Helping aid for Indian Railway porters
A helping aid for Indian Railway porters for easier head-loading of luggage.
The porters are synonymous with the Indian railway stations which witness a continuous movement of people and goods from all over the country. Porters are known for their peculiar way of head loading the heavy luggage of the passengers who travel in and out of the stations, a practice that has stayed constant through the years of changing station infrastructure and types of bags the passengers carry.
This project aims to make the process of head loading easier for the porters and more efficient.
ON GROUND RESEARCH
The project research started with a thorough immersion in the setting to build context.
The process involved observation at the railway station to see different ways people interacted with their luggage and at what stage porters came into the process.
It further progressed to fly on the wall observation, individual and group interviews with porters with respect to their work setting, pain points, etc, and shadowing their paths across the station.
Some key points that emerged from the process-
INSIGHTS AND DIRECTION
- Headloading of luggage is the most efficient practice for the porters in their given context. How might we make that process less stressful and easier to do?
-How might we reduce the impact of the weight of the bags on the head and neck?
-The porters are constantly in an outdoor environment for long hours with no fixed resting space. How might we create an intervention with minimal parts to look after when not in use?
IDEATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Brace is an exo-skeleton that intends to help the porters by making the process of head loading luggage easier and less stressful. The structure eases the weight of the bags on the head and provides a better, stable surface area for the bags to stay on. The structure further redistributes the weight through the stem onto the back.
The padding which rests on the head is a combination of soft and hard foam attached by small springs to reduce the impact of large weight on the head. Along with the headpiece, shoulders are also padding for comfortable loading of bags.
TESTING ON FIELD
Brace was tested with porters on Ahmedabad Railway Station.
Some of the positive and constructive feedback received was-
-Useful for carrying load | Prevents wobbling | Protection to the neck | Vibration padding is interesting.
-Provide padding on metal frame around the head | Change the inner lining material.
“ Ye Coolie safety kavach hai !?. ”
IMPROVEMENTS AND SCOPE AHEAD
Jacket material more user friendly
-Adaptability to the increased weight limit.
-Better proportions and conversion to act as a Backrest.
-Jacket space can be used for advertisements for Revenue generation.