I’m about to head out for the annual AED and CPR refresher course. Living in a rural area where medical aid may take a tad longer than desired, AEDs are placed in strategic locations to use in time of emergency. Even though they come with written or even spoken instructions, it is useful to familiarise yourself with the AED – especially considering how many different types are out there. Of course, AED and CPR go hand in hand, so CPR is covered in the course as well.
An incident in London during my last visit made me aware how important it is to be able to fall back on knowledge and experience in case of emergency. Knowing how to check for signs of heart arrest, how to clear the airways, what information the emergency service’s phone operator is after, etcetera — it is very reassuring to know how to (re)act.
Pretty awesome: last week Christian Suurmeijer, the lead designer at Benchmark Electronics, approved my design to be rapid prototyped. After a week of negotiating prices with several companies, today I received a big box with all the components for my model. ^^
SLS was the technique chosen for the model since SLA fell slightly out of the budget, so I will have to spend a bit more time sanding stuff down to achieve the surface quality I’m after. Sadly my time at the company is nearing its end, but this is such a great opportunity that I’ll gladly free up time to do the extra work and hopefully also manage to collect user feedback to include in my report documenting the project. Ah exciting times! 🙂
Don’t get me wrong, I really love my old Volkswagen Beetle, but between you and me: I think it was trying to kill me this morning. >_>
This morning the brakes failed on me, so I need to spend some time this weekend to try and fix that. As with any older car, my Beetle has had its fair share of issues. The beauty of an older car however is that you can fix the vast majority of those issues yourself. There is also something very gratifying about working on your car and seeing your hard labour pay off, though that feeling of satisfaction is even better on days when your car doesn’t try to kill you. :p
My curiosity about Eadweard Muybridge’s work on animal locomotion was piqued while working on the amplified walker concept, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear about an exhibition of his work at Tate Britain. It was fascinating to see his stereographic prints and zoöpraxographic motion sequences, though one has to wonder about the scientific value of the “chickens scared by torpedo” series.. O_o
Earlier we went to the Tate Modern to view Ai Weiwei’s “Sunflower Seeds” in the turbine hall. Sadly the public was no longer allowed to touch the seeds or walk on them (interactivity was supposed to be part of the installation), but regardless that sea of porcelain seeds was a spectacular sight.
There was another pleasant surprise as well: one of my favourite sculptures happened to be on display at the Tate Modern, namely Umberto Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space“. It’s a genuine masterpiece of futurism, perfectly embodying Filippo Marinetti’s manifesto. Of course futurists were quite the mad hatters in the way they glorified war and violence, but their work is absolutely stunning.
All that was rounded up with a visit to the Design Museum. I have to say I really love browsing their book shop; I never seem to be able to leave empty-handed. So today was definitely provocative for the mind.
I just got home from my first day of work at Benchmark Electronics in Almelo as intern product developer in the mechanical engineering department. It is very interesting to work alongside experienced industrial designers and see the work they do for some quite impressive clients. Time to soak up as much experience as possible. :O
Sadly a non-disclosure agreement prevents me from sharing any further information, so I will not be able to update you on my progress with the project.
The lectures for the master course “Create the Future” have been quite enlightening: it mixes engineering with societal and political factors in order to develop products that display a great long term viability and resilience. There are a lot of structural approaches to forecasting, for example technology roadmaps or Delphi studies. With a bit of googling one can come across some quite scintillating trend maps.
History is riddled with examples of great ideas that were not suitable for their time, or were met with substantial resistance before being embraced and wholly incorporated. Adoption of technology is something we tend to take for granted, especially in a time when technological advancement seems to progress at an exponential rate, however in a lot of cases it is and was really not as straightforward as we think.
The car is a perfect example thereof: in the beginning gas-powered cars were considered noisy, uncomfortable, and difficult to drive. They were also considered dangerous: in the UK the Locomotion Act of 1865 stipulated that speed was limited to 3 km/h in towns and 6 km/h in the country, and someone would have to walk 55 metres in front of the car waving a red flag – an idea so foreign to us it’s almost ridiculous. At the time however, people deemed it a necessity.
As unlikely as it may sound to us now, electric cars were the preferred option at the time. An unlikeliness that has its roots in the way we view cars now and what requirements we think it needs to fulfil. But how often do we stop to think about how inefficient it is to (mainly) transport a 75 kg human with a 1500 kg product? Or if we ever really use our cars to travel vast distances? They are consumerist needs we have grown accustomed to and accepted as the norm, but are not true requirements.
Same goes for the new clean energy options for cars as presented to us by the big corporations. Hydrogen is put forward as the ideal candidate for storing energy for our electric cars, rather than batteries. One needs to realise the reasoning behind this, from the perspective of the corporations: the car industry has a lot of branches reaching into various aspects of our everyday life. Think of gas stations to fill up your tank, garages for car repair, spare parts production, refinement installations, etc. If one moves to an option that does not use as many moving parts and allows the user to recharge their vehicle at home, the majority of branches will be redundant. Simple reasoning however tells us that the efficiency of using batteries is substantially higher than that of using hydrogen, keeping into account return losses on transforming and transporting energy.
Anywho, I’m rambling. The goal of “Create the Future” is to envision (electric) mobility for the year 2030 with aid of the aforementioned tools. It is great fun to delve into the past, extrapolate this for the future, and think outside the box to create promising future product concepts.
I have finished my work on the Liander battle; both the report for uni and the submission for the competition are ready. The report for university details the design process, while the submission for the competition is a succinct 10 sheet presentation of the final result.
In total I have created three distinctively different concept directions, as to offer Liander an impression of the entire palette of options they have: from tangible product to web service and advertisement campaign. I hope they’ll appreciate it.
There are some moments in your life when you become quite aware how much your way of thinking and how you view the world around you has changed. For example this morning while I was trimming trees and bushes in my parents’ garden a neighbour asked me how I always managed to get them to be so round and symmetrical. The first thought going through my mind was: “simply make cuts at an even distance perpendicular from the chosen centre of the bush, creating a polygon that basically approximates a sphere.” >_>
It’s just one more thing to add to the list: looking at a four-legged chair and thinking “statically overdetermined”, seeing vectors while playing pool, looking at a tall building and calculating how much force the wind exerts on the windows, trying to estimate the natural frequency (resonance) of materials of objects surrounding me when listening to music, creating bad math puns, etcetera, etcetera..
The University of Twente offers a master course that allows you to participate in a design competition for study credit. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? There are quite a few design competitions available, some are organised by the companies themselves (such as the BraunPrize mentioned in a previous blog entry), others are organised by an intermediary (such as ‘Battle of Concepts‘). I have decided to participate in a design competition offered on the latter intermediary, wish me good luck!
My blog describes events from my life related to design and engineering. Hopefully it will give you more insight into my work processes and personal interests.
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