


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THE TECHNOLOGY In Bone Conduction, sound waves bypass the ear canal. Transducers convert sound to vibrations which are sent directly to the brain. • For individuals with normal or impaired hearing • Eliminates hearing-aid related injuries • Clear sound in noisy places

Google Glass

AfterShokz Headphones

Cochlear Baha Implant

Cynaps Headset

PRODUCTS The market study revealed that bone conduction is used in a wide range of products, from hearing aids to headphones. However, these tend to be expensive, unattractive, or impractical. They do not satisfy the needs of someone in Michael’s situation.

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GLASSES Market studies and persona evaluation suggest a functional and trendy solution. Eyewear has become fashionable and is now worn by those with and without eye prescriptions. The eyeglass form was based on popular styles and the final form exhibits qualities of the classic “wayfarer� look. The placement of the bone conduction transducer, the relationship of the temples to the face, and the shape of the frames were highly considered.

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MOBILE APP Features of the bone conduction glasses can be controlled by a mobile application acting as a remote control. The app allows the user to customize settings, alter notifications, and change volume of the hearing device. The app uses icons for easy navigation through Power and Connection, Settings, Notifications, and Volume.

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PRODUCT FEATURES The hearing-enabling product is called NuWave. The glasses are a trendy solution for those experiencing difficult with hearing.






NON-PRESCRIPTIVE LENSES Lenses without prescription allow anyone to make a fashion statement, whether or not his eyes require correction


MICROPHONE Captures surrounding noise which is passed to the transducers


INDUCTION CHARGING PAD Induction surface enables eyewear to be charged without plugging in

31 | NuWave



6 4

LIGHT INDICATOR Blinking, colored light visually notifies user of incoming messages, calls or appointments without attracting attention


BONE CONDUCTION TRANSDUCERS Located on both temples, the transducers convert captured sound into vibrations


REMOVABLE BATTERY While NuWave is still in use, a low battery can be replaced simply by exchanging the temple end piece NuWave | 32


LOUD AND CLEAR Before, Michael had trouble hearing, whether in the classroom or during an intimate conversation. NuWave’s bone conduction technology moves Michael past the muffled sounds so he may be aware of and attentive in his surroundings. If he has trouble hearing his teacher in class, he can simply turn on the app and increase the volume, eliminating discomfort.

33 | NuWave

NORMALITY Now, Michael can go about his daily life like any other teenager. The bone conduction glasses do not draw unwanted attention to the user. Most importantly, Michael can feel normal again.

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35 | NuWave



With NuWave, Michael’s life has improved. He can communicate with anyone at anytime and anywhere without a problem. He can stay organized without drawing attention to himself

How about others? It is important to satisfy the needs and wants of multiple user groups with different styles and colors. As the perception of glasses grows more to be a part of fashion, rather than necessity, there is greater opportunity to develop the design for a wider range of individuals.

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37 | Snug


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CAT HEALTH Similar to humans, pets may need medication and treatment to stay happy and healthy. This can mean holding a cat still while administering topical or oral medication.

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Cats can be frightened and defensive when receiving treatment. These high stress situations create a break in the relationship, pinning owner and pet against one another.

CAT RESTRAINT It is important to protect the owner during this uncomfortable, but necessary process. There are 3 methods currently used for cat restraint.




Toweling is the recommended method for restraining a cat. Although the swaddling technique has a calming effect, the number of steps may prove challenging for someone dealing with an unhappy feline.

The cat restraint bags are typically used on the more fractious cats. It is difficult for a person to bag a cat on his own. Additionally, the zipper closure tends to scare the cat, making the process more strenuous.

When cats becomes unruly it will not be easy to give them their medication. Many owners and veterinarians require the aid of others to hold the cat during medicine administration.

How can cat owners provide their frisky felines with the care they deserve in a way that is simple and gentle, without the aid of another person? Snug | 40




The ideation process considered the various types of criteria associated with a satisfactory cat restraining solution. The product should be comfortable for the cat, safe for both the owner and pet, and easy for a person to use without the aid of another. The swaddling technique, similar to babies, eases tension in cats, making them calm and relaxed. Most solutions took this method into consideration.

Although the goal is to protect the cat, it is important to remember the characteristics of this pet. Cats will do whatever they can to wiggle themselves out of an uncomfortable or scary situation. The solution combines a central securing strap and a bed with enveloping sides., Both concepts fail on their own, but work well together.

41 | Snug

FEATURES The pet restraining solution is called Snug. Cat owners will easily be able to restrain their cat in a friendly and loving way so that the cat can be provided with any necessary medical attention.




PLUSH MATERIAL Soft and welcoming. Can withstand basic wear and tear





Implies spatial barrier


3 ADJUSTABLE STRAP Holds cat in place



Provides easy adjustability without adhering to cat fur


9 7 8

5 CINCH Pulling ergonomic handle creates rope tension, swaddling cat

6 POLYESTER FIBER Stuffing provides cushion to ring barrier

7 FOAM PADDING 3 rectangular inserts create bed feature

8 BASE GRIP Rubberized and textured material keeps bed from slipping

9 ROPE Rope material is strung through bed so that it can be cinched


The owner places the cat into Snug, the cat restraint bed

The strap is wrapped around to keep Cinching pulls the bed sides up and the cat in place around the cat to swaddle him/her

The cat is secure, making medication administration simple and easy Snug | 42

USER TESTING Snug enables a pet owner to successfully administer medication to his or her cat in a safe and easy manner. Results from testing cat security on a working prototype suggest that Snug is a reliable and safe solution for cats and their owners.

Alli Goldwag and her cat, Turk



I think it made Turk feel more at ease and secure since he was being swaddled by Snug. -Alli Goldwag, cat owner

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