Tom Hilgerink and I have just finished processing the data from the tests with our prototype. It has been quite fun to test the functionality, to actually see the product in action and to be able to test (and subsequently confirm) our calculations and predictions. Of course there are some recommendations for changes as well, but they are not groundbreaking. Click on the image in this entry to flick through some of our tests/results.
The ‘illuminating gloves’ power LED concept that Tom Hilgerink and I developed during the master course Sources of Innovation was chosen to be prototyped for the course Functional Prototyping; we received the invite today. Pretty awesome to finally have the opportunity to turn a concept into a fully functional prototype and test the design aspects we envisioned when we developed the concept.
We will have to keep track of our budget, design the electronics, program the ICs using C++, assemble the product, set up functionality tests, and finally evaluate the results. It is not often we get to prototype our products, so this will be a great learning experience.
The lectures will start next Monday, we will then begin preparing detailed workshop and realisation plans.
As promised, here is a temporary render of the 3D model of the Wii controller, made in SolidWorks and rendered in Photoview. It is not just a shell, what you see is the sum of all the components that make up the Wii controller. This has been done in order to be able to create an exploded view.
It is quite interesting to really scrutinise the components of the Wii controller. For example: you can see how much thought the developers have put into facilitating assembly, by giving each button a unique shape and by using colours where possible. I can admire the injection moulding architecture of the casing as well, to improve both its appearance and its functionality/rigidity. Not having to wire the speaker to the circuit board is quite brilliant too. Clearly it is a very well designed product.
I’m currently working on recreating the Wii controller in 3D CAD, as part of my research for the course Evolutionary Product Development. The level of detail is intended to be high: an exploded view of all the components will be produced, stripping down the entire product to its basic elements. It is turning out to be quite a bit of work, but at the same time it is quite rewarding. I hope to be able to put up renders of it soon.
Here you can see the progress of my drawing skills so far, using the same basic sketching techniques you would use for hardcopy drawings. Click through for another sketch made around the same time as the one featured in this blog entry.
Uni offers an optional five day sketch tablet drawing course, spread over a period of two months, for students who wish to hone their digital drawing skills. It never hurts to gain additional knowledge and to try and achieve the industrial standard of seven high quality drawings a day, so I’ve decided to partake in the course. The first part of the course is about to start, so I better get moving..
I’m at home now after the three day workshop, tired but contented. I felt very much at home in this high-paced inspiring ‘factory’ if you will, and it was fun to be so immersed in the creative process. Normally that’s less apparent due to a multitude of parallel projects and thus a slower paced development. Of course one doesn’t have much time to reflect, so it will be interesting to see if I still feel the same way in a week’s time.
Nature has seen 3.8 billion years of evolution, solving problems that are encountered on the way in the best way possible. Biomimicry aims to tap into this source of information, offering infinite opportunities to apply to contemporary design. Sustainability and the environment are high on the agenda nowadays, making biomimicry a very valuable design tool.
In my limited experience thus far biomimicry works best for solving problems that relate to functionality. It also inspires to take a look at the “ecosystem” of a product and see how the product could contribute to that system. An effective method of applying the principles of biomimicry to a design issue is by combining the following steps with life’s principles as displayed in the graph underneath.
Identify functions and context.
‘Biologise’ the functions (e.g. “transmit” would become “communicate”).
Pay attention to the end of the life cycle and the overall entropy.
As mentioned, as test case we are developing a lift concept based on biomimicry principles, to be more specific: it is based on peristaltic movement. As example: the building is the lift’s ecosystem, offering opportunities with relation to exploiting the lift system for ventilation of the building. In addition to that, the lift system is overhauled to cater to individual transport.
Oh by the way, click on the image at the top to see a few photos taken throughout the three day workshop.
“but the assumption is that technology and the way we engineer things represent the best. [..] this is an untenable assumption”, Prof. Julian Vincent
This afternoon will see the start of an intense three day long workshop about biomimicry at D’Andrea & Evers Design at Dock 36. The topic seems quite useful in a time where environmental awareness is valued so highly by consumers and companies alike, so what better place to look for inspiration than in nature?
The workshop marks the beginning of a whole course about biomimicry, where we eventually have to create our own biomimicry inspired design. I’m curious to see where this’ll lead to.
Back in 2005/2006 we have produced our own music with our three person band. More recently, with a different band, we have been creating music again. The group is more diverse and more experienced, and we’re striving for a clean sound this time around. I’ve attached a first sample to this post.
After last Wednesday’s lecture and workshop by Franci Wessels about company/brand identity and positioning, today we had a lecture about design management by Joffrey Walonker, the Design Manager at Royal VKB.
Design management is a very interesting discipline, one that gives direction to brands and their design, creating coherence in product families and generally improving a brand’s performance and increasing its long term viability. Design management is a comprehensive activity that applies at all levels of business, throughout every stage of the product and its development. The strategic approach and effect design management has on a brand and its products is quite fascinating, and the value of design management cannot be denied.
I quite like being aware of all the intricate connections involved in the process of design management: keeping that macro view in order to create a better brand and thus a better product. I’m already looking forward to the next week’s lecture by Mark van Iterson, Manager Global Heineken Design & Concept.
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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