Product Design Case Study
A bag that takes 100% of the load off your shoulders for a truly weightless experience.
To help product inventor Rob Moncreiff to design, develop, prototype and crowd fund launch his product idea for a game changing backpack allowing him to launch his brand and sell worldwide.
A truly revolutionary design that combines innovative mechanical product design, complex ergonomics and smart fabric design to form a patented system that provides comfort whilst running or cycling and convenience for daily use.
In 2018 Idea Reality won the top prize for product/industrial design at the CreativePool Awards in London.
Carry everything you need for the office with absolutely no weight on your shoulders. The MotionLab Active Commute bag features a unique suspension design and flexible spine system to comfortably place the weight of the bag onto your hips and completely off your shoulders. The flexible spine has been developed to allow total freedom of movement whilst running and cycling leaving the user free from pain and injury. A unique buckle concept secures the bag to the user’s torso, providing
complete stability, whilst still allowing them to breathe easily. Now you can run, cycle or commute with a laptop and everything you need for the office in total comfort.
Hampshire based product design studio Idea Reality worked with MotionLab from early in the product’s conception. They helped to develop the innovative flexible spine, frame system and breathe easy chest buckle system. A huge step change from the way backpacks are made that typically sit on the users shoulders, back and chest. Their designers looked at the way the body works, rather than existing systems, to design a product that frees the wearer like never before. All elements were prototyped repeatedly and integrated to work comfortably and ergonomically with the body giving an experience like no other bag.
The bag design has been tested and endorsed by multiple Team GB Olympic athletes and industry professionals as well as the legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE.
Idea Reality’s knowledge of metal and plastic part design along with their prototyping capability has enabled the design team and MotionLab to develop and iterate the product design into the innovative and highly effective form you see today.
3D printing has played a big part in the development of this project. Many different versions have been built, tried and tested and due to the forces involved and differences in body shape this has been challenging to get right. The bag is so different to existing design that it has been built from the ground up.
Key Product Design Challenges:
1. Balance and positioning on different body sizes
Positioning of pivot points and frame angles to ensure weight remained balanced and the whole bag sits correctly on a variety of body sizes was a key challenge. One minor change could affect other aspects and make the product uncomfortable on certain users. An iterative prototyping process was required to test out ideas with runners and cyclists.
2. Unique Strap arrangement and chest buckle
Changing the way a back pack’s straps traditionally run over the shoulders and down the body presented a complex challenge. A buckle that is easy to attach, allows for chest expansion when breathing, and sits comfortably on the chest plate for men and women was developed. Many different connection mechanisms and shapes were explored. As with the above, the buckle plays a key role in maintaining the correct angles and positioning on the body.
Furthermore the buckle needed to be easy to take on and off. Whilst looking appealing. This resulted in a complex plastic moulded design and padding combination.
Buckle system allows for comfortable chest expansion when breathing deeply
Breathing in / chest expansion is not compromised due to flex in the buckle system
3. Collapsible suspension system
Designing functionality that allowed the sprung and damped suspension and hip belt to collapse down so that the bag can sit upright on the floor or desk. Of course all the weight of the bag runs through this system and this therefore presented a challenge for us not to compromise the structural integrity in any way. Further complications came from the frame and suspension components being curved to fit the body. This meant there was no direct straight line route to slide parts. In the end a rotationally moulded curved slider tube and lock system was designed and incorporated in to the suspension geometry.
User trials have shown the bag to be very effective and approval from professional athletes, physios, running coaches and other industry experts has been fantastic.
“The Result is almost magical ... huge freedom of movement, a sweat-free back and because the weight is focussed down through your core, greater stability on the bike.” Bikes Etc Magazine June 2018
“I felt completely free and it didn’t compromise the way I run” Revee Walcott-Nolan, Team GB 800m runner
“This is genuine innovation in rucksack design, and really clever” Sir Ranulph Fiennes, legendary explorer
"I loved the pack and I found it really does what it says!" "… a fantastic product for any one who runs or cycles to work, I didn’t feel restricted in any way and … it felt like I wasn’t carrying much at all ... This bag is going to be a game changer" Jacinta Pearson, @thisgirlrunswild
“It’s a game changer really, there is not a bag out there that I know that can offer what this does.” – Dale King-Clutterback, Team GB 1500 Runner.
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