Toadette: ergonomic, affordable, and fun seating


The challenge: For my senior thesis, I chose to solve the pain points associated with a yoga ball used as an office chair

Design goals:

  • ergonomic, good for your back
  • functional features, like height adjustment and wheels
  • strong industrial design
  • affordable (less than $100 market price -> ~$25 manufacturing cost at scale)

What I did: Needfinding, paper prototypes, machined prototype, manufacturing plan, user testing

The result: After a few iterations (and slightly dangerous prototypes), I came up with this design:

  • an air-filled Bosu ball, which could have its firmness adjusted to fit the user
  • a five-wheel base for stability with color-coordinated wheels to match the Bosu ball
  • a lever to adjust the height of the stool
  • available in a variety of colors
  • manufacturing cost: approx. $35, including parts, labor, warranty, and freight shipping

When: Spring 2009

Duration: 1 quarter

Final prototype

Below, you can review the final prototype and a few drawings created in Solidworks.

User feedback

During the design process, I was focused on my users, via continuous testing and redesign of the stool. Here are the highlights from the feedback for the final design.