We All Have To Start Somewhere

Now that I’m on my easter break, I thought I’d take the time to use the Solidworks software to advantage and finally build something I want to.

This is the first stadium I am designing. No client, no goal, no timescale. Just me doing what I want

Obviously not finished but once the seats, other little technical supports and the main facade is added I’m looking forward to showing you what the final piece is like. I hope to design more and maybe do this as a career



This isn’t a scaled down CAD model. All dimensions of a professional size tennis court were used.


Smart Way of Living

My uni project, mentioned in the previous post, is proving to be a bit of a challenge and getting to grips with the whole active forms situation, is puzzling.

One thing that triggered my mind when this project came about was SMART MATERIALS. A bit of boring technical stuff, a smart material is a material that changes it’s appearance when an external stimuli is inputed.

For example, the stimulus can be: heat, light or pressure and the change could be colour, electric power or even shape.

Developed around 50 years ago, smart materials have found their way into some innovative designs and it triggered in my mind because they change form as do active form products (loosely) so hopefully a bit of research into this can trigger some ideas into my current project.

Popular Smart Material Products


1) Photochromic Lenses. Photo =  ancient Greek for light. Chromic = ancient Greek for colour. The glasses changes colour when the stimulus, sunlight is shined on it

2) Thermochromic Mood Ring. Thermo = ancient Greek for heat. Chromic = ancient Greek for colour. The ring changes colour when the stimulus, heat changes due to the mood changing (e.g agressive mood = higher temperature)

3) Another application for thermochromic materials can be a thermometer. Used to find if the child/ adult has a high fever when the colour changes to match a high temperature.



This type of smart material turns a mechanical stress/ force into electricity or electricity into a force. The mechanical stress can be just a footstep can generate electricity.

This idea has lead to multiple designs that have tried to make renewable energy.

One designer, created his own Eco-Energy Floor. A couple pictures taken from this industrial design website (which I’ll be reviewing shortly) show the idea briefly but have a look at the whole concept.




Another concept with piezoelectric materials http://www.yankodesign.com/2011/03/22/the-power-of-footsteps/

I personally believe that there is a lack of products on the market that include smart materials. This might be because they are fairly new (50 years doesn’t seem it but compared to basic materials like metals and woods, its a baby!) and the materials are continually being developed. I think they are an impressive development in engineered materials and they also provide an aesthetic quality that many basic materials lack.

If you have any more innovative products using SMART MATERIALS please let me know. I love discovering cool new things/ products/ materials/ designs so please share them with me.

iPhone Accessory? No, iPhone Necessity

I’ve already reviewed this website earlier but http://www.kickstarter.com/ is an incredible way to get ideas on to the market. It’s great to see a website that doesn’t let an idea go missed. Like I said before, once an idea is set and is then advertised on the website, funding for the project needs to be made with a set target given. Backers then pledge a set amount and depending on the size of contribution the inventor will reward you with prizes.

This particular project managed to reach over 7x it’s projected target and rightly so. The design is so simple yet the idea is so brilliant.

Galileo, the product, is a device by where you can control the movement of an iPhone, hands free, and it’s useful for video chatting so the person on the other side can control what he/she is looking at. My explanation of it is far inferior to the video made so I recommend you watch it.

This is the video of it but look at the kickstarter website below (and above) and have a look at it’s design specs and other projects on the website and maybe you’ll be willing to back some.

2phonesbabyandlanscape(picture taken from kickstarter)


Mobile Phone Symbiosis

Self Assessment

This is the 2nd project now where the topic of design has been very up to date and in someways futuristic. With the 6 of us in a group, we were fortunate enough to all have a different view and a different approach to the project. All of us enjoy different hobbies and we tried to use this when creating a suitable design for mobile phone symbiosis.

Group Website http://www.behance.net/gallery/Mobile-Phone-Symbiosis/5907299


This particular part of the project we brainstormed ideas before we chose our persona. This was an error as it turns out because we had no focus point as to who we were designing for. We came up with concepts like a 360 degree camera or a high end tracking device but had no body to design it for. With this, our group had to backtrack slightly and come up with our persona. Our persona was a 35 year old doctor who struggles to find the time to enjoy the things he wants to do like spending time with the family, travelling or even keeping an active healthy life. So to solve his crisis, we came up with a phone case containing a set of sensor scanners that would collaborate with the users smart phone to get a quick and accurate result and then store the information in the hospitals network. Once, we had our persona, the ideas were continually flowing. The whole group contributed creating multiple designs that we believed would solve our personas problems. In terms of originality, the only thing that even came close to what we designed was a prop made in a popular sci-fi television series.

User and user ability

As stated in the previous competency, the user we came up with was a busy middle-aged doctor struggling to find some down time with the family. So, with this in mind, making a simple product to use was key. All the doctor had to do is log on with a password, scan the patient and then receive the accurate diagnostic. We tried to make sure that we didn’t have too many parts to the product, so we embedded the scanner into a case for the phone. This way the doctor can walk around comfortably and have easy access to it by keeping it in his pockets. In looking back at the project, I feel like there was a bit too much going on in the scanner and that perhaps if we developed it for 1 specific purpose (e.g sex clinic checking for the obvious). That way a multiple range of scanners can be developed. The user persona we came up with was a little bit last minute. Because we were trailing behind, we needed to catch up quickly, hence why the persona was a little last minute. The majority of the group put a lot of effort into catching up with this part of the project and had we not, we would have struggled to make the final presentation

Form and Aesthetics

The form was mainly to be designed around the phone. The screen size was important for us so we decided to look into the market of mobile phones so we could pick one to design our case around. A wide variety of current cases had a built in battery power pack which we thought would be appropriate for our scanner (seeing as it would take up some power to use). Because we were designing for a doctor, we decided it was appropriate to incorporate the red cross in our case with a rubber grip to avoid dropping the product. This section of the project I felt was done very quickly and fewer people were starting to put there input in, including myself. I guess the reason for this is the other projects we had on the go left the desire lacking for this project. I understand this isn’t a profesional way to attempt a project and a client wouldn’t care but with 5 assignments on the go, it was difficult to keep up.

Modelling, visualisation and communication

Fortunately, we were fortunate as a group to have confident designers when creating the visualisations. David Forster was our group leader and had a good skill in Solidworks to create our rendered design. For the final presentation, we communicated our ideas through an instructional commercial video. We thought that it wasn’t necessary for the whole group to say anything because we said mostly what we wanted to say in the video and using the previous groups as an example, I feel like whenever everyone speaks in a group, the order will get jumbled and the infamous awkward pause is generated. Along with the video, we intended to discuss a little bit about the advertising poster that we created but failed to clarify behind it. We had a comment in the presentation saying the poster looked like ‘a rave’. We didn’t intend for that to be the case, I feel like we intended on putting it around hospitals to make the hospitals look better than the plane white walls. Also, the groups website said I wasn’t involved in the app design. I felt this was a bit harsh as I was involved in developing it, just not the final rendered design.

Design method and practice

The distribution of the workload created by our group leader, David Forster, we were able to have a sufficient distribution of workload. Admittedly, It wasn’t evenly distributed entirely, but the without one person we wouldn’t have completed the project. The team leader was a fantastic help in the project and as you can see, contributed more activities than anyone. However, my own opinion and I think he would agree, he tended to take a bit too much. The concepts method was a good method. Everyone had to initially generate ideas, come back to a meeting and then choose a few and develop more. This method enabled us to continually narrow down the best design, develop it more and then narrow it down again. In terms of tools used, a simple pen and paper sketch was used, then using solidworks, adobe illustrator and then photoshop. The tools we used really helped us communicate our design a lot easier

Self assessment and criticism.

During this project, I felt I grew a bit more as a designer. As part of developing my skills, I practised using SketchBookPro to generate random sketches (as seen in previous blog posts). This showed my commitment to me wanting to develop my skills. However, I feel some people in the group were stronger using some software than others. And it was the stronger people who used that software to generate the designs. I think it should be the weaker people using them as it will make them grow more as a designer. I personally felt like my contribution towards the latter stages of the product deteriorated due to reasons mentioned above but my overall contribution I felt was key to the project. My skills as a designer has improved like my sketching on CAD software. I feel that the project was a good success, I know people were taken back when they saw our presentation video and I believe that if we had more time for the project, our time management and our workload distribution would be a lot more even and effective.