#hospitalpatientgown #3Dbodyscanning #usercenteredesign #productdevelopment #anthropometricfit #apparelindustry #textilescience

The hospital patient gown (HPG), also known as “one-size-fits-all” patient apparel, is the rare design case.  In modern society, this garment is worn by almost everyone at least once in their lifetime, and most likely multiple times. Diverse physical profiles of patients, along with their clinical needs, present a unique design challenge to satisfy HPG users with one universal design and one universal size.  While medical technology and facilities continually undergo revolutionary innovation, the standard hospital-issued gown has remained essentially unchanged since it was originally designed in the 1920s (Samson, Welsh, & Lamar, 2008). The 21st century users of the HPG are diverse in terms of age, gender, physical profiles and clinical needs, and the outdated design does not successfully meet the needs of patients and healthcare providers alike. For example, a high level of discomfort has been reported by many users of the conventional gown, due to its lack of fit (Park, Sarkar, & Cozza, 2012). In addition, a general misconception that patients are isolated from social interaction has led to a serious disregard of patients’ dignity for the expressive functions of the gown (Cho, 2006). Patients are all too familiar with the embarrassment of trying to hold together flimsy hanging pieces of fabric to avoid exposing their uncovered backsides while walking down a hospital corridor (Park, 2014).

Although some previous attention has been given to redesigning the conventional HPG, the products of these attempts have not yet been widely adopted by hospitals. This is because a satisfying alternative design has not been created based on the comprehension of the hospital’s and the patient’s needs for a new HPG. In any human-centered design process, a comprehensive understanding of the user’s needs and desires offers a critical component for the success of the final design outcomes; because it leads to more effective, efficient, and safer products that likely evoke user satisfaction (Norman, 2013).

This intriguing topic served as my Master's Thesis. The ultimate goal of this research study (currently in-press) is to offer a reference guide for the design of new hospital patient gown (HPG) by determining specific fit areas of concern and gauging acceptable ranges of size measurements for the HPGs that can be worn by men and women without excessively compromising the patients’ comfort and dignity. Specifically, the study focused on an independent predictor, namely gender, because it offers the most distinctive anthropometric body dimensions between the subgroups. The study adopted multi-dimensional fit and comfort evaluation protocol, among which was the use of a three-dimensional (3D) body scanning technology to measure anthropometric body dimensions of study participants and determine the garment fit problems of the HPG. This study collected subjective fit evaluation through surveys (quantitative), scenarios activities (quantitative), interviews (qualitative), and anthropometric fit assessment through 3D body scanning (quantitative).  Based on the characterizations of mixed-methods research proposed by scholars, the study presented quantitative-dominant mixed methods research with between-methods data/methodological triangulation.  

Statistical analyses were performed using the IBM SPSS ver. 24.0 software package.  To test the normality of data, we conducted Shapiro-Wilk tests at the 95% confidence level and nonparametric Mann-Whitney U tests. Additionally, Pearson correlation and univariate linear regression analyses were performed to understand relationships between continuous variables. Principal component analysis (PCA) were also performed to reduce the dimensionality of variables when appropriate. Descriptive analyses calculated means, standard deviations, frequency and percentage. Additionally, we transcribed qualitative interview data verbatim and analyzed the data using the constant comparison approach (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). 

The study criticized the existing design approaches and urged researchers, designers, and manufacturers to continue exploring and evaluating novel design solutions for a new HPG. The new HPG should consider as many patients as possible in order to increase the overall well-being and positive hospital experience. Additionally, the practicality of using advanced fabric technologies should also be examined within the scope of cost-effectiveness. The HPG is a simple yet complicated garment that needs to satisfy diverse needs of multiple end users. 

(Full-text publication)

3D body scanning

#nanotechnology #smartextiles #textilescience #nanomaterials #nanofibers #carbonblack #nanoparticle

Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary field of applied sciences (biology, chemistry & physics), technology (computer programming) and engineering (design & electronics) (Qian, 2004). Nanotechnology is a promising scientific area that develops smaller, lighter, faster and cheaper products that can perform multiple functions in a much more clever way while at the same time consuming less energy and materials. The ubiquitous nature of nanotechnology has benefited many areas of research and development – from medicine to manufacturing, material science, computing, cosmetics, optics, energy, etc. This emerging industry has already proven its constructive solutions to various long-standing medical and environmental issues. For instance molecular manufacturing could solve many of the world’s problems likewise, the constant demand of more advanced devices for health monitoring and treatment, the water storage, infectious diseases and hundreds of others.

Various textile manufacturers have already begun to use nanomaterial in their products and because nanofibers and nanoparticles have such unique properties they are able to design excellent fabrics with extreme strength, durability and resistance. These nano-enhanced fabrics could be used in medicine, military or construction. This new generation of textile fibers (often referred to as "smart textiles") have improved functionality and a wide range of applications would most certainly improve the comfort and lifestyle of millions of people worldwide. Specifically, smart textiles are advanced materials that can adapt their functionality to environmental conditions or stimuli. For instance, some of the conditions that these materials could react and respond to are mechanical, electrical, chemical or thermal (Agrawal & Jassal, 2011). They can be used for technical applications such as bio-processing, biomedical, sensors, etc. 

During my graduate research assistantship, I had the opportunity to work as a textile science graduate research assistant where I performed textile science laboratory work on smart textiles and nanotechnology. During this time, I mastered my skills and knowledge in textile science technology for the advancement of textiles with greater performance, durability and resistance via novel applications of nanotechnology. One of the research projects dealt with testing various textile samples by applying SDCB (self-dispersible carbon black) nanoparticle and seeing how well the carbon nanodots adhere. In addition, I performed instrumental analysis using a TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy) and FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) to enhance the research study. 


#naturaldyes #sustainabledyes #textilescience #colorfastness #persimmonnaturaldye #colorquest #AATCC #FTIR

The textile industry is one of the most polluting in the world. With the rise of fast fashion, textile waste is filling our landfills. These textile materials are often made with harmful petroleum-based chemicals, which were left over from the dyeing process. The growing recognition of natural dyes have attracted a significant attention in the textile science field. Natural dyes tend to exhibit far better biodegradability than man made dyes. They are also non-toxic therefore, non-polluting and far less health hazardous. Natural dyes can be obtained from various sources such as plants, animals and microbes. Although microbial dyes have a slight advantage over plant and animal based dyes, microbial dyes are fast-growing and have the potential of being more easily standardized and mass produced. Although natural dyes are valued in the market, they are also known to lack colorfastness. Because natural dyes are more compatible with the environment, they are also more favored by environmentally friendly people across the world.

This preliminary research study was conducted during my first year of graduate studies at Colorado State University. For this study, I collaborated with one of the DM faculty and another graduate student. The purpose of this preliminary study was to investigate the effect of different pH concentrations (pH 3, pH 6, and pH 10) on cotton and wool fabrics using persimmon natural dye. This research used a concentration of 200% for both cotton and wool samples. A special perspiration solution was prepared to which all samples were soaked for 30 ± 2 minutes and then exposed to high temperature in a standard perspiration oven. The performance was characterized using grey scales, color strength and appearance analysis (ColorQuest), American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists colorfastness tests, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). 


#millennials #consumerbehavior #socialresponsibility #productattributes #madeinUSA

During my graduate research assistantship, I collaborated with another graduate student to explore Millennial consumers’ perceptions of socially responsible product attributes (SRPA) (i.e. no sweat label, fair wages, safe work environment, etc.) and the decision-making process of purchasing USA Made versus Foreign Made apparel.

Millennials, the largest consumer group in U.S. history, have enormous buying power, thus studying them is of great interest. A focus group was conducted using snowball sampling where the participants were university students between the ages of 18 and 35. Qualitative data analysis identified themes in the participants’ responses. 

Millennial consumers were specifically interested in satisfying TPAs (i.e. price, quality and fit) before they were willing to consider the social responsibility aspect of either USA or Foreign Made apparel products. However, when it came to choosing a USA Made vs. Foreign Made apparel product, their world-mindedness overshadowed concerns about the domestic economy. 

Foreign Made products were considered socially responsible in that their production supports the marginalized workforce overseas. The contradicting findings of this exploratory study and the relevant literature warrant further investigation of Millennial consumers’ complex consumption preferences.

(Presented at 2015 International Textile and Apparel Association Conference) To download the proceeding, click here

To download the peer-reviewed paper inspired from this preliminary research, click here


#mountainrescue #firstresponders #productdevelopment #functionality #accessibility #backpack

During my graduate studies, I worked on an independent research project with 2 other graduate students that explored common inhibiting issues such as, functionality and accessibility that mountain rescue first responders have with their backpacks. The study conducted several semi-structured focus group sessions with mountain rescue first responders over a 1-hour discussion using snowball sampling, limited to the Rocky Mountain Region.

A qualitative approach was applied where the focus group discussion data was transcribed verbatim and organized by common themes identified. Direct content analysis was used where codes derived from the discussion were defined before and during the data analysis process. 

This research study identified five major themes that incorporate the functionality and accessibility issues with the current backpacks, and they are the following: Durability, flexibility, visibility, modularity and usability. The five identified themes were analyzed using the FEA product attribute model as a need assessment of mountain rescue first responders’ backpacks. This was an exploratory study with potential global implications.