At SkySaver, we have done rigorous testing to make sure the product is safe, durable, and can be used easily in an emergency situation. Previously we showed you some of the testing we’ve done to the controlled descent device (CDD) and we have also done ergonomic testing to see how humans interact with the device. We wanted to make sure that even someone who has never seen the device before would be able to easily put it in, figure out where the straps go, and be able to self-rescue quickly to avoid smoke, flames, or other dangerous situations.
As part of these tests we worked with an experienced skydiving instructor who knows all about how people use harnesses and the importance of being safely buckled in to a device.
We did the tests with two different groups using people varying in age, height, and weight. These participants had never seen a SkySaver before and were unfamiliar with how the device worked.
The testing was done in three stages and we’ll show you each stage in the images and description below:
1) Putting on the backpack
Believe it or not, this initial stage took up an entire day but we learnt a lot about how people interact with the backpack. This testing was further broken up into 3 stages and participants were asked to put on the backpack and were timed to see how long it took them. In the first stage, each participant was simply given a SkySaver without any instructions and told to put it on. They were able to easily put on the backpack and took some time to adjust the straps. We were able to better learn how people adjust the straps and decided to include a detailed guide in our instruction manual.
In the second stage of ergonomic testing, the participants were asked to put on the backpack, but this time they were blindfolded. This was meant to simulate situations with minimal to no visibility and we wanted to make sure the device was easy to put on even under these conditions.
Finally, in the third stage, the participants were asked to put on the backpack while blindfolded and while the other participants yelled and screamed in order to further try and distract them. Things got a bit loud in our office as people shouted in English, Hebrew, and Russian, but we saw that even while visually and audibly distracted they still found the backpack quite easy to put on and were able to connect all buckles without any issues.
2) Hanging from a short height
In the second stage of testing, each participant was brought back and used the device to hang from a short height of about 10 feet. They were strapped into a SkySaver and the carabiner was hooked to a secure anchor point while our instructor told them how to simulate exiting a window. The goal of this stage of the testing was to see how people use the device to exit a window and we wanted to teach them proper technique so we could create training materials for others to use.
3) Descending one story Finally, on the third day of testing, we had the participants use the backpack to descend down one story using the device. In this stage we wanted to see how participants use the device on the way down and how they use their hands to push off the wall. We gained valuable information that we incorporated into both our instruction manual and our training videos.