Shower Chair Design

2021 Ongoing Personal Project

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a condition that is estimated to affect somewhere between one and three million people in the United States. Among many things, POTS patients may suffer from chronic fatigue, lightheadedness, fainting spells, headaches, and more. Standing up typically worsens conditions for POTS patients and may cause them to faint.

Showering is a normal part of a daily routine for most people in the United States. For many POTS patients however, prolonged standing in the shower along with the heat can make them more ill. As a result POTS patients find sitting during a shower more comfortable. In fact, many will sit on the ground in the shower during days they already feel particularly ill.

I have sought to design a sitting device to aid people with POTS in the shower. After speaking with a POTS sufferer, I discovered the following needs for a sitting device:

1. Is aesthetically pleasing

2. Is affordable

3. Is accessible (Note: for this user that means durability, sturdiness, easy set up, easy maintenance, and mobility. Other disabled users may have different requirements.

Based on this criteria, I conducted market research and have illustrated my findings here:

Based on my research, I was unable to find any products that met all three criteria acceptably for the POTS user. While many of the products are functional and can be affordable, many look like they belong in a hospital. This is not a desirable aesthetic for the young POTS user with modern taste. Additionally, when products were found to be aesthetic, they could not meet the other criteria.

 

This presents an opportunity to design a product that can meet all of these needs.

I am currently in the ideation process to design a device for this scenario. Below are some of the ideas:

As I continue this project, I plan to survey and interview more POTS patients to better understand their needs in a shower chair. From there I will continue to ideate and develop an innovative and beautiful solution for these users.