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To increase my knowledge I disassembled a Rayovac flashlight to learn more about how flashlights work, the parts they have, and the materials used.
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This is a persona I developed after doing research about the target audience. A persona summarizes characteristics and needs of the target audience. The research citations are included in this PDF.
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I began sketching thumbnails for flashlights that would meet my target customers’ wants and needs. These are the first 25 Chiaroscuro concept thumbnails.
Here are 25 more Chiaroscuro concept thumbnails. Located near the top middle is the thumbnail I decided was the strongest idea.
After refining the thumbnail I started sketching the concept on a larger scale.
This is the finished version of my first concept sketch. This flashlight has a removable directional cap. When on, the cap directs the beam forward. When the cap is off, as in this sketch, the light would be broad, similar to a lantern. Feedback for this concept helped me realize the cap could easily be lost.
This is the finished version of my second concept, showing the directional shade down.
This is the finished version of my second concept, showing directional shade up.

This concept uses a sliding directional shade instead of a removable cap. The shade is part of the flashlight, so the customer will not worry about losing parts. Feedback on this concept helped me realize that the switch needed to be more comfortable, and the top shade and window could be shorter to lessen hand and wrist movement, making it better for someone with hand and wrist arthritis.
This is my final concept sketch, showing the shade down.
This is my final concept sketch, showing the shade up.

This concept has a comfortable switch that is easier to push. The top shade and window are much shorter. This concept received great feedback.
Research and feedback greatly influenced the size and shape of this sketch model. My research showed that a cylindrical flashlight shape works best for people with arthritis. A shape with more bends, curves, or dips can require the user’s finger joints to bend more, causing the user pain. A cylindrical shape (if large enough) is comfortable and does not strain the hand or wrist. After studying hand sizes, and the size of competitor’s cylindrical flashlights, I created this model.
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Here are my observations taken during three immersive design exercises that simulated various disabilities customers might have, including vision impairment, arthritis, or difficulty seeing at night or in the dark.

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This is my report on what I learned from the immersive design exercises.
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This is a SolidWorks model of my flashlight concept, with the directional shade up.
This is a SolidWorks model of my flashlight concept, with the directional shade down.

My target customers need a flashlight that is durable. I would use anodized 6061 aluminum alloy for the body, end cap, switch, and shade. This aluminum alloy is light, durable, and inexpensive. For the window that protects the LED and supports the directional shade when up, I would use Lexan. This is a durable, clear, plastic material. The popular, durable Maglite flashlight uses these materials also.
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Designing a Heavy-Duty Flashlight for Customers with Arthritis

This student project included conducting research to understand customer needs and wants, and then designing a flashlight to meet those needs.

Chad Morgan
Cincinnati State College Graduate - IDT Cincinnati, OH