The Conceptualisation and Development of a Space-Saving Multipurpose Table for Enhanced Ergonomic Performance
1.1. The Table
1.2. Problem Statement
- RQ1: How can a table be conceptualised and developed mechanically for improved multifunctionality and space-saving characteristics?
- RQ2: How can the proof of concept and ergonomic performance of the proposed invention be demonstrated?
2. Literature Review
2.1. Scholarly Research on Furniture Designs
2.2. Patent Research
2.3. Classification of Features, Functions and Usage
Key Features and Functions
3.2. Concept Generation
3.2.1. Concept 1
3.2.2. Concept 2
3.2.3. Concept 3
3.2.4. Concept Scoring
- Multifunctionality: Since this study aims to develop a multifunctional table, multifunctionality is an important criterion. According to Yudina , multifunctionality is one of the future trends when it comes to the development of furniture. Therefore, it is important for this criterion to bear the highest weight in the scoring process.
- Ease of transforming: Since this study aims to develop a foldable table, the ease in the device’s transformation is a relevant and important criterion as well. According to Yudina , modern furniture designs are developed out of detailed work in maintaining the flexibility of space. The foldable aspect of the device would help maintain this flexibility of space, and therefore needs to be executed effectively and efficiently. Thus, the criterion regarding the flexibility, smoothness or ease of design transformation is important in this scoring process, and is also allocated with the highest weight of importance.
- Ease of fabrication: This criterion is concerned with the complexity of the design for the fabrication process. According to Donatello, et al. , there is a clear trend in the market that favours low-cost furniture which is mass produced. Since the complexity of furniture design affects the cost and efficiency of production, it is important to keep the design simple to ensure that the fabrication process is also simple. Therefore, the ease of fabrication is considered as a selection criterion for the scoring process.
- Space-saving: The prototype needs to be designed in such a way that it can be stored easily. According to Tan , space availability can be a major consideration in the design of furniture.
3.3. Usability Test Plan
3.3.1. Test 1 Plan: Time Usage
- Case A (control group): Test with 4 single-function furniture which include a table, a chair, a rack and a stepladder.
- Case B (test group): Test with the space-saving multipurpose table.
- The experimenter places a pen and paper on the single-function table in the test room.
- The participant assumes a seated posture at the table and gets ready to engage in a writing activity using the pen and paper placed on the single-function table.
- The timer starts the moment the participant commences writing a given message on the paper for 5 s.
- After completing the writing task, the participant is required to walk towards the single-function rack in the test room and place the paper in the rack.
- A guest is then invited by the participant to proceed with some discussion. In order to reduce bias, the same person is used as the guest for all scenarios wherever applicable.
- The participant needs to retrieve an additional single-function chair for the guest from Room two and place it on point X (see Figure 5).
- The timer stops after the guest has sat on the single-function chair for 3 s.
- Steps 1 to 5 are repeated with the same participant using the space-saving multipurpose table (test group).
- For the test group, instead of retrieving an additional chair for the guest in step 6, the participant converts the proposed invention from its table-transformed state into a chair.
- The timer for the test group stops when the guest sits on the chair for 3 s.
- The timer starts the moment the participant retrieves a book from the single-function rack in the test room.
- The participant moves to the single-function chair situated at point X in the test room, and sits on it to read the book for 5 s.
- The participant moves to Room two to retrieve a single-function stepladder and place it on point Y.
- The participant moves up the single-function stepladder to retrieve something from a high place.
- The timer stops after the participant successfully comes down from the stepladder.
- The proposed invention is in its chair-transformed state at point X. A book is placed at the bottom rack of the chair.
- The timer starts the moment the same participant from the control group begins to retrieve a book from the bottom rack of the proposed invention which is in its chair-transformed state.
- The participant immediately sits on the proposed invention and reads the book for 5 s.
- Then, the participant moves the invention from point X to Y, and transforms the invention into a stepladder.
- The participant ascends the stepladder to retrieve something from a high place.
- The timer stops after the participant successfully comes down from the stepladder.
- Steps 1 to 4 from scenario 1 are repeated.
- Steps 3 to 5 from scenario 2 are repeated.
- Step 1 from in scenario 3 is repeated with the same participant using the proposed invention.
- Steps 9 to 11 from scenario 2 is repeated.
- Steps 1 to 7 from scenario 1 are repeated (without the timer stopping at step 7).
- Steps 1 to 5 from scenario 2 are repeated (without the timer starting at step 1).
- Steps 8 to 10 from scenario 1 are repeated (without the timer stopping at step 10).
- Steps 6 to 11 from scenario 2 are repeated (without the timer starting at step 7).
3.3.2. Test 2 Plan: Space Availability
3.3.3. Test 3 Plan: Usability Survey and Feedback
3.4. Analysis Plan
3.4.1. Test 1—Scenario 1 Hypotheses
- Null hypothesis, H01.1—There is no significant difference in the time to complete the tasks between Case A1 and Case B1.
- Alternative hypothesis, Ha1.1—There is a significant difference in the time to complete the tasks between Case A1 and Case B1.
3.4.2. Test 1—Scenario 2 Hypotheses
- Null hypothesis, H01.2—There is no significant difference in the time to complete the tasks between Case A2 and Case B2.
- Alternative hypothesis, Ha1.2—There is a significant difference in the time to complete the tasks between Case A2 and Case B2.
3.4.3. Test 1—Scenario 3 Hypotheses
- Null hypothesis, H01.3—There is no significant difference in the time to complete the tasks between Case A3 and Case B3.
- Alternative hypothesis, Ha1.3—There is a significant difference in the time to complete the tasks between Case A3 and Case B3.
3.4.4. Test 1—Scenario 4 Hypotheses
- Null hypothesis, H01.4—There is no significant difference in the time to complete the tasks between Case A4 and Case B4.
- Alternative hypothesis, Ha1.4—There is a significant difference in the time to complete the tasks between Case A4 and Case B4.
4.1. Table Dimensions
4.2. Component Selection: Hinge
- Open range: This criterion indicates the usability of the hinge, which includes determining the opening width of the hinge.
- Durability: This criterion checks the robustness of the hinge through its characteristics.
- Stability: This criterion indicates the steadiness of the connection when the hinge is in operation.
- Cost: This criterion focusses on the extent of cost for mass production.
- Load capacity: This criterion looks into the weight that the hinge can withstand to maintain its durability.
4.3. Material Selection
4.4. Simulations and Analysis
4.4.1. CAD Simulation Results
4.4.2. Mechanical Analysis
5. Results and Discussion
5.1. Final Prototype
- The user performs a writing task on the device in its table mode.
- The written material is kept in the rack located below the surface of the table.
- The table is transformed into a chair through the use of a butt hinge in the middle of the table which allows one side of the table top to be flipped. The table legs on the flipped surface are folded through the use of butt hinges too, and locked at the side with magnets. The flipped surface is fastened with stainless steel clips on both sides.
- The user sits on the device in its chair mode.
- The stainless-steel clips at the lower half of the chair legs are unfastened in order to switch the chair into its stepladder mode.
- The lower half of the chair legs is unlocked and flipped to the user’s right side.
- The chair’s backrest faces downwards and acts as a support for the stepladder, and the rack is divided into two smaller compartments at the top and bottom of the stepladder.
- The user can now ascend the stepladder.
5.2. Results for Test 1: Time Usage
5.2.1. Power Analysis and Sample Size Estimation
5.2.2. Paired Sample t-Test
5.3. Results for Test 2: Space Availability
5.4. Results for Test 3: Usability Survey and Feedback
5.4.1. Descriptive Analysis
5.4.2. Reliability and Normality Analysis
5.4.3. Unstructured Feedback
5.5. General Discussion
5.6. Cost Analysis
6.1. Key Findings Based on Research Questions
6.1.1. RQ1: Improved Multifunctionality and Space-Saving Characteristics
6.1.2. RQ2: Proof of Concept and Ergonomic Performance
6.2. Limitations of the Study
6.3. Recommendations for Future Research
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Usage||Features and Functions||Sources|
|Domestic; Study; General||Space-saving attribute||[30,38,39,41,42,46,48]|
|Domestic; Study||Height-adjustable attribute||[29,38,42]|
|Table and chair functions||[46,48]|
|Domestic||Stitch folding attribute||[27,37]|
|Table and bench functions||[43,47]|
|Sources||Type of Design||Features and Functions|
|Scholarly Papers||Foldabilising furniture||Stitch folding attribute|
|Adjustable table with drawer||Multi-space and height-adjustable attributes|
|Convertible furniture||Space-saving attribute|
|Capsule-shaped table and chair||Modular design|
|Patents||Portable self-storing folding table||Stitch folding attribute|
|Folding table with extendable legs||Collapsible, space-saving and height-adjustable attributes|
|Foldable table||Foldable and space-saving attributes|
|Foldable table (for domestic purposes)||Foldable legs|
|Vertically-elevated foldable frame table||Space-saving attribute|
|Shelf mountable table||Sliding and space-saving attributes|
|Collapsible table (table and bench configuration)||Functions as a table and bench; foldable|
|Expandable table||Able to increase table surface|
|Folding table umbrella wagon||Foldable with additional wheel|
|Foldable table with chair||Functions as a table and chair; space-saving and foldable attributes|
|Foldable banquet table and bench set||Functions as a table and bench; foldable|
|Foldable desk with foldable chair||Functions as a desk and chair; foldable and space-saving attributes|
|Pet kennel furniture||Multi-space attribute|
|Ideas||Self-proposed idea||Functions as a ladder|
|Self-proposed idea||Functions as stairs|
|Self-proposed idea||Functions as a rack|
|(A) Foldable legs (two legs)||(E) Adjustable height|
|(B) Foldable legs (four legs)||(F) Convertible|
|(C) Collapsible||(G) Modular|
|(D) Stitch folding||(H) Multi-space|
|(J) Functions as a bench|
|(K) Functions as a chair|
|(L) Functions as a ladder|
|(M) Functions as stairs|
|(N) Functions as a rack|
|Selection Criteria||Weight (%)||Concepts|
|Ease of Transforming||30||4||1.2||4||1.2||5||1.5|
|Ease of Fabrication||20||5||1.0||4||0.8||4||0.8|
|Type||Dimension (L × W × H) cm|
|Table||100 × 60 × 75|
|107 × 76 × 78|
|105 × 74 × 80|
|Chair||52 × 51 × 84|
|46 × 42 × 83|
|51 × 48 × 80|
|Selection Criteria||Weight (%)||Hinge|
|Butt Hinge||Side Hinge||Corner Hinge|
|Type||Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa)|
|Selection Criteria||Weight (%)||Wood|
|Ease of fabrication||10||3||0.30||4||0.40||2||0.20||5||0.50||1||0.10|
|Modulus of elasticity of nyatoh wood, E = 12200 MPa|
|Height, h = 30 mm|
|Table||L = b = 840 mm|
|Chair||L = b = 400 mm|
|Stepladder||L = b = 230 mm|
|Scenario||Difference||Sample Size||Actual Power|
|Single-function furniture (cm)||Table||110 × 60 × 43|
|Chair||42 × 51.5 × 95|
|Rack||41.5 × 51.5 × 43.5|
|Stepladder (folded)||44 × 88 × 136|
|All items arranged together||196 × 60 × 126|
|Space-Saving Multipurpose Table (cm)||85 × 45 × 44|
|No.||Items||Levels (With Scale)||No. of Scores||M||SD|
|1||Age||1: 18–19 years old||0||2.333||0.516|
|2: 20–21 years old||4 (66.667%)|
|3: 22–23 years old||2 (33.333%)|
|2||Gender||1: Male||3 (50.000%)||1.500||0.548|
|2: Female||3 (50.000%)|
|1: Strongly disagree||0||6.424||0.213|
|3: Somewhat disagree||0|
|5: Somewhat agree||0|
|6: Agree||38 (57.576%)|
|7: Strongly agree||28 (42.424%)|
|1: Strongly disagree||0||6.667||0.327|
|3: Somewhat disagree||0|
|5: Somewhat agree||0|
|6: Agree||23 (76.667%)|
|7: Strongly agree||7 (23.333%)|
|No.||Variable||Cronbach’s Alpha (α)||No. of Items|
|1||Ergonomic Performance (EP)||0.630||11|
|2||Space-Saving Effectiveness (S)||0.750||5|
|Ergonomic Performance (EP)||0.216||6||0.200||0.841||6||0.133|
|Space-Saving Effectiveness (S)||0.180||6||0.200||0.920||6||0.505|
|Space-Saving Effectiveness and Ergonomic Performance||0.851||0.032|
|Positive Summary||Excellent functionality.|
Excellent stability in all functions.
Smooth transformation process.
Occupies less storage and functional space.
|Negative Summary||Table height is low.|
Rack storage is small.
Rack space is not covered entirely.
Table is slightly heavy.
|Stainless Steel Clip||4||60|
|Fixed Cost||Estimated Cost (MYR)|
|Labour (2 workers with salary of 2400 MYR per month)||4800|
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Cheng, H.Y.; Ng, P.K.; Nathan, R.J.; Saptari, A.; Ng, Y.J.; Yeow, J.A.; Ng, K.Y. The Conceptualisation and Development of a Space-Saving Multipurpose Table for Enhanced Ergonomic Performance. Inventions 2021, 6, 67. https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions6040067
Cheng HY, Ng PK, Nathan RJ, Saptari A, Ng YJ, Yeow JA, Ng KY. The Conceptualisation and Development of a Space-Saving Multipurpose Table for Enhanced Ergonomic Performance. Inventions. 2021; 6(4):67. https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions6040067Chicago/Turabian Style
Cheng, Hou Yip, Poh Kiat Ng, Robert Jeyakumar Nathan, Adi Saptari, Yu Jin Ng, Jian Ai Yeow, and Kim Yun Ng. 2021. "The Conceptualisation and Development of a Space-Saving Multipurpose Table for Enhanced Ergonomic Performance" Inventions 6, no. 4: 67. https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions6040067