This semester was much more fast-paced than I’m used to. My greatest struggle was trying to juggle two projects at once and managing my time for each. However, my greatest success has been seeing each project through to its final product — and hopefully, during the summer I will be able to update the projects to showcase my skills as they’ve developed in the last 15 weeks. That will be my short term goal. Over the summer, I would also like to develop more hard skills such as prototyping and modeling in Fusion 360. Long term, I would like to see how my skills compare to what I’ve created this semester and last. Maybe I’ll have better developed one of these projects to a higher level within two years.
Stephen Hamilton is a retired US Air Force officer that has undergone 18 surgeries and 7 corneal transplants. He is blind. While he was in a program that helps blind veterans learn how to navigate the world again, Hamilton had the choice of trying out the OrCam MyEye.
The device uses deep learning to tell what a page’s text says when pointed to, and if the copy is too long, will shorten it for easier consumption. It is then read aloud via a tiny speaker. The OrCam was founded by computer scientist Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, entrepreneur. Their project is valued at $1 billion this year, and has already changed the life of one.
What makes this device so easy to use is that it relies on a universal gesture — pointing.
John Hoke, coach and chief of design at Nike, talks about his process in this video. One of the very first observations he makes is “what if the sole of the shoe was similar to walking on grass?”, which speaks levels on biomimicry and its importance in design. As a result of the posed question, he holds up a shoe that has a texture similar to that found on turf fields.
He also describes how their design process can only be fueled with a lot of intel. In this video, we see an example of an athlete being motion tested using motion capture sensors. This aids their design process by collecting the most valuable information, that being how a human interacts (and plays basketball, for that matter) with certain footwear. In their testing lab, they also try to mimic their environment as accurately as possible and have an environment chamber for it. Using a mask on the athlete, the air quality/temperature can be controlled while the athlete runs on a treadmill to mimic the air outdoors. They also have a 3D body scanner. All in all, Nike is successful because they rely on data-informed design.
As we study retail design and what makes a space welcoming as well as able to sell its products, I consider the shopping mall. A typical hangout place in suburbia where moms go to grab coffee or friends go to eat at the food court, a lot of these malls incorporate critical interior design choices that influence how safe and accessible a mall feels.
According to The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community, Americans spend their lives in one of three places. One, home. Two, work. And three, a “third place”. A third place qualifies as anywhere that isn’t the other two options and encompasses these criteria:
Home away from home
A shopping mall is a place that touches all eight criterion, which made it so popular. But it is speculated that 25% of shopping malls will be torn or repurposed within the next five years. Nowadays, this social space is being replaced digitally with social media platforms that can be accessed remotely (whether you’re in school, at work, or at home). However, humans still naturally crave in-person interaction, and the shopping mall was a go-to for just that. Unfortunately, these large shopping centres with a large variety of goods are being replaced slowly with e-commerce.
As these start closing down, shoppers want to find an alternative to “third places”. How are you incorporating the eight values into your retail branding project? Does this become a priority when designing for retail or does it come secondary? What do you find most attractive about a business you frequent? Where is interaction most valuable in person?
Daniel de Bruin calls himself a “hybrid designer”, being both an engineer and someone who is in tune with human needs. For one of his projects, he created a thrill ride. It’s not your average roller coaster, though — it’s a biometrically controlled mechanism.
This means he has engineered a ride that uses your sense of fear to control it. Named the Neurotransmitter 3000, it is the perfect combination of physical and cognitive. It is controlled by three electrodes, placed on the arm, ear, and wrist.
Although not super practical, he considers human factors that go beyond the five senses and anthropometrics. With all in consideration, this is the perfect ride for any thrill seeker.
This is Grabease. It’s a play on the words grab and ease, which suits its function — this product is supposed to encourage babies to use forks and spoons. The handles are rounded blobs, to complement an infant’s capable hand motions at their age (a palmar grip). It also features a flower-like shape between the part that comes in contact with food and the handle, which reduces the risk for choking on this object.
According to the site, it “supports gentle motor development”. While I do like the thought of encouraging muscle development in children, I wonder if this product is completely necessary. What happens to the intimacy of a parent feeding the child and where is that connection lost? Perhaps the child will grow a sense of independence when feeding using this product. Below is just a promotional video of how it might be used in the scenario.
Personally I love the dyson brand. I think their marketing and how they present themselves as a company is wonderful, not to mention the amount of passion they have for their products. Im a little late on this dyson hairdryer bandwagon, but the idea is perfect. Many of their vacuums and fans have already made their way into the everyday life of people, why not add something on your bathroom counter made by them?
First off, its beautiful. The dryer doesn’t have as long of a neck like most, creating that awkward extra weight for your one hand to hold. It is compact and way smaller and lighter than the average creating less strain on your wrist. Next, dyson seriously did their research on what makes a hairdryer a good one. They tested out all of what they found on 1,010 miles of human hair. How hot it should it be able to get or what the optimal heat is for drying hair efficiently without burning the cuticles. A lot of research went into it and allowed dyson to make a product that had so many innovative ideas; enough to have over 100 patents pending on the features within this products. Careful investigation of geometries of hair and how different shaped hair react to hairdryers allowed for dyson to create this hairdryer that successfully protected hair while getting the job done. Dyson may be known to over-engineer, but the products that come out of this brand are always well researched and well executed.
They could work on price point a little more (this hairdryer costs $400) and for the average person spending that kind of money isn’t an option.
Trending currently in the architecture community is a list. Not just any list; it’s a list of female and (mostly) male architects with alleged sexual misconduct in their history. Richard Meier, not too short after the #MeToo movement blew up, stepped down from his well-known architecture firm. He was called to attention when five of his female employees accused him of sexual harassment.
The list, titled “Shitty Architecture Men” is a crowdsourced list available to architects that want to have their voice heard and to put those who are guilty of harassment down. Unfortunately, harassment is evident in every profession, and design and architecture is not exempt of it. So this begs the question — can you boycott design? Specifically, can you boycott a more permanent entity like a building?
–Molly Heintz, chair, MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism at the School of Visual Arts, New York
If you are not an architect, your options are limited. You can either choose to walk into the building, or bring your business elsewhere. For the design community overall, being outspoken about these acts will help prevent or discourage this behavior, because it brings repercussions such as a poor reputation and a lesser chance for future employment.
Unfortunately, it’s not too easy to fully boycott a business, especially one that brings convenience to the public. UI and UX designers, as well as computer engineers, would lose their job security if everyone decided to boycott Uber for its’ founder’s controversial statements long ago. But the truth is, a lot of people value their own convenience over ethical dilemmas.
Vanessa Yuan and Joris Vanbriel launched a company, Ecobirdy, dedicated to recycling old toys and turning them into molded furniture for kids. The plastic waste is collected, cleaned, sorted by color, mixed with a resin, and pressed into a mold. This product looks very clean, very child-friendly, and is ultimately sustainable. The only problem: a single chair costs 159 Euro. The table alone is 268.
Before I can argue that it isn’t worth the price, I tried to consider the manufacturing process. According to the site, 90% of toys are made of plastic and typically have a lifetime of 6 months. It is fascinating that they discovered an opportunity to repurpose something from kids, for kids. While any company would expect to make a profit, the price range of this product cuts out a lot of potential consumers. Using recycled plastic is more labor-intensive and naturally, more expensive than just manufacturing new plastic chairs.
Do you think it would help the average consumer to know the cost of processing such material? Would this be in ecobirdy’s best interest? How would you improve this product to better tackle the problem of sustainability?
Charlie Hall, the inventor of the Waterbed, made his big break in the 70s. The product was so popular, it was sold at most department and mattress stores. When they were most popular, 1 out of 5 beds in the United States was Hall’s famous bed.
Charlie Hall began to think about the design of it in his graduate education as an Industrial Design student. He was very focused on user-centered design and wanted to emphasize comfort. His process included talking to physical therapists as well as doctors to collect data on anthropometrics and human comfort. His first prototype was actually filled with Jell-O. Unfortunately, it was impractical and was too heavy to move.
When he began working with water, he added temperature control as a function. And the Waterbed’s popularity blew up. There’s something about adding an element of nature to design that makes it so popular; what is it?