roger - communication-enabled respirator (2.009)



2.009 is the mechanical engineering senior capstone class at MIT. The goal is to make a functional alpha prototype of the product of our choice, working in teams of seventeen people. Roger, a communication enabled respirator, was our final product. It is designed for tradespeople working in hazardous air environments. Communication is one of the top reasons as to why people don't wear a respirator, and this can lead to respiratory illnesses, cancer, or neurological damage depending on what type of toxins are in the air. Roger has a microphone built into the mask, earbuds built into the strap, and a volume dial on the front of the mask. It connects to standard phones and radios to work with existing equipment. Roger was designed to protect worker health while allowing for clear communication. 

User Research Approach

I was the User Research Lead for the duration of the project. My goal was to understand the current respirator use situations to the best of my ability. With the help of two teammates, we reached out to more than 150 painters, exterminators, construction workers, waste treatment centers, manufacturers, masons, auto mechanics, and other people with experience using respirators. We interviewed more than 50 individuals, and distilled their experiences into insights and tangible design goals, reflected in the product contract below. 

Additional Roles

In addition to leading user research, I designed the presentation deck and presented in our final product launch, which had more than a thousand attendees. The final presentation can be viewed here.

Skills Practiced

User research, user testing,  turning user research and insights into product specifications, presentation design, public speaking, graphic design

Credits: Megan Fu

Credits: Megan Fu