bunnyfish adventures

Project Update: Heart Smart
October 7, 2008, 8:58 pm
Filed under: school | Tags: ,

So far I’ve just been posting drawing stuff, but this really isn’t the focus of my semester (I wish).  For my Domestic Appliances class I’m working in a group of four to design something for Philips that lets people pamper themselves and eat healthfully.  Basically we’ve been trying to figure out what “healthy” is, how people go about being it, and how that relates to food.

Our hypothesis from our initial questionnaire is that planning is essential to healthy eating.  Time management is needed to some extent to incorporate sleep, exercise, food, etc.  And what you have available to cook when you get back from work is whatever you got at the grocery store beforehand, and while there are staples you always get, you tend to plan your meals to some extent before buying food.  Or you can look at it from the food preparation perspective and see that when you know what you’re doing, the time it takes to cook isn’t that long.

We’re frantically trying to get a focus group prepared, the act being deceptively involved, but I’m curious to know what others feel they need.  What I’ve found so far is that people rely on their gut when it comes to deciding whether something is healthy or not (for instance, picking food in a grocery store or believing family recipes over a scientific study).  And while healthiness can be measured scientifically, positive feelings both emotionally and physically are involved.

There’s a lot of tip-giving media (websites, books, TV shows), but do they get to the core of the problem?  Does a kitchen appliance like a vegetable chopper effect healthier eating?


I’ll learn you good

This past week was my first week of classes, of which I am currently taking 7.

Hand Drawing for International/Exchange Students (M 8:45-12:45)
Since other IDE (Industrial Design Engineering) students had hand drawing in their bachelor program, we are put through a catch-up course to learn technical drawing.  I’m lucky I have markers from 2.744, because they are super expensive over here (but apparently cheaper than in Norway).

Smart Systems and Technologies (M 13:45-15:35, F 10:45-12:45)
We have an electronics professor teaching us about how to make systems smart through signals and controls.  While 2.671 was very much like this class in terms of lecture content, this class has no application until the exam at the end of October.  And there is no reader for the course, just online links – some material is only in Dutch, and today I literally was linked to a Wikipedia article…  This class is typically taken during the second quarter.

Design Theory and Methodology (T 8:45-10:45)
This class goes over how design should be done and how designers interact with one another in groups.  Thus we have two assignments for the term, to be done by me and my Dutch partner to maximize diversity.

Design Manifestation (T 10:45-12:45 + TR studios)
Here we learn about style, how it affects product interaction, and cultural manifestation through the products people use.  We have a semester to come up with a product for a user group that are as polar opposites as possible.  We also have to make appointments on our own during studio time to get guidance.

Applied Ergonomics (W 13:45-15:45)
The research we do in this class regarding physical, cognitive, and organizational ergonomics is linked to our main project class, Domestic Appliances.

Domestic Appliances (W 15:45-17:45)
IPD (Integrated Product Design) students are working with Philips on 8 projects this semester.  We have groups of up to 5 students to do the research, but each of us develops a concept to be presented at the end of the term through a snazzy video.  My project is the develop some sort of kitchen appliance that encourages users to cook healthy meals.

Form Study: Zen (R … mornings?)
This is my only non-mandatory class this term.  Our project is to design a product around a ritual, a la Japanese zen.  I’m not quite sure how this class is going to be run in the future, but so far we’ve only had a half hour introduction.

There is a website on which professor post content and announcements, called Blackboard.  It’s supposed to be a one-stop location to help us organize our classes, but I actually find it rather frustrating to navigate.  They should really put some IDE students to work on it.

I am lucky that I get to take an elective (Form Study), since I don’t have to take the other catch up classes in electronics and ergonomics for exchange students.  How the school came to this conclusion, I’m not sure.

Another thing about classes here that I need to get used to, is that they’re really freaking long (all at least 2 hours), and that at every hour there is a 15 minute coffee break.