So I’ve started prototyping the prayer mat, and I’ll be working on prototyping the actual kit later today with the help of some fantastic CNC geniuses here at ITP.
Further research and conversation with fellow Muslim designers has led to the discovery of Prayer Travel Mats:
There are several problems with these that I hope my design’s will rectify. One is that the extremely lightweight material means that it blows away easily and is actually very unpleasant outdoors without weights like stones to hold it down. The other problem is that the thinness of the material makes it unpleasant to use for the prostrating prayer.
To rectify these problems I propose using magnets to both offer weight and interactivity to the prayer mats, allowing the mats to link to each other for group prayers and to allow for quick and easy folding. I’ve begun prototyping this using paper and small magnets. I’ll also use felt pads to offer cushion for the knees, ankles and forehead, also adding to the weight to keep it from blowing away. But I’ll position these in such a way to take advantage of the thinness of the nylon while allowing the proper support for a prostrating supplicant.
So there are two ways of sub-diving a standard sized prayer mat (2.5′ x 4′), one is a 3×3 grid and the other is a 6×6 grid. I tend to believe that you can fold the mat as tight as 3×3, but with the felt it’ll become too difficult so I’ll be sticking with a 6×6 grid:
I’ll begin prototyping the actual case for the kit on Friday with a CNC cut foam version of the bento box I imagined and a neoprene case as well.