Industrial Design Engineering



Design Studies

140 hour individual project

product phases and IDEA

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Product Phase theory and IDEA

“Product phases have the potential to map the status quo and future of a product”, Prof. dr. eng'r. A.O. Eger

The product phase theory provided by prof. dr. eng’r. A.O. Eger in combination with the IDEA theory (Industrial Design Evaluation Analysis) provided by eng’r. R.E. Wendrich led to the game controller design as is displayed in the product design section, and has also played a small role in the development of the turntable design.

The product phase theory describes the phenomena that appear during the various phases of a product's life. According to this theory, six phases can be distinguished in the life of a product, aptly named 'product phases'. Each phase is described by means of ten product characteristics. As such this theory improves insight in a product's life cycle and when extrapolated aids in the development of a product.

A visualisation of the application of the product phase theory to the game controller is shown below.

Timeline of the development of the game controller

IDEA is about breaking down a product and scrutinising all its elements, from the molecules that make up the material of the casing, to assembly and patents. This process gives insight into the development of the product, leading to a deeper understanding of the details and how they contribute to the product as a whole. In case of the game controller, the Wii remote was taken apart and analysed, after which all components were recreated in SolidWorks to create a complete 3D model of the Wii remote.

Exploded view of the Wii controller

By thoroughly examining the product, one becomes much more aware of the intricate design processes that have led to the product's existence. For instance, it becomes clear how a clever choice of components' colours and shapes facilitates the assembly process. One also gains insight into the intricacies of the injection moulding process and how to exploit it to enhance both functionality and aesthetics of the design. A FEA (finite element analysis) also aids in this process.

Overall the combination of these two product theories forms a solid basis to work from to create a succesful product, a product that manages to take the next logical step and thus stay ahead of the competition. A link to the report that details the application of both product phase and IDEA theory to the game controller can be located here.

Assembly process of the Wii controller

280 hour assorted projects

human factors

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Human factors / ergonomics

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man”, George Bernard Shaw

In the current highly competitive market, it is more important than ever before to deliver a perfect user-centred, highly integrated, product experience. Throughout the entire cycle of product development the user is taken on board: human factors provides the tools for research and evaluation.

Human factors (or ergonomics) is the scientific multidiscipline concerned with the understanding of the interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and applies theoretical principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance[IEA].

Human factors and engineering psychology - human performance and information processing diagram

As example, user interface design illustrates the importance of human factors perfectly: a user interface forms a thin layer of interaction with a very limited bandwidth between human and machine. One must be fully aware of the existing conventions, how tasks affect attention allocation and intensity, what search patterns are followed, how data is processed by the user, whether or not auditive or cross-modal attention may be of use, etc.

From scenario based product design with its design improvisation, endowed props, role-playing or tangible interaction to ethnography with its observation, CUTA or probing techniques (to just name a few): there is a wide array of human factors related tools available to address any possible scenario.

140 hour group project

mechatronic design

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Mechatronics in design

“The mechatronic designer needs a wide knowledge with medium depth”, Dieter Müller

Products are becoming increasingly more complex from a developer's point of view; they contain more functionality, feature an ever increasing difficulty of said functionality, and touch on more disciplines than ever before. The term often used to describe systems that integrate multiple disciplines is mechatronic systems.

Mechatronics is the multidisciplinary field of engineering, combining mechanical, electronic, computer, software, control and systems engineering. It aims to move away from designing separate mono-disciplinary systems to a design process where all different fields of engineering are combined and fully integrated, for example by using models and principles to translate concepts across domains.

Mechatronics - Systems Engineering Process overview (ANSI/EIA-632) and 'Vee'-process model (Blanchard and Fabrycky, 1998)

A group project to develop a bicycle storage concept acted as a test case; more than 10 group members were involved, allocated into smaller groups to work on separate subsystems under the supervision of one systems engineer. A systems engineering approach proves imperative in order to efficiently coordinate such a large multidisciplinary team.

160 hour personal project

art style analysis

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Art style analysis

“Only the marvellous is beautiful”, André Breton

It is important for a designer to have a wide array of tools at their disposal. A product and its (re)design is more than the sum of problems that it solves: creativity can lead to inspiring and clever designs. Art is a perfect muse, it inspires and offers an infinite wealth of examples by free thinkers.

The past 300 years has seen a great development in art styles and movements. Styles and ideas merge or split up to take new directions, at a faster rate than ever before in human history. I have taken a close look at this intriguing process in order to acquire a deeper understanding of both the process in general as well as the characteristics of the art styles. This information has been put side-by-side with the evolution of record players - this product's long existence makes it a perfect candidate.

Art styles and record players

The evolution of art goes hand in hand with the ideas and morals of a generation, ultimately reflecting in the items they surround themselves with. In our current society of mass production and consumption, it is easy to overlook this point of view. Hence why I created a redesign of a turntable using art, to show how valuable this perspective can be. The redesign is displayed in the product design section of this site.

A link to the report that details the influence of art on turntables and turntable design can be found here.

140 hour individual project

design and emotion

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Design and emotion

“It’s almost shunned to say it: men and women are not the same. This is usually interpreted as meaning not equals. However, the fact that they are different is actually quite interesting. So: equals but fortunately not the same. Designers should also be conscious of this difference”, Bernique Tool

Design and emotion share an interesting correlation. Some products have a strong emotional connotation, think of an alarm clock for example. An alarm clock has a major effect on your mood in the morning, so why should the product not take your feelings into account? Other products are simply hard to probe, for instance a product aimed at autistic children: how does one uncover the bond between the user and the product in such a case? Design and emotion offers the tools to handle these situations.

Customer expectations and connotations

A link to my paper that describes how to consolidate brand loyalty through a design emphasis on long term strategic benefit aimed at women can be found here.

140 hour group project

biomimicry as inspiration

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Biomimicry as inspiration

“but the assumption is that technology and the way we engineer things represent the best. [..] this is an untenable assumption”, Prof. Julian Vincent

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. The graph below quantifies the quote at the beginning of this article, painfully showing technology's efficiency shortcomings. Sustainability and the environment are high on the agenda nowadays, making biomimicry a very valuable design tool.

Biomimicry - Efficiency of technology versus biology

In my experience 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 below (courtesy of the Biomimicry Guild).

Life's principles - courtesy of the Biomimicry Guild

  • Identify functions and context
  • 'Biologise' the functions (e.g. "transmit" would become "communicate")
  • Look at nature's solutions
  • Choose materials
  • Choose a production process
  • Pay attention to the end of the life cycle and the overall entropy

As test case we developed a lift concept based on biomimicry principles, to be more specific: 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 was overhauled to cater to individual transport.