This block of the course required me to choose a product from my home or workplace and use the eco design strategy wheel technique to identify ways that the product might be improved to reduce the products impact on the environment over its life cycle from cradle to grave – I chose to write about the fridge freezer.

This image of a man pushing a fridge freezer in a pram, I felt summed up perfectly my work in this block - re-use, re-manufacture, recycle.

This image of a man pushing a fridge freezer in a pram, I felt summed up perfectly my work in this block – re-use, re-manufacture, recycle.

The project work this time around was on idea development and concept design and involved:

  • Generating alternative product ideas
  • Assessing and selecting a product idea
  • Concept design
  • Project management

I concentrated on the absolutely essential requirements of the product, namely:

  • Seating
  • Control Interface
  • Energy Storage
  • Drive System
  • Machine-Terrain Interface

I also carried out an evaluation of products currently on the market, an evaluation of the features used in cars for the disabled, a survey to get some more detailed feedback on my ideas and some further research among potential users, manufacturers and other organisations.

My research of existing products indicated that there were 3 commonly used designs:

  • Trikes / bicycles
  • Wheelchair style designs
  • Go kart style designs

At the end of this block it was decided that the project design would use an existing design for adults, known as the Boma for its core system but would be scaled down by approximately one third, with modifications introduced to suit the needs of a child and specific requirements on a one off basis.

The Boma from Molten Rock – an off road wheelchair that can go over almost any terrain and allows those with severe physical disabilities the chance to take up outdoor pursuits. The electric design is powered by two batteries that can run for 16 miles over rough terrain; it includes fully independent suspension, a lightweight steel frame, mountain bike technology and can be broken down and put in the back of a car for easy transportation.

I also started to investigate the feasibility of producing a modular / build your own type product rather than a one size fits all type of design, for example buying a basic product which can be adjusted and adapted for an individual as necessary or a design which could be rented or updated as and when a child’s needs changed, with the parts being recycled / re-used for another child. Environmental issues such as material and energy sources were also considered at this stage.


One Response to “Block 3: New Product Development and Sustainable Design”

  1. tonilouisa Says:

    Feedback on alternative seating ideas:

    My main comment would be on the “saddle seat” – this would mean the child being very ‘able’ as it requires a lot of skill and body strength to sit on this type of saddle. I wouldn’t recommend it as seating for disabled children, something more supportive would be more appropriate.

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