Early Childhood Fabrication Laboratory

The Early Childhood Fab Lab Competition gives attention to the education of young children from ages 3 to 8. ICAT is partnered with the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES) in Cleveland to explore the design and development of FabLabs (essentially fabrication studios) for early learning. These Early Childhood Fab Labs will be designed for mobile use with the ability to travel to multiple locations.

The prompt was to design a piece of furniture that is sturdy and safe, easy to move and clean, modular, multipurpose, and the ability to accommodate children of different sizes.

We started out this project by researching other types of children’s furniture that are already in the market. We also exchanged different ideas that could be implemented in our design.Since our time was limited, the process of researching and ideation went by quickly, in order for our team to start producing our CAD models, digital renderings, and storyboards.

We then designed WÄVE, a multipurpose piece that engages children to collaborate and learn through technology.

One of the features of the chair is the reversible surface. An IPAD locks securely on one side of the detachable surface and it can be flipped to a clean, flat surface for writing or sketching. Because of the rolling joinery that we implemented in this design, children can also interact with each other by flipping the surface, and connecting it with another piece. Not only does this piece connect, but it also makes it modular.

According to a research from the National Library of Medicine, standing improves attention, on-task behavior, alertness, and classroom engagement. Standing provides clear health benefits as it increases heart rate, maintains insulin effectiveness and burns more calories. These are the reasons why WÄVE’s chair is sloped. It is midway between sitting and standing, so the children are comfortable, yet still focused on what they’re doing.

WÄVE can be disconnected for easier mobility and storage purposes. Because of this feature, WÄVE can also be used for kids in wheelchairs. A half of the furniture can be used as a bench or a table for kids who are smaller.

A small, but fun feature we added in WÄVE is the lighting. As a child gets in touch with the chair, the sides light up, encouraging the child to stay in place and enjoy what they are doing.

This competition was challenging; however, I enjoyed it a lot because my teammates were outgoing, positive, and hardworking. These factors may have lead us to our victory and gaining the promise and opportunity of getting WÄVE manufactured and be used by kids in different settings.

Our team consisted of three sophomore industrial designers:Michael Watanabe, Veronica Orecchia, and myself, and Reem Bukhamseem, a sophomore interior designer.