bunnyfish adventures

Project Update: Design Manifestation
October 12, 2008, 4:50 pm
Filed under: school | Tags:

One of the reasons I haven’t posted in a while is because I thought I had my project figured out for Design Manifestation and I got minorly smacked down at tutorial on Tuesday.  My original idea was to design a fondue set for cab drivers, but fondue incidentally is more kitchy and less high class here (and possibly everywhere else) than it seems to be in the States.  While I was discussing this with Henri and Yoshi last night as to why a fondue set could work in other respects, I decided to rethink my product.

Assignment recap: come up with a target group and a product that are as exclusive as possible in terms of lifestyle.  Then design the product so that the user is invited to incorporate it into his/her life.  Examples in the past include a tool kit for “cosmo girls” and a lunch box for nuns.

At any rate, I’ve unofficially decided on a spa facial kit for New York cab drivers.  I argue that many cab drivers are toilers, those who work a lot and hard for whatever money they can earn.  They are usually men, while spa treatments and facials are usually targetted towards women (typically those who have the time and money).  However the cab driver faces potentially a lot of stress during his day: traffic, passengers, and a meter constantly reminding him of time and money.  Despite the cab being a symbol of NYC, the driver himself is often not respected nor trusted.  And here is potentially where a little relaxation may be welcome.

Yes?  No?  Maybe?  We’ll see how it goes.

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.