Everyday tasks often require two healthy hands. If you're holding a baby in one of them, or wearing a cast, or suffering from arthritis, everyday tasks become painful, frustrating, and discouraging. My classmate Audrey Levy and I sought to address this issue, developing a solution to a problem neither of us had considered prior to investigating one-handed tasks.

Some people just don't have two free hands all the time.

We started with gloves and shoes. After researching existing tools, concept sketching, and quick-fail prototyping, I suggested we pivot to socks—flipping them right-side-out and folding pairs. (Go ahead. Try doing either of those with one hand. I'll wait.) 
I carved an initial concept (pictured below, to the far left) and it worked. We tested it with a variety of subjects, some of whom possessed limited function in one or both hands, with moderate success. We altered our design and found greater consistency through further prototyping.

Early functional prototypes.

We adopted a shape reminiscent of an actual sock, and selected wood as our preferred material for its elegance, antimicrobial properties, and warmth. While Audrey applied her artistry to the aesthetic, I handled the functionality. Together we arrived at a surprisingly satisfying product, making everyday, frustrating tasks more accessible to an underserved market.

With a hidden barrel hinge, Sock Friend not only flips socks, but pairs them.

Feedback from professionals and professors rewarded our attentiveness to nuanced problems, the little pinch some people feel in daily life. I intend to continue developing my awareness around these details, refining my approach to make beneficial design for those who need it most.

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