student portfolio - industrial design

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Projects completed during my education at Virginia Tech, including senior thesis.


  • berlykimandersson

  • Originally from suburban Philadelphia, Kimberly Andersson is a newcomer to the Boston design scene. After dabbling in some undergraduate mechanical engineering at Penn, she completed a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial design from Virginia Tech in spring 2012. School may have ended, but she hopes to never stop learning. Kimberlys eclectic interests include healthcare innovation, fitness, nontraditional education, gadgetry, robots, big data, craft beer, roller derby (under the alias Geek Gone Wild), social media, and the Oxford comma. Shes extroverted, loves dogs, feels most confident in stilettos, drinks far too much coffee, and if it were socially acceptable, would eat breakfast for every meal of the day.

  • table of contents

    TORKwear soft goodsSlate2 furniture/sustainable design, INDEX Design Challenge Mizu healthcare, senior thesis


  • 1


    13 week group projectgroup members: Lisa Cox, Reid Schlegel, Scott Yarbrough

    fall 2011

  • strenuous work dangerous situationswatertightness


  • project brief

    Commercial fishing is

    36times more deadlythan the average occupation.

    78%of fatalities occur due to water exposure.

    12%of overboard fisherman not wearing PFDs survive.

    dangerous situations

  • the problem

    storyboard by Scott Yarbrough

    Although personal flotation devices are crucial for survival when falling overboard in these harsh conditions, many commercial fishermen do not wear PFDs while on deck. Unfortunately, of the fishermen we surveyed, a full 100% responded that they wore PFDs rarely or never. They felt existing PFDs were too hot and bulky and constrain movement while working on deck, making it easier for their job to just not wear PFDs at all. In addition, fishermen were a macho group of people, who felt wearing a PFD may make them appear weaker than they are.

    We intended to reduce crewmember fatalities on commercial fishing boats caused by prolonged exposure to freezing ocean waters by creating an improved clothing centered system.


  • pool testing

    We tested a commercial fishing suit currently on the market at a local pool to grasp first hand the struggle it takes to stay afloat without a PFD. Then we tested our own version - a spandex suit with Velcro straps that would allow us to determine the optimum placement of styrofoam blocks for maximum flotation.

    u n n e c e s s a r y bulk

    unsafe for unconscious victims

    arm placementnot helpful

  • Q: Do you wear a PFD while fishing?A: Oh no, definitely dont. For the most part commercial fisherman consider PFDs too cumbersome and feel like they may lead to other injuries. [...] I only put one on when it gets really bad out. It would make sense to use them, but no one on boats will wear them. You never see them on lobster or crab boats. Legally you are supposed to have them but I have no idea if they exist on most boats.

    Q: What do you use to retrieve overboard victims?A: Lifting sling or rings with strobes. Also we some-times don immersion suits and go retrieve them. It is very difficult to swim in an immersion suit. It has such flotation it is hard not to swim on your back. Backstroke is most efficient. We also never use the life ring to hoist victims out of the water. Life rings are also a problem because they can hit the victim in the head.

    survey & interviews

    Through the website Alaskan Job Finder, we sent our survey to 200 fishing captains. Fifteen responded, giving critical insight into their habits, complaints, and preferences when it came to PFDs and clothing.


  • 100% have strong pride and allegiance to

    their boat.

    wear protective

    gear such as knee pads on



    58%have been injured on deck.


    considered using a flotation


  • Waist SynchBoot sleeveknee, nger, elbow, hip, head protectiondispersed otationlogo customizationintergated gloveshat/hood sleeveintegrated hood visornew knit hat with hoodreectorsink packagelocation beaconlocation lightwhistleno snaps - velcro, zip lock, fold over, zippershead sleeve attached to jacket keeps water outlined knee, butt, and elbowsstretchy sections, groin, armpit, elbow, knee

    Following pool testing, we generated concepts that included flotation in the specified areas, maximizing buoyancy and minimizing the amount necessary. For aesthetic inspiration, we turned to military combat uniforms, superheroes, and sports performance gear, aiming to develop a masculine, rugged aesthetic and maximum range of motion.

    concept development


  • Flotation is located on the inner bib pants to make sure that it would still be available even when crewmembers are working without a jacket on.

    knee pads

    adjustability hexagons

  • concept development

    Iteration continued with a focus on hexagonal tessellation and a matching jacket.

    buckles hexagonal tessellation

    integrated knife


  • final design

    knee pads




  • The jacket has an inner pocket where a personal location beacon can be placed. For easy spotting by other crewmembers, reflectors were added to the arms and hood, which are the most visible parts of the body when in the water. The lime green was used for its bright color, working well with the black details for a macho aesthetic.

    features: safety & visibility


  • x4


    An overboard victim only has 15 minutes before he becomes unconscious. Unfortunately, many commercial vessels take 20 minutes to turn around. By increasing the water temperature by 8 degrees, we double the time they are conscious, providing crucial minutes for survival. The heating component in our suit consists of 4 heat packs of bistable crystals that are activated when a victim falls overboard and is submerged in freezing water for more than 5 seconds. These packs heat instantly to 115 degrees. In our testing, a single heat pack raised the temperature of a gallon of water by 8 degrees in 4 minutes.

  • bait



    . WIZARD

    features: hood & customization

    We found many fishermen wear baseball caps to keep water off their face. We saw this as a great opportunity for integration within the jacket hood. The hard shell of the TORKWEAR hood provides protection while the snaps more efficiently bring the hood closer to the face. Many fishermen already personalize their jackets by using just a permanent marker. TORKWEAR facilitates this expression of boat pride and personality by providing opportunity for customization with a logo or name on the back of the jacket.



  • One of our goals for TORKWEAR was cultural acceptance. Through our interviews and surveys, we discovered the one tool all commercial fishermen kept on them was a knife. It is useful for the job but most importantly survival, since it can be used to free themselves when tangled in line to prevent further injury or even from being pulled overboard.

  • reflectors

    personal locator beacon pocket

    Again, the suit looks GREATdiesel, in fact.

    Steve - United Fishing Forum


  • adjustability

    flotationheating customization

    Again, the suit looks GREATdiesel, in fact.

  • 19

  • Slate211 week group project

    group members: Lisa Cox, Jason CusackINDEX Design Challenge

    fall 2010

  • old, beat-up furniture no furniturelack of collaboration


  • Slate2

    Sub-Saharan African schools have absolutely appalling drop-out rates, largely due to lack of interest in learning when time could be spent working in the fields. Slate2 aims to combat this by creating a system that can be used both in the classroom and at home to promote interest in learning.

    no furniture

    the problem

  • Design research for Slate2 included telephone inter-views with experts around the globe.

    interviews & design research

    Describe the furniture used in schools.This ranges from nothing (sitting on ground under a shade tree), to benches under a tree, to chairs or benches with tables or desks. Often, the quantity is inadequate because of cost. Also, Im not sure if they are furniture or not, but blackboards/whiteboards are a basic piece of equipment.

    -Tim Cox of USAID(US Agency for International Development)

    Are parents involved with their childs education?Parents seem to be minimally involved in the village I worked in. Many are illiterate and cant help with homework. Also, all are farmers and have much work to do on their farms. Most students help their parents on the farms when school is out. -Paco Martin del Campo

    senior, Columbia University

    What type of furniture is used in the classroom?If they are lucky, students have shared desks. If not, they sit on the floor. If they do have furniture, the rooms are often crowded with desks and students with only a narrow pathway for the teacher. In the class I visited, there were 58 students in the room to one teacher. Four kids shared a desk that was about 36 inches long. The children there are very thin. -Van Nguyen,

    Regional Inspector Generals Office in Dakar, Senegal


  • Knowing we would likely be focusing on furniture, we made a trip to a local elementary school for firsthand data on sizing for primary school children.

    group collaboration second grade seats : 14 talldesks : 10 x 13


  • concept development : slate

    We wanted to create a slate system that could be used in the classro