Designing A Difference Day 3

| Saturday, November 12th, 2011 | No Comments »

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A lot of work has brought the design team to this point but until now it’s been predominantly research and concept development. This 3rd workshop is where the rubber hit the road and ideas start becoming reality.

Between the second and third workshops a significant amount of refinement was done to the concepts, simplifying them and redesigning elements to better suit Smallbean and NTC’s requirements. Both the rental battery bags and laptop case underwent significant changes to accommodate easier travel, setup, and maintenance.

Ultimately, the team reviewed the refined designs and consolidated features even further. This was possible due in large part to the selection of a battery and the donation of laptops by the programs newest sponsor, MSi. This allowed for the design team to work around specific components thus driving the size and shape of the battery bags and laptop case. In the end, 2 cases each holding 16 rechargeable batteries would make up the ESCARGO portion of they system while a wheeled, carry-able, case holding 10 laptops would be used for Smallbean and NTC’s educational programming.

In parallel, electrical engineer Michael Datta worked to develop the charge controller electronics needed to facilitate charging the systems’ batteries. As always, cost is a major factor in the development of any design, be them mechanical or electrical and the charge controller is potentially a major cost adder. Thankfully, Mike was able to work out an electrical design that is not only low cost, but fully capable of handling all of the use case scenarios that Smallbean and NTC could encounter.

With finished design concepts in hand the design team, Sean, Ross and Andreas, a developer with NTC, went to visit Samsonite to share their ideas. Jason Gifford and Bill King of the Samsonite design team were excited to see what the team came up with and quickly started discussing where certain elements needed to be improved and how they could add bits here, take things away there and potentially utilize parts from existing Samsonite product. The design team even brought with them a sketch model for scale. This proved to be a great conversation piece for both teams to talk around especially concerning transportation and housing of the units. This was all good information for Andreas to keep in mind as he would be heading out to Tanzania shortly to begin construction on the Launch Pad.

All of this discussion led to a trip to Samsonite’s prototyping and testing labs. The design team was blown away by the amount of material and hardware options available to them. A good portion of the day was spent examining different types of handles and fabrics. Jason and Bill were more than happy to share how Samsonite products get made and tested solidifying the fact that the Designing A Difference prototypes were in good hands.

The day ended and the team left excited to see the prototypes and what their vision would look like in reality. Stay tuned for the next phase of Designing A Difference and a first look at the prototypes!

Our Partners:

Sam Aquillano. Founder, Director. Design Museum Boston.

Derek Cascio. Founder, Director. Design Museum Boston.

Michael Datta. Electrical Engineer.

Jason Gifford. Design Director, Samsonite.

Sean Hewens. Executive Director, Smallbean.

Bill King. Senior Designer, Samsonite.

Ross Lohr. Executive Director, Newton Tanzania Collaborative.

Tom Svenson. Media Producer,
Design Museum Boston.

Andreas Wallendahl. Developer, Newton Tanzania Collaborative.

Day 3 Gallery