100 Days of Product Design #4

Design Name: Better Bottle

Design Description: A water bottle/travel mug

Design Purpose: When you look at any water bottle or coffee mug out there, you can instantly observe multiple flaws that they share. The first is that almost all of them are ugly, the designers who designed them didn’t put any care into the details of a product that is going to almost everyday. Secondly, they all have a specialized function, they are designed as either water bottles or travel coffee mugs, but none do both. Third, they all have flaws with their mechanisms. There is no way to tell whether you have fully screwed the top on and gotten a good seal, which leads to you spilling your drink all over the place and often all over yourself. I designed the Better Bottle to combat these flaws with other bottles, and make a well designed, all purpose, spill proof bottle.

Thought Process: I really wanted the Better Bottle to look unlike any other water bottle on the market, while still clearly conveying what it is. I started with a simple outline of a basic travel mug, and made slight alterations from there, so that the final product is a simple as possible, while still being recognizable. I wanted there to be a seamless transition between the main body of the bottle and the lid, making the bottle look as if it is one piece fused together. I made the opening a circle, as to fit the overall design language of the bottle. I wanted to make the lid itself pretty small in relation to the rest of the bottle, both so that the bottle could hold more, and because of the way that it makes the lid feel like a dial or manipulatable object.

Product Specifications: The Better Bottle has two different openings, if you turn the bottles lid once, you will find the standard opening, a full circle ideal for drinking water and other cold beverages, and if you turn it again, you will find an opening in the shape of a semi-circle, ideal for drinking hot beverages like coffee or tea. These two openings allow the Better Bottle to function as both a bottle and a travel mug, depending on your preference, eliminating the need to buy two different products. The Better Bottle improves on faulty bottle designs by stopping the user from opening the bottle with an open lid and stopping them from drinking without a complete seal between the lid and the bottle. To do this, we devised and implemented a innovative new locking technique where the lid is separated into two parts, the first being a smaller portion that connects with the bottle, and the second being a larger, hollow portion that fits over and rotates around the smaller portion. In order to rotate the upper portion and line up the holes on the two parts, the lid must be completely screwed in so that the right amount of force is being applied on both the larger and smaller portions. Furthermore magnet located near the closed, bottle opening, and mug opening sections correspond with magnets located in the larger section of the lid, and when two magnets line up, a small bit of feedback can be felt, so you know exactly when you’ve locked the lid open or closed. To stop liquid from spilling when drinking, the bottle uses an innovative new technique where the threads for screwing on the lid on the bottle are on the inside of the bottle and those on the lid are on the outside, instead of the other way around, so any excess liquid just goes back into the main body of the bottle instead of the other way around. The outside of the bottle is made out of polished aluminum so that the bottle doesn’t get to warm or too cold, and the inside of the bottle is coated in aluminum oxide, to maintain the temperature of the liquid inside.

The Bottle when closed
The Bottle when on the standard opening
The Bottle when on the travel mug opening

Why conservatives can’t innovate.

There is a reason why all of the most recent technological advances have been executed by liberal thinkers. There is a reason why all of the biggest and most innovative tech companies are based in California, the most liberal place in the United States and possibly, the world. The reason: conservatives can’t innovate. This inability to technologically push the human race further stems from the idealogical basis of the conservative mindset: the want for things to stay the same. The most innovative and successful tech companies are based off of liberal ideas and ambitions, they are started by the people who want to change the world, and conservatives want the opposite. How can you change the world if you don’t want it to be changed?

Design of the Day #3

Design Name: Portable CD Player

Design Description: A portable music player that allows you to listen to your CDs wherever you go.

Design Purpose: I chose to design this as I like to revisit past technologies and improve their design, its like adapting a an old book into a movie. I looked back at old portable CD players and observed how outdated their industrial design had become, so I chose to redesign one to make it more simple and intuitive, while still retaining its original purpose.

Thought Process: I believe that the music we listen to is a lot like the clothing we wear in what it says about us. It is as much of a form of expression as it is a form of entertainment, and therefore, the music we listen to should be expressed and exhibited. This belief led me to design the product to put the music on display, easily visible through a transparent window on the front of the device. I also wanted the product itself to feel clean as to not distract from the main detail, the disc in the middle. It has few complications, but you instantly know what everything does, from the eject button on the front, to the volume and play buttons, to the clip that doubles as a battery door on the back, everything is as simple as possible, while still being understandable.

Product Specifications: The device would be an astonishingly small one for its class. with a foot print of only five squared inches and a height of just one half of an inch, this portable CD player would be the smallest of its kind. The product would run off of 2 double A batteries, and last 3 months. On the rear there is a clip that doubles as a stand so you can snap it onto your pants or stand it up on a table. It has a headphone jack for receiving audio, along with internal speakers. Discs can be inserted through the slot loading disk drive on the bottom, and the player uses an innovative new method of playing disks, where the bottom of the tray spins but the disc itself stays in place.

Apple’s design has lost most of its character.

The new App Store Icon next to the old one
Image via The Verge

Apple is a company that appreciates design, sometimes to a fault. But in recent years, especially with the absence and eventual departure of Jony Ive, Apple’s once market leading design has lost a lot of what made it special. This is apparent in its software but more so in its hardware. Where Apple once distinguished consumer and professional products through the use of fun design choices and vibrant colors, all of their computers today share a plain metal design once reserved for their pro products. Sure, some of Apples phones come in somewhat vibrant colors, but they share too similar of physical designs to stand out against the rest of their products. On the software side, app icons have lost almost all meaning they once had. For example, the App Store used to have an icon that depicted a pencil, a ruler and a paintbrush in the shape of an “A”, symbolizing the great tools and entertainment you could find within the store. But now, the icon is simply three lines put together to form an “A”, leaving the icon devoid of almost all meaning. This really highlights Apple’s current problem with design. Sure, all of their designs look cool, but they have no meaning, and since products can’t talk, design is the only form of communication between users and products, and right now, Apple’s products just aren’t saying anything.

100 Days of Product Design: Day 2

Design Name: AirPods 2

Design Description: A redesign of the original AirPods, updated to fit in with modern tech aesthetics and utilize updated manufacturing techniques to make the AirPods smaller and more streamlined than ever before.

Design Purpose: The purpose was to update the design of the current AirPods, as to make them fit more in line with Apple’s current design language and the tech design landscape as a whole.

Thought Process: I wanted the new AirPods to feel like a distillation of the iconic design, almost like a characeteur that streamlines design while still retaining all of the essential and recognizable elements and aspects of the original design. I wanted to give the design a more rounded and organic feel, as that is the direction the current tech design landscape is headed in, and I like the warm, friendly feel the more rounded curves evoke. I also felt that they should be completely matte white. Gloss is out right now, and matte is in, and it should conceal scratches and dings much more effectively. decided to make the stems shorter, as that was my main design gripe with the original AirPods, and I feel like the more stubby stems carry on that friendly feel from before.

Product Specifications: AirPods 2 would sound even better than the original AirPods, with larger speakers than before. But not only will songs sound better, you can listen to them longer, with the AirPods themselves having a battery life of 16 hours, and the case having the ability to recharge the AirPods 2 times, and if your batteries do end up failing, its easier and more environmentally friendly than ever to get them replaced, with a new, easier to take apart design. Finally the new AirPods 2 case comes with wireless charging out of the box, and you can get them for just $169.

Will the 2020s see an end to the smartphone?

The first iPhone came out 12 years ago, and ever since, people have been asking what the next device to share its cultural effect will be.
Image via CNBC

A lot of companies have thrown around the phrase “the next smartphone” when talking about their products, a claim that has lost most of the weight it once carried with it due to the sheer amount of times it has been used to describe products that have failed to recapture even a sliver of the cultural impact of the smartphone upon its introduction. Nonetheless, companies are always looking for new ways to develop their vision for the future of mobile computing, which means they’re always looking for the next smart phone. Some companies think the next big thing will be less of a new type of product and more of a new innovation for the smartphone, such as the case with folding phones, which companies like Samsung and Motorola seemingly view as the future of mobile computing, for now at least. However, others believe that only a radical new technology like AR would be able to capture the same response and amass the same number of users as the smartphone. Many people believe that the future of mobile computing lies in wearables, especially augmented reality headsets. But in its current state, AR is not ready to become a mass market technology, and whether it will be by the end of the decade is something that we will have to wait and see about. Another possibility for the next smartphone could be found with innovations in smart watches. Smart watches have been a mainstream technology for some time now, and have seen widespread adoption. The limitation with a majority of them is inability to be used independently of a smartphone. This flaw is analogous to one in pre-iphone smartphones, where users couldn’t really conceivably to accomplish the tasks of a computer due to hindrances like less than adequate web browsers and email clients. The iPhone was the first smartphone to come without these flaws, being the first phone to include a web browser and email client that were built from the ground up for the device they was running on, rather than being a dumbed down desktop browser like on other devices. These innovations allowed for smartphones to finally made the use of smart phones without the need for a personal computer feasible, and similar innovations to smart watches could finally allow them to transcend being neat gadgets for your phone or fitness trackers. These are just a few examples of some of the endless idea of where mobile computing could go within the next decade, and it is crucial to note that the execution of the idea is equally if not more important to the idea itself, as all it takes is one company to make a great product for “the next smartphone” to be born.

100 Days of Product Design: Day 1: Design Thinking

Design Name: PureWatch

Design Description: The challenge was to invent something new. I chose to invent a smart watch that could replace a smart phone and take away the distractions that come with it.

Design Purpose: We see it everywhere, people’s faces buried in their phones, wasting precious time with friends and family to read some tweet or check their texts. More often than not we are baited into opening our phones like ancient greek sailors being seduced by the songs of the sirens, only to be sucked into an endless void of time wasting and distraction. The PureWatch aims to solve this problem by giving users the essentials of a smart phone, while cutting down on the distractions. It comes with 5 essential apps: Messages, Phone, Maps, Calculator, and Calendar. These bring the productivity of a smartphone without the downside of all the distractions.

Thought Process: My thought process when designing the PureWatch was to make it feel less like a piece of technology and more like a piece of jewelry or a fashion statement. Because the PureWatch would be used solely with the apps provided and would only need these apps, you would never need to upgrade to a newer model, which is not true with other smart watches, which become obsolete like any other piece of technology. Because their is no hindrance of obsolecense, users would most likely be more willing to spend a little bit extra on the PureWatch, which means it could have a more luxurious design than other smartwatches that have to be cheap enough to be bought every few years. I took note of this advantage and designed the PureWatch accordingly, with a titanium frame and band that feel more high-end than aluminum and rubber. When it came the coloring, I wanted the PureWatch to be able to cover the widest range of color options with the smallest number of variations. This lead me to choose the most basic colors: black and white. While they may not be as expressive as other colors, anybody would be happy with one of two, with their clean design and ability to go well with any clothing choice. On the software side, I wanted the operating system to be utilitarian and functional yet friendly and warm, like the watch was tailor made for you. This ideology led to the inclusion of the “Hello” which gives off a welcoming attitude and makes the user feel like the technology is truly serving them and not the other way around. When summed up, my thought process was to design a piece of technology that celebrates humanity and human connection over artificial connection on the internet, while simultaneously creating a device that makes us more productive and self-reliant.

Product Specifications: The PureWatch would be made entirely out of titanium, giving the watch a premium and durable feel. Users navigate through the watch by gesturing on the touch sensitive sides of the watch. Swipe up or down to scroll, tap to select, double tap to go back and squeeze to power off. For the display, I wanted the PureWatch’s beautiful operating system to be displayed on a clean but equally as beautiful e-ink panel, to increase battery life and decrease eye strain. The massive battery life alloted thanks to the low power consumption of the e-ink panel allows the display to always be on, so everything on the PureWatch is there exactly when you need it. The watch would have a battery that would last 2 days, so even if you forget to charge, you still have your watch, and if the watch does die, the time is still displayed. The watch would include a cellular radio so that users can use the PureWatch without a phone if they want, or use it as a companion device to their phone.

100 Days of Product Design Website: https://100days.design/index.php/portfolio-items/design-thinking/