Lift Vest Studio 1

Sam Bortman and Stefano Pagani

Process Post:

Cerebral Palsy affects how the body moves, essentially impacting a person’s control of muscle tone and motor movement and activity. Thus, we began a brainstorm web of daily problems people diagnosed with CP face. On our three column brainstorm, problems for both the diagnosed and the families of the child with cerebral palsy were drafted in addition to goals to help ease their discomfort. After the challenges were drafted we identified and isolated two major challenges that stress Cerebral Palsy patients and families — the transportation the caretaker has to do of the child and the lack of fashionable adaptable clothing available. Because of these challenges, we turned to the internet to research first adaptive clothing allowing us to capture a sense of characteristics and style many share. We discovered how much of the clothing is made from very strong yet unflattering material. The pieces utilized straps and buttons to facilitate the ability to put on clothing and ease their daily task of getting dressed. Across our research we found a lift vest. A lift vest is simply a vest that allows a caretaker to lift people out of their wheelchairs and transport them to a new location. From here we distinguished strong materials used to build adaptable clothing. We found nylon — often like you see seat belts and harnesses made from — is used when constructing adaptable clothing. Thus, we finally decided we wanted to build a lift vest that was both fashionable and easing to the caretaker because carrying cerebral palsy patients is a physical exhaustion.

    Our first iteration included the idea of using leather to make a burberry inspired lift jacket versus a vest. However, we discovered because of material, resources, and adaptability, we decided to discontinue our idea for a jacket. Instead, we revisited the concept of a lift vest. Our initial sketch included harness-like concepts as inspiration for straps to attach to the vest. Once we found a system of straps that layer and attach as one piece, we drafted a vest that essentially would be constructed from very little cuts and pieces of fabric and would layer together with a creative pattern with the nylon straps. However, we did not know how the material would exactly work together so we found a nylon-like material to play around with and experiment where to sew. This led to our first prototype. It worked as it helped us see how flexible the material is and gave us more inspiration to how we would drape fabric together. We chose to make another iteration because the straps were not fashionably put on and the material did not work well with the straps attached to the sides and fronts of the vest. If we kept it the way it was, then the straps and vest would not support the material and would most likely rip the vest. And because our goal was to ease the physical exhaustion of the caretaker while creating a fashion forward lift vest, a new iteration was needed. Therefore, we turned to the manikin and played with the nylon strap. We layered it and draped it based from a layered pink dress we found on a store website.

    We needed to first figure out a system of clips/adjustable straps for the sides and front of the vest. First we used the idea of buttons to attach the vest and quickly abandoned that idea and changed it to a buckle that works like the ones you would find on a backpack that slide up and down to loosen and tighten the straps. Because of this, we integrated the idea of using these straps to loosen and tighten the vest so one can slip it on as 1 simple movement. In Rhino we designed a three prong buckle that the nylon can slip in and out of to make the straps that lift the person out of their wheel chair adjustable. Finally, we chose to 3D print the 4 buckles Our final project included 4 adjustable straps and a creative design vest that benefits both the patient and caretaker.


       When a person struggles with Cerebral Palsy, it is oftentimes difficult to control one’s muscle motions and ability. That being so, it is usually the caretaker’s role to help the transportation process of the person with Cerebral Palsy. For example, a simple task such as going to the bathroom can be nearly impossible for an individual with Cerebral Palsy to accomplish on their own. The caretaker holds the responsibility to hold and lift the patient out of their wheelchair and relocate them. However their job is often conflicted due to the heavy weight needed to be carried. Physical exhaustion is a primary struggle faced by the caretaker. Moreover, there is frequently a stigma associated with adaptable clothing, specifically lift vests. The final iteration of the Lift Vest offers relief and benefits to two parties: the caretaker and the diagnosed person with CP. Constructed from pure nylon straps, the Lift Vest offers a strong woven pattern that binds the material together to build the base of the vest. Each nylon strap folds and intertwines together for maximum support of the body — chest, neck, and back. The final iteration includes heavy neck support which aids the patient who struggles with muscle control. Aside from providing physical relief to the caretaker with the woven design, the design also reduces the stigma linked with the typical denim lift vest and creates a creative wearable. The final vest additionally includes four adjustable straps that allow the vest to easily be slipped on and off in addition to being customizable to the wearer in a simple 1-2 movements. When the straps tighten, four handles for the caretaker to use to lift the patient with are created, serving double purposed. The adjustable straps slide in and out to overall loosen the piece. When the straps tighten, the sides become handles that are used to lift the person out of their wheelchair and transferred to their next location. Focusing on the two goals to facilitate the physical exhaustion experienced by the caretaker, and to design a more fashionable lift vest, we were able to incorporate a design for our final iteration that relieved both challenges.