Introduction to Design is a half-semester class focusing on product development and engineering design. The project-based class emphasizes key elements of the design process, including defining design problems, generating ideas, and building solutions. The class assigned two design projects throughout the quarter in which students worked in different teams to tackle various design problems.
Design Project 1 emphasized ideation and experimentation. Teams had five minutes to either pop or retrieve three balloons, or "pokémon," from over 20 feet in the air using only a limited number of materials. The challenge was to come up with an innovative idea to acquire the most number of points and successfully execute the idea within the given restraints.
After a comprehensive ideation process, we decided to move forward with the idea of using a grabbing mechanism attached to a long rod. During the prototyping process, I was mainly in charge of designing the grabbing mechanism. My workflow involved sketching models, constructing prototypes, and testing.
After several prototypes and much testing, the team was confident that our final product could stand up to the project challenge.
We were able to retrieve all the balloons under five minutes and win the maximum number of points possible!
Below is a video of all the teams using their final products to complete the challenge. My team, Team Flying, presented first, and our presentation is during 00:05 to 00:24 of the video.
Design project 1 was a fun way for me to experience innovation, experimentation, and teamwork. In the end, Team Flying was very proud that our product was a success. Gotta catch 'em all!
Design Project 2 emphasized user-oriented product design. Each team was assigned a food-related user to interview and obtain feedback from throughout the project. The goal of the project was to identify a user need from the specific user and design a marketable product that would satisfy the need.
My team's user was a professional production baker at Flour Bakery. We were able to interview and email her about her experiences, and I took the lead in contacting her and ensuring strong communication. The information allowed us to identify and analyze key user needs.
Major problem areas included storage, transportation, and preparation of food. We decided to design a product for grating hazelnuts, since this was a particularly painful task that stood out to our user. Throughout the ideation process, I sketched out my ideas for products and mechanisms.
We tested prototypes in order to decide the most optimal size and structure for the product we envisioned. Using CAD, I was able to replicate the final product design in SolidWorks for 3D printing.
The final product, which we named "GrateGrip," was able to grate hazelnuts about 15 times faster than manual grating and caused much less stress on people's fingers. Our user was satisfied with the efficiency of the product as well as the product's ability to preserve the quality of hazelnut shavings. GrateGrip can be used for various food products and can be marketed towards a wide audience of consumers who cook and/or prepare food.