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Floating Jacket

Beyond Basic Needs | Projects

  • The Floating Jacket offers basic comfort and ease of travel to refugees who are trying to survive. While on their journey to escape their country, refugees have to go up against harsh conditions. The refugee will wear the Floating Jacket throughout their journey. When they are tired or need to rest they can unfold the jacket and inflate to use as a bed or they can simply buckle the arms which will be used as straps to make the jacket into a chair. Not only is the inflatable jacket good for nights when sleeping on the uncomfortable ground, it also works as a raft in case of harsh weather such as heavy rain which can sometimes cause floods. The Floating Jacket is not only useful for refugees. It can also be used for less fortunate people, especially those who are homeless, that find themselves sleeping in the streets. The Floating Jacket may seem like a small piece of comfort but it will make a difference.

  • Problem - Refugee’s in transit struggle with comfort, whether it be walking or swimming. They do not have protection from the elements, like rain or sandstorms.

    Solution - The Floating Jacket allows protection from the elements and it can be inflated to make a raft, a bed, and a chair for comfort when sleeping, sitting, and getting caught in the water. It can also keep the person wearing it warm during the night as it will have an attachable blanket.

     

    Main Story - The main reason for the creation of the Floating Jacket was to help give comfort to refugees in transit to their refugee camps. Refugees are just like you and me, they had regular lives, cars, beds, even iphones, now they are displaced from their home, no electricity or wifi. Our jacket, even if it is not much from what they once had, can change a person’s life. Instead of sleeping on the cold hard ground, they will now be able to sleep on a blow up bed with a blanket to keep them warm at night, or change it into a chair for comfort while sitting down. A large part of the jacket, is the fact that if you or a refugee is caught in a flood or have need of crossing a body of water, the jacket will inflate into a raft of sorts, so that they can stay dry.

    Mechanics - It works just like a regular jacket, but it has a folded up inflatable bed inside the back of the jacket. Once unfolded, can be blown up with a valve at the bottom. There is a blanket velcroed to the bottom as well, so it won’t fall off.

    Development - The jacket is almost exactly how we imagined it, the original idea was that it was going to have different fabric, water proof, and that the arms and hood also inflate, but due to time crunch we were not able to add everything. Although, the jacket prototype conveyed the idea we had perfectly.

    Challenges -  Sewing and crimping were the hardest parts of creating the jacket. Other than that, making the mini models were not that bad and seeing the final prototype was very cool.

     

    Iteration 1 - For our first iteration, I decided to make it a mini model and out of paper. This was where I measured a small wooden mannequin and researched how to make a jacket. We spent a little while laying with the plastic and crimper, to test making a small raft, and cut out a torso piece out of paper, as well as the arms. We taped the sleeves and raft to the mannequin, and attached the torso piece on.

    Iteration 2 - The second iteration was much like the first, but was made out of fabric. We decided to make the sleeves double layered to show where the plastic was going to go, but that was before we decided to not have the arms inflatable. Once the sleeves we sewn together and put on the second mannequin, I took my torso cut out, and made it out of the same fabric. Also, instead of having the raft on the outside, we made it so that it would be folded up on the inside.

    Iteration 3 - After I bought the Jacket from GoodWill, the one we would be taking apart, We decided on making a ½ scale model of the raft and blanket on a full scale jacket. This was when we decided that the only part to inflate would be the raft/blow-up bed. We used a soft, grey fabric to make the raft casing and the blanket. It was a quick model so we could then start working on the full scale model.

    Throughout the whole process of making the jacket, the design for the most part had the same key parts to it. We only made changes is we thought something was missing or wasn’t needed. Overall, The jacket turned out great and I was very pleased of how it came together.