Minotaur is a water delivery system that provides greater control, functionality and comfort to the user when extinguishing fires irrespective of the duration of operation.
The design works with the user not against them. To utilise the entire body mass to counteract the opposing water pressure the nozzle is connected to the harness within the users centre of gravity.
Freedom of movement and comfort whilst wearing the harness is achieved by padding contoured to the body so that it moves as one with the user. Advancements in the control of the nozzle are achieved with the free flowing handle offering dynamic handling positions. Handle angles have been calculated so that the user is over the top of the nozzle with the wrist situated in a neutral position. The Minotaur fire-hose nozzle has achieved the objectives that I established from my research. It is a more ergonomic design, which affords the user greater comfort and control during use when compared to existing nozzles.
Initial interest for the Minotaur fire nozzle system was sparked when I was fortunate enough to participate in a Disaster Relief workshop that focused on how design can mitigate the effects of a disaster situation. I was inspired by the opportunity presented for design to make a significant difference within the area of Disaster Relief. Having later written an essay on the effects a disaster has on individuals I realised that I would have to direct my focus towards a specific scenario or relief aid service. After surveying all the services that assist with disaster relief, the fire service was chosen as the focus of the research and design process because their involvement encompasses not only disaster relief but also everyday emergency scenarios.
Research into equipment used by the fire service soon presented an opportunity to design a new and innovative fire-hose nozzle. Research was conducted on the current hose nozzle from which I discovered many flaws in the design in terms of fundamental ergonomic principles. I surveyed user experience, which I supported with my own experience of operating the hose nozzle. Throughout the research process I was developing my ideas and hypotheses that would later materialise as a model to evaluate my proposed design solutions. My initial design lacked innovation so I set out to develop a product that would be challenging and initiate a new direction within fire fighting equipment design. The key principle of my design was to relieve the force of water pressure from the users hand and arm. More research produced new ideas and sketches that were explored using polystyrene and calico fabric. My design was then finalised with CAD and physical prototypes to the point of being manufacturable.