Industrial - Honours
Launchpad addresses a significant access issue to throwing frames in Australia while providing a competition legal and universal design that caters to a wide range of users and abilities. It positions itself as both an introductory product that helps individuals discover seated throwing as well as a product that high-performance athletes can use at international competitions.
Throwing frames are used for the para-athletics throwing events being discus, shot put, javelin and club throw. A throwing frames basic function is to provide a stable, strong, and safe platform for para-athletes to throw from. This stability comes from the ability to tie the user’s waist and feet down securely onto the frame and the frame to the ground. This stability provides the user confidence in the frame and in turn their ability.
There are 11 classifications of athletes that use a throwing frame, all with varying disabilities and levels of motor function, these are listed below:
F31-34 (Co-ordination impairments (hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis))
F51-57 (Limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement)
Many of the athletes that fall under these classifications require wheelchairs for personal mobility.
There is massive potential for the Australian Paralympic team as 15% of medals available at major international championships come from seated throws events. However, due to a lack of participation in the sport, Australia has not sent more than three seated throws athletes to recent major championships. With no ‘try out’ frames in Australia there is little to exposure to the sport for children or adults with disabilities.
Launchpad bridges this gap, becoming the stepping stone into athletics and the seated throws. Providing a platform that athletics clubs and schools can integrate into their athletics carnivals, try-out days, and coaching programs, creating a grassroots pathway into the sport. With more participants, Australia can send more athletes to major championships and have a higher chance of bringing home medals.
Being universal was at the heart of this design. Launchpad used various anthropometric and wheelchair data to guide the design of the touch-points so that they were suitable for a wide range of users. This data informed the standard sizing and levels of adjustability built into this design including the:
– seat size,
– footrest heights
– backrest heights
– holding bar height and width.
The backrest can also be removed according to the athletes desired set-up, taking into account their core function and the event they are participating in.
These elements along with the multiple options in which the users can secure their waist, legs and feet into the chair allow Launchpad to be tailored to a variety of users regardless of size, disability, motor function and dexterity to find their optimal set up for comfort and performance.
Launchpad’s unique fold up mechanism is unlike anything on the market and when combined with its lightweight construction allows athletes, coaches, and athletics clubs to transport and store the throwing frame easily.
Neil is a designer with a passion for hand drawn renders and graphic design. He enjoys collaboration with colleagues and getting hands on during the concept iteration and prototyping process. He believes that good design is simple and should add value into peoples lives.