This study focuses on soft boot snowboard bindings by looking at how users interact with their binding and proposes a possible solution to overcome such issues. Snowboarding is a multibillion-dollar sport that has only reached mainstream in the last 30 years its levels of progression in technology have evolved in that time. However, snowboard bindings for the most part still consist of the same basic architecture in the last 20 years. This study was aimed at taking a user centric point of view and using additive manufacturing technologies to be able to generate a new snowboard binding that is completely adaptable to the user. The initial part of the study was a survey of 280 snowboarders focussing on preferences, style and habits. This survey was generated from over 15 nations with the vast majority of boarders on the snow for five to fifty days a year. Significant emphasis was placed on the relationship between boarder binding set-up and occurrence of pain and/or injury. From the detailed survey it was found that boarder's experienced pain in the front foot/toe area as a result from the toe strap being too tight. However boarders wanted tighter bindings to increase responsiveness. Survey data was compared to ankle and foot biomechanics to build a relationship to assess the problem of pain versus responsiveness. The design stage of the study was to develop a binding that overcame the over-tightening of the binding but still maintain equivalent or better responsiveness compared to traditional bindings. The resulting design integrated the snowboard boot much more into the design, by using the sole as a "semi-rigid" platform and locking it in laterally between the heel cup and the new toe strap arrangement. The new design developed using additive manufacturing techniques was tested via qualitative and quantitative measures in the snow and in the lab. It was found that using the new arrangement in a system resulted in no loss of performance or responsiveness to the user. Due to the design and manufacturing approach users have the ability to customise the design to their specific needs.
Collins, P. K., Leen, R., & Alvarez, C. U. (2016). User Centric Design, Data Analysis and Performance of Snowboard Bindings. In Procedia Engineering (Vol. 147, pp. 437–442). Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2016.06.336