BeneFoot – a dynamic footrest design

Ruth Weng

“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” – Charles Eames

Problem Space
Many people in the current age sit at a desk for several hours a day, and this sedentary lifestyle is more harmful than people think. Studies say that there are many health concerns of sitting for too long and from lack of exercise, including lack of blood circulation in the legs, high blood pressure, and more. A new study finds that sitting still is linked to a higher risk of depression among teens. A study with 10 381 participants done by the SUN cohort, associated a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of physical activity with a higher risk of developing a mental health disorder.

Recently, people have been working remotely now more than ever before. According to an article, 51% of employed Americans have transitioned to working from home during the pandemic. A vast amount of people are now forced to provide and receive education remotely. I believe that individuals of all ages will need to have some “joy” and “energy” sparkled in their workplaces to help with their productivity and concentration.

This project explores different methods to encourage fitness movements and fidgeting at a desk to improve physical and mental health, by creating a portable interactive object that is convenient to use, and is suitable for a workplace environment. The goal is to create a modern design that encourages activeness under the desk, allowing users to fidget and relieve stress. The aesthetics should be suitable for an indoor work space environment, and it will be designed with a sustainable and universal approach with core values in mind.

My approach was to create an interactive footrest designed to enhance the quality and comfort of sitting at a work desk environment by encouraging “dynamic sitting” and fidgeting to increase physical and mental health benefits.

Personalize your experience!
The customizable fidgeting rollers spin loosely so that users can selectively use the roller of their choice to target different areas of the feet. The three different types of rollers provides a range of intensity of massage experience. Personalization encourages users to form an emotional relationship with the object and cherish it timelessly.

The BeneFoot is designed so that the natural material choices such as Rubber Birch plywood, White Aspen wood, Walnut veneer, and Linoleum would be sustainable and friendly to the environment. Aspen wood is known for making genetically identical trees, called clones, which enables them to populate quickly. 

Compared to the common plastic and metal footrests, this entirely wood-crafted product reduces plastic pollution in the process, and the wood can be biodegraded back into nature at the end of its lifecycle. The simplicity of the shapes and repeating forms reduces and simplifies the manufacturing process.

With careful consideration for longevity and sustainability, it’s functions promote emotional connection and is cherished by the users. It can easily be passed down, sold, donated or recycled to avoid landfill or incineration at the end of its life.

Ruth Weng

I'm seeking opportunities
Contact Me
Ruth Weng is a Taiwanese - Canadian Industrial Designer based Vancouver, CA. She will be graduating from her Bachelors of Design from Emily Carr University in 2021 majoring in Industrial Design, specializing in woodworking and digital fabrication. Her design practice is hands on and involves physical creation. Her everyday inspiration comes from observing the beauty of nature, and listening to the stories that shape people who they are. She is passionate about creating products to help others in need by using problem solving skills, through a sustainable approach.
Profile image of Ruth Weng