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‘Design Topics’ Category

  1. Emotional Design

    November 2, 2012 by Georgia Konzel

    It is said that the best design innovations come from strong emotions within the design team. When the team is very passionate about what they are trying to create, they make sure the product turns out great. That strong emotion can lead to new ideas which can create very important and successful products. Emotional Design can help the design team better understand the world around them by having them tap into their emotions and feelings. This will create the ability of the design team to use those feelings to design something they are very passionate about.  Although emotional design helps when creating new products, it can also be very useful when trying to modify a product to make it better. Emotional design is a very important source of innovation.

    When I went to take money out of my wallet this morning to pay for a coffee, I couldn’t find where I kept my change. When purchasing my wallet, I loved the outside print and exterior design; I never realized how impractical the wallet is organized. At that moment at the coffee shop, I was feeling very frustrated, rushed (because there was a long line behind me), and just annoyed with how my wallet is set up. If I was an engineer who deals with designing wallets  I would use this experience and these emotions as a guide on how I would want a wallet designed. Emotional design can be very important because it taps in to how a user really feels about a product when interacting with it.

    Emotional Design also involves how a reader feels about a whole type of this product. For example, If a user says “I hate brushing my teeth because I hate they way all toothpastes taste.” Since the consumer expressed how they are unsatisfied with all types of toothpastes, the goal as a designer would be to create the kind that accomplishes the same goal, but is different enough so that the user has good feelings about it. In this situation, emotional design allows the design team to create a product that is different than everything that the user is unhappy with.

    While searching for information about emotional design, I came across a website that explained how a good company allows their product to emotionally connect with the user. They encouraged that any interaction with the customer about the product should create pleasant emotions. The Design and Emotion Society is an organization of people who look for ways to better their product through an emotional level. They  take input from the members, on what strategies work when connecting emotionally, and allow other members of the group access to those ideas. They also hold conferences that educate future designers about different ways to allow their product to emotionally connect with the audience, and how that emotional connection is necessary for a successful product.

    What my wallet looked like.



  2. Green Nanotechnology

    October 30, 2012 by Georgia Konzel

    Along with the rise in the popularity on Nanotechnology, engineers are exploring ways that it can be useful for the environment. It has been termed Green Nanotechnology, due to its relation to the green movement which looks for environmentally friendly options while still maintaining a high level of sustainability . Green nanotechnology focuses on problems at the nanoscale, 1/100,000,000 meter is a nanometer.   There are 2 major goals of Nanotechnology, the first is to create environmentally friendly designs using nanotechnology, and the other  is to use nanotechnology to minimize environmental and health hazards by looking for ways to replace current nanotechnology uses with green nanotechnology products. Some of the more common ways to create green nanotechnology, includes using eco-friendly materials, using less energy when manufacturing, and the ability to be recycled after use. Engineers look for natural materials when designing through green nanotechnology because they want biodegradable solutions that will not harm a someone or the environment. Some studies have shown that nonorganic nanotechnology materials can be harmful on the body, so researchers are looking for ways to convert those products to a material that is safer.   Green Nanotechnology has also shown progress in reducing our need for fossil fuels by creating alternative energy solutions.

    One area of green nanotechnology that is being heavily studied right now is the ability to harness green nanotechnology when designing solar cell. These solar cell will make up an solar panel, and take in the sun’s light to create energy. These solar cells would be made up of nanoparticles of titanium dioxide with with a polymer that is capable of taking in the sun’s energy. The engineers have found that there is a much lower cost of production for these solar cells in comparison to the ones out on the market today. However, with the lower cost, these green solar cells are not as efficient as the ones on the market and engineers are looking for ways to increase their efficiency. Some companies are testing out different metals metals with polymers, while others are trying organic molecules to find a better solar cell. The exploration of better solar cells is a great example of green nanotechnology because it actually accomplishes both of the goals,it is developing a product using green materials, and it looks for a more environmentally friendly solution to something on the market.


  3. Nanotechnology in Medicine

    October 29, 2012 by Georgia Konzel

    Nanotechnology is a new upcoming technology which focuses on the technology at a nanometer scale.  It is becoming more and more popular due to the fact that more than 9 billion is invested in it each year and it has great potential in the medical community. A nano-meter is 1*10^-9 meters, and to put it into perspective  a germ is about 1000 nanometers wide. Nanotechnology involves developing and designing at a level that is not visible to the human eye.  Nanotechnology is on the same level as atoms which means that with increases in this field, designers will be able to the smallest anatomical changes. Even the smallest anatomical differences can change the physical make-up of an element. By changing the chemical design of carbon atoms,engineers are able to make carbon nanotubes which are lighter than normal carbon atoms, and also stronger. Carbon nanotubes are used to design racing bicycles because of their lighter weight, the cyclist can use more energy to go faster.

    Carbon nanotubes can also be redesigned to create nanofibers. These can be used in the medical field as  good materials for bandaging wounds, artificial organ transplants, and tissue engineering. Nanofibers are very useful, but the biggest challenge that engineers have had to overcome, is the preciseness that each nanofiber must be. The use of nanoparticles  of certain metals, has been found to create more uniform nanofibers that can be used. A new study has find that nanofibers can be made out of proteins and that these nanofibers are easily accepted by the body. These protein nanofibers are have been found to have the capabilities of targeting certain problem areas of the body, and releasing medications at those areas. The researchers at Polytechnic Institute of New York University plan to study this aspect more to see if it could be a possible solution for cancer.


    The rise of nanotechnology is creating many new medical advances. The approximate size of a virus is 100 nm, and with nano technology, these viruses can be altered. Nanotechnology has been called the “sub-microscopic lab bench,” because it allows researchers to directly change the make-up of a material. It is especially useful in manipulating DNA. There are many diseases that are the result of a abnormality in the DNA strand. These people can undergo DNA therapy to lessen the impact of that abnormality, and DNA therapy heavily focuses on nanotechnology.


  4. Biomimicry on Design

    October 26, 2012 by Georgia Konzel

    Biomimicry is using an element that exists in nature as inspiration to solve a problem. This solution  formed from the idea that everything we ever need as humans can be found in the environment.    Biomimicry uses the solutions that nature has already found, and converts them to solve a practical problem. With Biomimicry, plants, animals, and bacteria are the engineers who solve the problems, and human engineers either take their ideas directly to solve the problem, or use their solutions as ideas to find a way to solve a problem. Using solutions that are inspired by the environment really drives home the fact of how important the environment and its biodiversity. Biological Engineers intensively study biomimicry and its effects because they learn many design methods through engineering and apply that to the information that they learn about the environment.

    We can learn a lot from the environment  and with biomimicry, we learn how to solve problems based on how nature has solved problems. Biomimicry shows us how we can learn from the environment, instead of taking from it. We can use biomimicry during  the process because it just gives us an options of how to find a sustainable solution. An American inventor name Otto Smith came up with the term biomimetics which means to transfer ideas related to biology and look at them with a technological point of view. This was the idea that started biomimicry because Smith was the first person to bridge the gap between biology and technology. Janine Benyus coined the term biomimicry after writing a book on this topic. Benyus stressed 3 ways that we could look at nature: as a “model” that shows how solutions can be achevied, a “measure” that can judge how sustainable solutions will be, and a “mentor” that can inspire innovations to solve the problem at hand.

    A great example of biomimicry, is how George de Mestral, a swiss engineer, invented velcro. He was inspired by the burrs that would cling to his dogs fur. He examined the burrs under a microscope and noticed how they had small hook-like appendage that would cling to the dog.  He designed velcor with the knowledge that he gained about burrs in mind and created one side of the material so that there were hook-like projections, and the other side had loop like projections.


  5. Designing for Human Variability

    October 15, 2012 by Georgia Konzel

    Human variability is measuring the ways humans can range from one to another. Designing for Human Variability takes into account handicapped people who need a special type of product. Because there are many ways of being disabled, it is important for companies to find ways for everyone to use their product. This brings the disabled person to a more normal functionality. There are some companies that specialize in designing for human variability, by modifying other products to meet the needs. This could involve designing a new product to meet new requirements, or slight modifications so that it is easier to use by someone who is handicapped.

    There are many important aspects that designers have to keep this in mind when designing for human variability. This includes if the disability is permanent, or just temporary, ex. being paralyzed vs. broken limb. The designers should also ask for input from the target audience when developing. They would have the best say in what they are looking for in a product, because mostly likely the design team will not be able to relate to the disability. Implementing the adaptive technology should be done in the earlier stages of the design process, but could really be added anytime.

    Designing adaptive technologies can tackle some unthinkable problems. In video I watched, I saw a high school design team build a durable automated wheelchair for a girl who played wheelchair rugby. Because their game of rugby has a lot of intentional collisions,  this wheelchair must be very durable so that it lasts throughout the game, while still having the automatic controls. The clip for the automated wheelchair can bee seen here. By designing for the the rugby player the team was able to build a more powerful wheelchair that could with stand more collisions  This product could also have other uses besides wheelchair rugby, maybe an introductory chair for someone who is newly disabled.




  6. Environmentally friendly designing

    October 15, 2012 by Georgia Konzel

    There are many benefits to designing a product that is beneficial to the environment  or does not have a harmful impact on it. Nowadays, many companies want to be more environmentally friendly, because it appeals to the consumer which would increase sales. When designing with the environment kept in mind, many companies are worried about the sustainability of their products. They are also nervous that customers will not think it is durable and of high quality because it may have recycled products made into it.With this in mind, it is very important to keep in mind sustainability because they want their product to be durable and long-lasting as well as friendly to the environment.

    These products must meet the intended action while being sustainable, and environmentally friendly.   When designing with the environment in mind, it is important to target areas that could be improved. This would mean that parts of the product could be changed so that they either are better for the environment, or have less of an impact on it. It is best to consider the environment during the early stages of the design process. If thought of later, it can be harder to implement the Eco-friendly ideas. Companies can choose to purchase software that will assess the impacts of environment design features. The will take into account the price to manufacture each product, and what environmental aspects better the product.

    For the most part, companies tend to focus on improving their product based on a few key concepts. The company usually makes a few points that they try to keep in mind when designing a new product.  For example, the company Herman Miller  likes to look at the materials of their product to make sure they are safe, and do not harm the environment. They also look at the ability to recycle their products once they are not used anymore. Another important aspect of Eco-friendly design deals with how efficient the product handles energy.   It is not environmentally friendly if it wastes energy, because many ways to create energy are non-renewable.

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