“Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.” —Leonardo da Vinci

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A versatile muscle recovery tool for athletes.

Product overview
Versa is a portable muscle recovery tool for people on-the-go. Based on findings from observational research and user interviews,  I focused on developing concepts for a recovery tool that is versatile and portable.

The main challenge was finding a way to keep the product organized and easily accessible for users. It also had to be easy to clean and adaptable to different needs and recovery tools.

How it works

Users can easily store their recovery tools into the large foam roller and roll it around the yoga mat. For carrying, they can wrap their existing resistance band around the grommets on the mat.


According to studies conducted by the Sports Sciences Faculty at Laval University, stretching alone is not effective for long term muscle recovery. Additionally, I conducted a survey that found most reponspondents (athletes and occasional gym-goers) don’t use recovery tools as often as they would like due to portability and accessibility issues.
The Laval University study also found that massaging with foam rollers and various combinations of recovery tools are the most powerful techniques for long-term muscle recovery.From these findings, the main objective was to help athlete and gitness enthusiasts use muscle recovery tools more often by designing a tool that’s easy to carry to the gym/travel with a variety of tools for conditioning and recovery.

Ideation & Prototyping

I turned to sports and nature magazines for inspiration. I wanted to tell the story of athletes going off the grid to recharge by traveling and exploring nature and taking their recovery tools along with them.

With this story and my research findings in mind, I began sketching concepts that would help my target users conveniently store and carry their recovery tools.

With the help of friends who tested my initial prototypes and Professor Min, we arrived at this concept. Users can wrap the yoga mat around the double foam rollers and use the resistance bands to create a loop for carrying it over the shoulder. From observing my friends testing the prototype, this solution was the most intuitive way to carry the tool.

Feedback from professors included exploring nylon/leather materials for the strap as well as incorporating a wider band for comfort. Overall, I really enjoyed this project. I especially enjoyed the research and interviewing my friends to identitfy their needs. I plan to continue refining this project for my portfolio.

Instructors: Min Kang & George Chow
Project: Human-Centered Design, S22
Year: 2022
Location: University of Houston College of Architecture & Design
[Sources] Muscle recovery research: Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Poitiers , François Billaut, Laval University Aaron Petersen & James Broatch, Victoria University (2018) (See the study︎︎︎)
User survey: 45+ responses from athletes, coaches, and occasional gym-goers. (View full research report︎︎︎)

A huge thank you to Sam, Akanksha, Payton, Sarah, Estelle, and my mentor Dr. Nina Rios-Doria for helping me with the research on this project!