It took me a long time to land on one path. The one I chose is Industrial Design, which is designing the look, feel, shape, size, and materials of developing products. It necessitates both linear and lateral problem solving through CAD simulations and team work. I specifically want to design products for humanitarian and biomedical purposes – things that will benefit the world – but the efficacy of a product is not limited to merely how it functions. Things that are aesthetically pleasing have a leg up to the less creatively designed, when something is malleable when it should be solid, when it is bumpy when it should be smooth – all these things impact our impressions of products. Communication and function should be the reason for every design decision. I think constantly keeping the user in mind is the most important aspect of product development, and this research article with thoroughly explain every reason to do that.
I want to give the Interdisciplinary Department the option to have a logo and a mascot. I am working with Photoshop and Illustrator to create designs that encapsulate the department in a concise and creative way that is also memorable. I also want to include the students enrolled in the courses to provide their own design to be considered for a logo, or to have a revolving set of logos and mascots that represent the individuality of each year. I aim to have a set of neat and professional logos, stickers, and at least one 3D printed mascot, and a set of volunteered logos from students. Logos are super important to companies and establishments that want to have a visual association. Colors, shapes, and symbols play a role in the memorability of a logo. It adds a fun pop of design and creativity and creates an easy means for classical conditioning. Positive associations make people want to continue that association!
10/1/17 thru 11/14/17
Amass a trove of sources saved on both computers
Sift through and have notes on each source and citation
Begin writing draft
Write various intros and outros for paragraphs
Visual aids and pictures
incorporate paragraphs for each picture
Continue writing from notes from sources (Hyperlinks!!)
Do you remember products and fads that were super popular at one time but became irrelevant very quickly? I’m interested in what variables have part in making something thrive or fizzle out. Things like practicality, cost, environmental impact, advertising, even just how it looks and works can have detrimental impacts on the life of an idea. In 2001, Dean Kamen’s Segway became available for sale after a long period of anticipation and hype. What was to be described as a revolution in transportation was revealed as a fancy scooter. It balances itself, goes on various terrain, turns on a dime, goes pretty fast, and is an all around neat gadget to play with. It was also expensive, not entirely user friendly, and very quickly found its own niche, which added a super interesting social stigma. The Segway is still a part of society, Dean Kamen has an amazing way of engineering products that matter to enough of the right people.
My family came up for the weekend of Columbus day for a fair. During the ride, we began talking about engineering. We talked about robotic arms, how they work, and about the concept of the Uncanny Valley. The industrial design department had a tremendous influence on the final aesthetic outcome. A couple ways of getting around the valley were to avoid it all together and make it look like a robot. Why? Because… Another option is to make it an art piece – the nails can be removed and replaced with decorated nails, the exterior can be painted and personalized. The future of robotic limbs is full of art!
Our conversation then evolved into the electric wheelchair that can climb stairs and balance on two wheels. An issue one member of my family noted was the inability to adjust the angle of headrests in cars, and that the headrest of the wheelchair was no different. The headrest is able to move vertically, attached by two metal rods with divots to set the length. The ability to adjust the headrest in any way could potentially increase the comfort of the user.
We got to the fair. We spent all day there and had a great time!
Later that night I had a brilliant epiphany – one metal pole! On the top of it – a ball joint! The rest will snap into the metal rod with a soft plastic socket, and the headrest itself will have a hole in the center allowing the head to nestle in and give hands-free control. I called them up the next evening all excited and told them about my brilliant, totally unique ground breaking idea.
“Yes, a swivel socket you mean!”
That’s what I mean, I guess.
“Yeah there’s a few models with that attachment but you don’t see them much.”
In the back of my mind I knew I wasn’t the first to think of that. Now I feel dumb.
“But you thought of it on your own. You saw a problem and sought out solutions, that’s what matters in this field. Maybe you will envision an entirely new concept in engineering, just keep working at it.”
I got a small amount of courage from knowing I’m on a similar wavelength as engineers and artists. I’m doing the process correctly and will eventually be able to make my own path.
Gesture is quick sketching that describes a whole piece. This sketching includes lines in 3D space and ones that imply movement of the subject. Being able to quickly and roughly describe a subject on the page ensures the piece will be proportional. Gestural drawings are the first step in making a finished piece, providing the blueprints for more detailed work.
This project was exceedingly difficult for me. My design was intricate for the medium we were challenged to use, and it was a process I was learning along the way. We used strips of wood glued together and clamped in circles on the wall to construct a piece that gave the idea of movement or transportation. I began with a 1:2 scale, drawing wood 2017, measured the lengths of each drawn ring, and multiplied by the scale factor to get the diameter of the ring. I found the circumference of each ring and cut the wood strips to the appropriate length. With the diameter known, I used a compass to draw the intended circle. With metal brackets and screws, I clamped on the cut lengths of wood onto the brackets.
I wish the whole project was devoted to shrink wrap. Everything about it was so fun and cool. The way the plastic forms so smooth and perfectly over the wooden beams is satisfying to look at. I got to use a huge blow torch! The shrink wrap distorted the rings way more than I was expecting. The rings were held together by a frame and wire, to avoid rigidity and breakage. These loose connections coupled with the shrink wrap distorted the end product significantly.
This project was a taste of engineering: drawing blueprints, using math to translate theory to application, then learning to adapt the materials to the blueprints. In order to properly fit the wooden strips around the brackets with sufficient overlap, I learned I had to subtract half an inch from the length of the wood. This process took so much trial and error, which is what the blueprints were supposed to prevent. I believe the reason this sculpture was so incredibly successful was because I was not prepared for how much it took to achieve something close to the shape I was hoping for. My calculations were pretty two dimensional, when what was required was scale drawings of tons of different angles to see the relationship between each curve and the hand. My goal was difficult, but entirely possible. It just required more attention than I was willing to give.
I feel like I had a pretty accurate idea of what interdisciplinarity is going into this. However, I was not expecting the extensiveness of the program. I learned that intermingling various learned skills to apply a new layer of understanding to a problem is categorized differently than having multiple disciplines that stay within each field. During my time here I was taking psychology classes and when I thought about my future and the psychology thesis, it just didn’t appeal to me at all. Getting the degree conflict notice on classes I wanted to sign up for was frustrating, so I started taking gen eds that sounded interesting that were not getting me anywhere. I wish I could remember who gave me the information about the interdisciplinary studies program but I owe them a bit of gratitude because it is exactly what I needed. I am pretty invested in this town and have many friends that are like family, so being able to build my dream program that lets me stay with my family is a level of serendipity I don’t think I can expect again in my life. I want to know everything. I want to know enough about everything to weave seamlessly through processes and contribute helpful information from a unique perspective. I use my tools to solve problems.
I waffle on being nervous about hirablility and job titling. Looking at many engineering firms offering employment to interns or junior assistants makes me feel like there is not room for my new skill set or that they will not be interested in hiring someone who is not fully and traditionally educated. I also have been talking to engineers I know and all of them say they have a hard time communicating between departments. A mentor of mine is a mechanical engineer and he told me just the other day that the people in his department will intentionally make their design ugly and not user friendly to give the design people a hard time. We talked about this department interaction while he and I looked at a panel of my car that had snapped off. We then went over either using a chemical epoxy and temporary clamp or a small screw to fix the panel.
The usefulness of interdisciplinarity varies between individuals. This path is entirely goal driven. If one’s goal is to become the best specialist in the area, an interdisciplinary degree probably won’t suit their needs. That being said, the ability to seek all kinds of information regardless of specialty has an innumerable amount of value. Multilateral thinking allows pathways to creative solutions from highly sensitive issues that span from individuals to the world. There are no easy answers to any worthwhile question, especially when the questions involve the quality of life of vulnerable people. Interdisciplinarity is so important to have when dealing with these wicked problems, to have so many skills and experiences will allow further understanding. I wish so much that those with the most control over society had more interdisciplinary skills. It is one thing to study history, but the ideal intersidciplinarian would understand the psychology of leaders, the mechanics of industry, and the balance of power and then be able to apply this information to current socio political goings-on.