Who makes the products sold in your local shop? If you made something that people liked, would they buy it? Teaming up with a local vendor is a great way to test your idea. If you think you have a saleable product, talk with the people running the local shop. Make a version of the product, figure out how much it would take to manufacture, then see if people are interested in buying it. If you find that they sell, find out what the buyers like and don’t like about your product. Change the design to address their needs. Make some more, adjust the price if you need to, and get more feedback from the buyers and the vendor.
At some point, you should find some product that really works well. Then you might have a different project: How to make lots of them so that they will stay in stock in the shop.
Check out this article in the August 17 Boston Globe: Link
Product Engineering Process class at MIT Link
The project Exposition is a significant event in the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program. This event is free and open to the public.
If you would like to know more about the program, please view the project wiki at: http://learn2teach.pbwiki.com/ This wiki has been written by the participants of the program, inner city youth from many of the neighborhoods of Boston. In it, they explain their projects, and use the wiki to store information about how to work with computer programming, music composition, digital imagery, alternative energy and digital fabrication.
For three weeks at the start of the summer, returning youth teachers and first year youth teachers trained each other in each of the above learning modules, a continuation of the training process begun during the Spring during Saturday learning sessions.
For the second three weeks of the Summer, all the youth teachers work on two complimentary projects: The first is teaching elementary and middle school aged youth in 18 community centers in Boston. The second is a group project in which four or five youth leaders work to create a solution employing many of the learning modules listed above to demonstrate how the community could benefit from their design research.
If you would like to know more about the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program, please visit the following links:
Full size image of the invitation – Link
Wiki – http://learn2teach.pbwiki.com/
Blog – http://l2ttl2.wordpress.com/
Flickr account – http://www.flickr.com/photos/28629285@N02/
Flickr group – http://www.flickr.com/groups/721032@N24/pool/
Facebook Event Page – Link
On PBS, WGBH Channel 2, there is a great show based on engineering challenges where teenagers compete with and against each other. This week’s show has two teams working together to build a hockey practice target for use by the Bruins. When I watched the show this morning (it airs again at 5:30pm Sunday) I was struck by some similarities between our program and theirs.
They have teenagers working together to solve problems.
The participants are doing complex things with interesting systems.
The individuals are explaining what they are doing as they do it.
Builders and makers are learning about the things they are working on and providing a functioning project.
I think it would be useful for people in our group to start paying attention to this show for a couple of reasons: The show is good, well produced and made in Boston. The teenagers come from lots of backgrounds and look a lot like our group. They are showing how to work well in the group and get the product done on time.
They are using the Design Process to solve problems. They communicate clearly and well with each other. They don’t just head for the final product, they gather a lot of information, make drawings of their ideas, make a sketch model to prove to concepts, then they make a carefully crafted prototype to show to the client.
The show has a website: http://pbskids.org/designsquad/index.html
This week’s show: http://pbskids.org/designsquad/challenges/s2-ep11.html
A segment of the video of the show (I found that it plays better in its own window instead of on the main page) http://pbskids.org/designsquad/challenges/v_s2/211/3_ssi_video.html?&filetype=wmv&bandwidth=_hi
This section shows the design and build of the Sketch Model. I believe that what we built on Saturday was a collection of Sketch Models. Each group proved to some extent that their ideas worked. The next step would be integration of each of the group’s products. Now that the scale of the building has been settled, more appliances and furniture could be carefully crafted. The house could have a more complex and accurate floor plan, the sounds could be assembled into the scratch program, which would interface with the pico program, and the whole thing could be powered by solar or hand generator produced electricity.
We all got through much of the design process, but there could be more to do.
In Design Squad, they have two full days for each challenge. The first day is about understanding the problem, brainstorming possible solutions, trying out the best ideas and making a plan for the final prototype. The second day is about refining the ideas of the first day, narrowing the focus to the individual components that will be included in the more polished prototype, and making all the parts of the system work together. They could do another session of making the whole thing look really pretty and ready for a mass market, but I have not seen that happen on the shows I have watched.
Here is a link to their version of the Design Process: http://www-tc.pbskids.org/designsquad/pdf/engineers/ds_eng_design_process_sign.pdf
There are many versions of the design process, It can be used in programming, engineering, life planning and lots more. We all do it every day to some extent, but being conscious of it helps to produce more effective results in your decision making. It also helps when the group is all aware of where they are in the cycle.
- Manufacturing Design for Locally Sold Products
- Modern Designers are thinking with their hands
- Sick of buying gasoline? Go Electric!
- Nintendo DS Homebrew
- Learn 2 Teach Project Exposition, August 15, 2008
- Feedback from Roslindale Community Center
- Design Presentations for IDDS
- Solar Breakthrough Aimed at Artificial Photosynthesis
- Takira demonstrates her work with the Thermistor
- Nelson Mandela