A hackathon is at least partially about surprising people with what’s possible in a short amount of time, and I was surprised at what we accomplished at MIT Media Lab’s Breast Pump Hackathon. I left wondering how we could build aspects of the hackathon, such as faster prototyping, open design, and friendly competition, into our hardware innovation process.
One year and seven beers wiser, we pause to reflect and discuss some enhancements planned for Bresslergroup Brewery in 2015. Plus, a look back at our three most recent beers, which ranked better overall than any of the first four — a positive indicator that our design and engineering process is working.
With a new post published nearly every week in 2014, we had nearly fifty to choose from when tallying up our top five. We dove into the alphabet soup of acronyms around UX and IxD; we visited with Leonardo (yes, that Leonardo); and we contemplated the differences between industrial and interaction designers. Oh, and it would’t be a roundup without a beer post.
Wearables, emerging user interfaces, user research techniques, and smart connected objects emerged as themes when we surveyed Bresslergroup staffers about the biggest innovations of 2014 to influence product design. Everything from specific products to macro trends were fair game. Here are the ten that topped the list.
Our challenge: A (fictitious) client wants to control the spread of infection in a hospital setting by leveraging two components — 1) a smart, disposable surgical gown and 2) a digital ID badge with the potential for a wide range of functionality. How we crunched a multiyear product-development lifecycle for a digital badge to track hospital sterility breaches into two days.
As designers we’ve gone from styling objects to solving real problems to designing digital experiences. Industrial designers are no longer product designers; we’re interaction designers and experience designers. Designers are constantly reinventing ourselves — this talk is about my personal and professional reinvention.
I noticed there are a number of Raspberry Pi cases available but most don’t have a lot of functionality or utility. I’ve always wanted to make a product of my own — something small I could manage — and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. I decided to design a Raspberry Pi case that’s functional, affordable, quirky, and fun.
There’s practically a whole computer inside the Bruvelo smart coffee maker. Core77 called it “quite possibly the most high-tech consumer level coffeemaker ever.” How do you make such a complex device simple? It helped that our electrical and mechanical engineers and industrial and interaction designers were all working together.
Can’t we be friends? To be successful and safe, automated systems need to work as a team with a human partner. How do you nurture this system-human collaboration so it evolves over time like a friendship? The healthcare industry can learn a lot from other industries well-versed in navigating this balance.
We’ve noticed hydroforming, a manufacturing technique once limited to the automotive and airline industries, materializing in rock-climbing gear and designer furniture. At the moment its high cost is limiting, but we’re excited about its potential as the technique becomes more accessible.