A global company that specializes in making fitness equipment has nearly a dozen new product ideas to consider, thanks to students at University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Johnson Health Tech, which has a Wisconsin office in Cottage Grove, near Madison, worked with students in an industrial design class during the fall semester. Students, under the direction of Associate Professor Jennifer Astwood, were asked to develop fitness and wellness product ideas for the company.
Six teams of students formally presented their ideas in mid-December, as the semester was ending, at UW-Stout’s Micheels Hall.
They developed 11 new product concepts that, as part of the exchange, the company now will be able to consider for further development.
The presentations were heard by two industrial design employees at Johnson Health Tech, Kyle Neuser and Ryan Crist. They are alumni of UW-Stout’s undergraduate program in industrial design.
“Students were excited to work on a real-world project,” Astwood said. “Johnson Health Tech was happy with the results and may return for another similar project, so it was a success.”
The name of the class was Product Interface Design, an upper level course for industrial design majors.
As the project was beginning, students toured Johnson Health Tech in Cottage Grove.
“We were curious to see how the class would respond to an open-ended project. We set the stage with a challenge to promote wellness and fitness in the workplace,” Crist said.
“Through exploration and research, the teams were able to come together and deliver concepts that solve real world challenges. The experience overall was great for both sides. We were pleased to be a part of it and look forward to future collaborations,” Crist added.
The open-ended nature of the design challenge gave students plenty of freedom, although they only had about six weeks to start and finish their projects.
“I was impressed with students’ ability to collaborate with each other. With an open-ended product, it was fun to see where they would take it. They developed new concepts and let research guide their designs,” Astwood said.
Top: Kyle Neuser, center, motioning, and Ryan Crist, right, from Johnson Health Tech of Cottage Grove review new fitness product ideas created by students.
Middle: Neuser, left, and Crist discuss students' projects.
Bottom: The class, led by Associate Professor Jennifer Astwood, left, gathers in Micheels Hall with Neuser and Crist.