Industrial - Bachelors

Ergo Flora

Ergo Flora is an ergonomic tool designed to reduce the chances of RSI and other musculoskeletal injuries by alleviating the strain, stress, and excessive motion placed on the hands, wrists, and elbows of florists during the process of cleaning flower stems

The Problem

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and other musculoskeletal injuries have remained an overlooked, widespread concern within the floristry industry for an extended period. This issue not only hampers the efficiency of florists in their professional endeavours but also significantly impacts their physical well-being, thereby affecting their overall quality of life. To thoroughly investigate and address this issue, I undertook a multifaceted research approach, encompassing an extensive academic literature review, structured surveys, and in-depth interviews and observations. This methodology aimed to unravel the underlying causes and potential solutions to this issue, ultimately seeking to enhance their occupational health and performance.

The Research

The literature review consists of extensive research on repetitive strain injury (RSI), especially focusing on compressive neuropathies (type 1 RSI) including carpel tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuritis, and radial tunnel syndrome. Other injuries such as lateral epicondylitis were also researched.
It was found that floristry was an occupation lacking in research in this area, hence the gap was filled by identifying parallels from related industries and activities that involve similar repetitive movements.

The three main prevention strategies suggested were:
• Reduce repetitive movements where possible, or take breaks in between.
• Reduce limbs being in unnatural positions for long periods of time repetitively.
• Using more ergonomic tools, equipment, and workstations.

To support the research conducted above, the triangulation technique was employed for quantitative and qualitative research to gain insights from the industry experts themselves, utilising surveys, interviews, and observations. From the comprehensive analysis conducted, it was evident that the utmost concern demanding exploration lies within the flower preparation process, with a specific focus on addressing the pain and discomfort experienced in the hand and fingers.

To view the full research report, please click on the link below.

View Research Report

The Process

From the research conducted, I generated 5 diverse potential design opportunities to help reduce the chances of injury for florists within the stem stripping and cleaning process.

I chose to move forward with and further develop the handheld tools because florists need to maintain a certain amount of control over the stems which machines are unable to achieve, and may also be quite expensive for small local florists.

To view my full design development record of the whole process, please click on the link below.

View Design Development Record

Introducing Ergo Flora

Hero render of Ergo Flora in context next bunch of flowers on desk

Ergo Flora is designed to provide invaluable assistance to florists by offering an alternative to conventional florist knives and scissors with an emphasis on both enhanced efficiency and user-friendliness. With the predominant demographic in the florist industry being women, the design approach places a strong emphasis on aesthetics, featuring a rounded and streamlined form that resonates with the preferences of this target demographic. Moreover, Ergo Flora is available in a range of carefully curated colour choices to seamlessly integrate into the diverse and vibrant floral environments in which it is used, further enhancing its visual appeal and functionality within the profession.

Top blade render

Top Blade

The top blade draws inspiration from the concept of fruit peelers, introducing a design that optimises stem cleaning efficiency within the floristry profession. The innovation lies in its bidirectional cutting mechanism, which significantly reduces the need for repetitive upward and downward movements along the stem.

What sets Ergo Flora apart is its adaptability to the user’s hand position, rather than requiring the user to conform to the tool. By simply applying a gentle pull on the top blade holder and a twist, the blade orientation can be adjusted to accommodate the user’s preferred grip, ensuring a more intuitive and ergonomic cutting experience.

Additionally, the replaceable blade feature ensures the longevity and sustained sharpness of the tool, as users can effortlessly swap out blades when they become dull, promoting both safety and efficiency in floristry tasks.
Hand holding the Ergo Flora

Ergonomic Shape

Ergo Flora incorporates careful attention to user comfort and safety by leveraging data on the average hand and grip size of women, the primary demographic within the floristry industry. The tool’s ergonomic design features a thoughtfully curved shape, enhancing its versatility and facilitating easy grip in a multitude of hand positions. This design approach allows users to effortlessly customise their grip to suit their individual preferences, thereby ensuring a comfortable and intuitive cutting experience.

To further enhance safety and control, Ergo Flora integrates silicone grips strategically placed to prevent slippage during use. These grips not only provide a secure hold but also enhance tactile feedback, enabling florists to maintain precision and dexterity while working with delicate floral materials. This combination of ergonomic design and anti-slip features creates a tool that is both user-centric and effective, enhancing the overall florist experience.
Bottom Blade Render

Bottom Blade

The bottom blade provides users with a seamless and efficient cutting experience. Is it uniquely engineered to facilitate straight cuts down the stem, serving as an alternative to conventional scissors. This design incorporates a spring-loaded cap mechanism that responds to pressure from the stem. When pushed upward, the cap compresses against the spring, allowing the blade to make a precise cut, and upon release, the cap automatically reverts to its original position.

In addition, the top of Ergo Flora features a blade indicator line, strategically placed to aid users in achieving precision and accuracy during cutting tasks. To maintain peak cutting performance, the bottom blade can also be easily replaced when it becomes dull, prolonging the life and utility of this essential florist tool. This comprehensive approach to functionality and user-friendly design sets Ergo Flora apart as a reliable and efficient companion for florists in their daily tasks.

Manufacturing Details

Exploded view of Ergo Flora

View Manufacturing Details

Crystal Chen

Crystal is a self-driven industrial designer whose commitment to creating innovative designs is complemented by a strong desire to make a positive impact and assist others. She is also passionate and skilled in graphics and UX design.