My product, the InnerStrength body protector, aims to deal with the issue of impact injuries in amateur cricket. Within the context of modern batting, where the hard ball is hit powerfully more often, an opportunity was identified for a product that provides torso protection for both batting and fielding. The product (although of use to all cricketers) is targeted towards less-experienced players, with the aim of reducing the anxieties and vulnerabilities associated with facing fast, short bowling, and fielding close to a power hitting batter. The growing popularity of women’s cricket influenced the decision to have different gendered versions of the product in terms of size, especially as the so-called unisex gear on the market is often not an ideal fit (although more work needs to be done to further tailor the design for women cricketers).
The design process took a lot of unexpected detours, whether finding inspiration from spacesuits or the impenetrable skin of honey badgers, it was exciting to apply knowledge and ideas from a wide range of areas and apply it to the greatest sport in the world (cricket). The challenge of creating body protection was made harder due to the context of use including both batting and fielding – the full range of body motions to consider, from full length diving to vertical jumps, are too long to list.
Thankfully, throughout the process the GSA inspired human centred design techniques learned over a year of intensive study helped greatly in solving the small, medium and large problems that inevitably arise within a 12-week design time frame. The Design, Build, Test philosophy, allowed me to explore a range of design concepts efficiently and make calculated evaluations which ultimately fuelled the direction of the final product. This approach and the methods involved, is definitely something I hope to take forward into a career of design.