Part 1 - Discovery

The Self-Inflating Paddleboard

For this first Seek & Geek, I decided to go with this self-inflating paddleboard. The reason (besides it looking like a cool product) is that most of my experience with inflatable devices has involved some noticeable measure of - well, let's call it "squishyness" or, give. Have you ever spent a night on an air mattress? Surely, there are many factors that affect the behavior of the product by means of the gas inside it. There is the Ideal Gas Law, for example, relating the pressure and volume of a given body of gas to its temperature and the amount of gas in there (and let's not forget the ideal gas constant).

Now, I should mention that on a previous project I worked on a few months ago, my team did a little exploration into devices that took advantage of inflatables. I remember us exploring the ideas behind Aircast. The devices I saw, however, exhibited either the same issues as the air mattress above, or had multiple bladders that required filling up independently.

So, looking at this product got me thinking about the possibilities: how can we design and build devices that are easily portable, as inflatable products generally are, while minimizing the compromise in the stiffness of the structure AND keeping usability as simple as possible? After all, if you tried to stand on a pool mattress, odds are you wouldn't stay dry for long. An inflatable paddleboard is not so different - and yet, it seems you can stand on it just fine.

Here's the link, in case you want to check it out:

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