Solving the Problem of Biased Desks

Published: 2021-07-02 12:40:05
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Category: Problems

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Statistics reveals that 10% of the world’s population is left-handed. That means that as of 2018 there are roughly 770 million left-handed people in the world. Through the course of their education in school, pre-university and university, they face a major disadvantage because of biased desks which favours right-handed population. Research and evidence shows us that most of these students experience discomfort in their wrist muscles, back and neck due to spasms and catches they develop because of the ‘biased desks’ in which they are seated through the entire course of their day. To compromise for the unavailability of a left-arm support, they often adopt the ‘crooked-hand position’ (i.e. the wrist is bent in a certain manner while writing) which is bad for their wrist and shoulders.
During time-based tests, and while taking down lecture notes, they are at a disadvantage and this affects their productivity apart from the negative effects on their neck and muscles. For example, if we observe NTU’s Lee Kong Chian Lecture theatre, we see that apart from the 2 disabled-friendly desks, there are no desks with a left-arm support. The situation is similar across various educational institutions across the world where there are only a few desks with a left-arm support if any. Therefore, there is a pressing need for a solution which caters to the problem currently faced by the left-handed population in the educational institutions. The solution we have proposed is the development of a support structure that fits in to the left of the current arm support (which is on the right), like a lock-and-key arrangement. The structure will be light, but stable. Also, the support structure will be made of low-cost Zoltek carbon-fibre and centre of mass calculations and measurements will be taken care of so that there is no net torque acting on the whole table resulting in deformation or breaking of the table because of the weight of the student’s arm. A few such structures can be kept at the entrance to every lecture theatre so that the students can take them and attach it themselves on need basis.The benefits of such a product are listed in the subsequent lines. First and foremost, the left-handed population of the respective educational institutions will benefit because they will not be facing any hand, back or neck aches when writing. Also, they will not be at a disadvantage with respect to the right-handed students when answering time-based tests or taking down notes.Secondly, the institution which adopts the proposed solution will benefit because it’s credibility as a growing educational organization meeting with the demands of its students increases. Apart from that, installing these ‘lock-and-key’ type arrangement structures are very cost-effective in relation to replacing the entire chair which costs extra money to the institution and takes up a lot of time. Lastly, we provide a 1-year warranty for our product based on the terms and conditions of claiming the warranty.
Once the order for the number, dimensions and colour of the structures is confirmed, we will outsource the manufacturing process to a third-party organization. Delivery period of the structures depends on the order size. We DO NOT compromise on the quality of our structures even though it is manufactured by a third-party. There are certain strict regulations and quality –control practices which have to be adopted and maintained when the product is being manufactured, so that the functionality of the product is not compromised on. We also ensure prompt delivery and better after-sales service and maintenance as and when required. The estimated costs involved are stated below:Zoltek carbon-fibre costs S$16.44/kilo. From the calculations we have made, the total production cost of the product is S$20.55. Accounting for all other explicit and implicit costs, we have set the selling price of the structure to be S$30/unit for a minimum order of 100 units. To replace the entire chair, it costs around S$50/unit. Therefore, our product is definitely a cheaper alternative.
Finally, as a necessary repetition, it is important to restate that a significant proportion of the left-handed population suffer from chronic shoulder, neck and wrist spasms and pain because of the lack of support for their left arm when writing. This also affects their productivity in lectures and during exams in comparison to the right-handed students.Our solution is just the one required to solve this problem in a cost-effective manner. The use of our support structure is also very easy, because one does not require any technical knowledge to attach the structure to the table. In addition, since the product can be attached within a few seconds, there is no setup time which is required as in the case of installing whole new table sets.

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