Leash Lock – Pet Leash – 2020
A retractable leash is a familiar form, with little variation on the overall shape across market leaders. Our design, however, had a few critical considerations that informed our ideation. We needed to incorporate an opening gate into the handle that was robust and secure. That mechanism also had to create a user experience that was as confidence-inspiring as it was fun. Finally, the gate had to allow for large diameters to pass through to make the product versatile and useful in many scenarios. With these constraints in mind, we designed the shape of the handle to be a wide arc and placed the gate’s pivot at the base of the body. Swinging the gate inward affords quick one-handed operation. It’s similarity to the ubiquitous carabiner also helps naturally communicate function.
With a promising and viable design defined, we developed the details of the mechanical function and prepared the design for manufacturing. Splitting the handle brought added requirements beyond what a contiguous handle design would need. To ensure suitable strength, we reinforced the interior of the handle and gate. We also designed a hook into the end of the gate so the total assembly better resists pulling forces when it’s closed. A custom-designed spring concealed within the hinge of the gate creates a snappy and positive feel. Ensuring this mechanism was as compact and attractive as it was functional presented a special challenge.
Careful consideration during the design phase, finite element analysis (FEA) simulations, and several prototypes confirmed our approach. Having confidence in the design, we prepared it for manufacturing and assisted Leash Lock in the transition to production.