- Identify 2 initial Thesis Project:
A. Identify 2 possible issue/problem areas for your thesis project that you have passion for
- Prevention of HIV and improving the care of HIV patients in Africa
- Redesigning products and their manufacturing techniques without harmful chemicals and methods.
B. What’s the context/understanding you have about the issue/problem?
- The epidemic of HIV infection became one of the biggest problems of the people in Africa for decades. Already struggling with other difficulties such as drought, hunger and poverty, HIV takes a great number of people to be unable to work and support the community while needing so much care and medical help that is hard to get in the region and breaking the society with early deaths in families.
- The production methods of the past are still being used in many areas of the industry. These methods make use of heavy metals, Brominated flame-retardants, and other catalyzers that are not essential or necessary in the new ways of production. The products that contain the harmful chemicals affect the eco-system and create toxic waste that can irreversibly damage the environment and health of the living things.
C. Identify initial ideas or existing products for addressing this problem by product design:
- Wind-up radio by Trevor Baylis
- Samsung F268
D. What’s the premise/reasoning that makes your solution ideas a viable response to the problem?
- The wind-up radio uses the renewable energy source of human power and because it doesn’t need batteries or electricity it is suitable for areas where these don’t exist. The radio is portable and can be taken to the people in need. The broadcasting relies on very well known and inexpensive technology. It is not a personal device therefore; it can be used to address communities and can be produced less. The broadcasting that was originally planned for the radio was about HIV, AIDS, prevention techniques and health advice for the communities with high number of people living with AIDS where there are no other communication networks or information centers.
- Cell phones rapidly became a necessity of life and communication. There is an incredible demand for these devices that are very complicated and can be technologically advanced. As the cell phone demands are increasing with the expectations companies include more and more features into them. This results in complex inner structure and a material combination that causes down cycling of the valuable materials that are being used. Similar to other major cell phone producers Samsung started manufacturing cell phones with casings made of bio-degradable plastics from corn, and eliminated the use of heavy metals (except for the batteries which have special disposing instructions) and Brominated flame-retardants. Samsung F 268 also has an alarm that informs the user when the battery is fully charged and that the charger needs to be removed from the outlet to avoid unnecessary use of electricity. These living-conscious devices also have anti-bacterial coatings to improve hygiene issues cell phones raise.
E. Identify who is most affected by your issues. How they will benefit from your thesis idea?
- HIV is a global issue that needs to be addressed yet the communities in Africa struggle the most as they have great numbers of people infected by HIV and a growing population with babies born HIV+. The radio gives specific information about prevention of HIV and the importance of it. It is an educational project and it helps people help themselves and the ones around them.
- The harmful chemicals used in personal devices such as cell phones affect everyone who owns these gadgets. These chemicals enter the body through skin or by off gassing. These chemicals are known to cause cancer, poisoning and other syndromes. The awareness of the existence of these chemicals and making smart choices while buying products would both help keep the environment clean and the human health sound.
F. Who do you want to interview or collaborate with from those who are affected by the issue your project addresses (NFP, community members, individuals)?
- Collaborating with NFPs would be helpful to address a new problem in the lives of people living with HIV in Africa or somewhere else. Talking to individuals living with HIV and finding what aspect of their hard life is being overseen is essential for a new and innovative product.
- Bringing environmental groups and the industry together for the same cause is the main point of the green products. Presenting alternatives for the manufacturers along with the education of the consumers would result in a demand of green products, which would be beneficial for both the economical concerns of the corporations and ecological ones of the environmental groups. Designers’ role would be to make the best out of these eco-friendly materials to please, essentially, everyone.
G. What’s your next step?
The next step would be research while taking these products as examples and analyzing their roles in making change in the world.
Intersection 1: From the product you chose for 3C, or a product you admire, choose one physical detail that shows an “intersection” of mechanical function and critical thinking about a bigger problem (remember the example about the OXO grips). With sketches (exploded axonometric, mechanical drawings) show why you believe this product “intersection” is successful, and if possible, suggest improvements. Post an image of the product and your analytical drawings.
Wind up radio by Trevor Baylis: In a product design point of view, the radio successes in the way that it does not change anything but itself. Baylis’ solution to the problem was not to bring electricity or batteries to the remote villages of Africa but to change the source of energy with the one that already is available in those villages, the human power. The bigger problem that it solved was the lack of information about HIV and AIDS in the villages where it was most needed and perhaps the biggest problem it solved is the need for electricity and batteries for small electronics. The mechanism Baylis invented is now used in a family of products from radios to flash lights to MP3 players and bring music and light to areas where there’s no electricity. The crank mechanism brings the successful intersection of mechanical function and critical thinking.