safely knife guard

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Context

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 around eighteen people. Before making the final decision for our product, we explore four projects in depth to determine feasibility and user need. "Safely" is a knife guard designed to prevent accidentally injury due to finger misplacement while using utility knives. 

Approach

Originally, we had a spring loaded prototype that covered the blade when not in use. This was effective for thin pieces of paper, but the spring was too floppy to be used with thicker materials, such as foamcore. We considered designing a more complex system, but realized that low cost and simplicity would be key to this product, since we were aiming at classrooms and shop spaces where students would use utility knives. The low cost would be incentive for institutions to buy these simple add-ons to help keep students safe. The final prototypes were 3D printed, with slight modifications between each iteration that was driven by user testing and feedback. 

Sketches demonstrating a spring loaded model. 

 Safely being demonstrated at a class milestone presentation. 

Safely being demonstrated at a class milestone presentation. 

 Safely stops the blade from making contact with the thumb, which is in the path of the cut. 

Safely stops the blade from making contact with the thumb, which is in the path of the cut. 

Skills Practiced

User and market research, user testing, mechanical design, 3D printing, communication and presentation design

Results

Safely did not prove to be an appropriately sized project for our final product since our teams are quite large, but Safely will remain on my knife.