How should a breathing device be designed for athletes in a highly aerodynamic recumbent bike? How can the athlete's comfort be increased? During my Minor at the TU Delft, I worked in a team of 4 students from different disciplines on the improvement of a breathing device for the athletes of the Human Power Team (HPT) of the TU Delft and the VU Amsterdam, which was used in the VeloX 8, a highly aerodynamic recumbent bicycle during the International Human Powered Vehicle Associations (IHPVA) race in Nevada, USA.
Product Design | 3D Scanning | CAD | 3D Printing
To deliver top performances during the race the athletes need fresh oxygen. In addition, the inhalation of exhaled carbon dioxide has to be avoided. In the previous versions of the bike, a 3M industrial filter mask connected to a tube was used to avoid the athlete from inhaling the exhaled carbon dioxide. However, such a filter mask is not designed for high performance sports. It comes in standard sizes and the breathing resistance is relatively high.
By interviewing the former athletes and through user tests, we learned that the used mask is uncomfortable and its tube limits the athlete’s mobility. During the ideation process, we looked into different solutions to increase comfort and air flow for the athlete. We came to the conclusion that a customised solution that fits the athlete perfectly would be best.
To achieve the perfect fit between athlete and bike, the HPT makes 3D scans of the athletes.The 3D scans show how much space the athletes need when pedalling and what their overall shape is and the shape of their faces. In this setting, we scanned their faces to design. Based on the scans and additional information about their maximal breathing volume per minute, we designed an individual, 3D printed breathing mask for each athlete, the RapidPro Mask.
My role in the team
Within this project, I had the project lead and coordinated the project planning. Additionally, I motivated the team to use different creative methods during the ideation phase.
In a team with different technical backgrounds, I learned how I as an industrial designer can link these different people and facilitate good teamwork. Furthermore, I learned new design methods and techniques.