Angela May

Exploring Product Design

May 2010

Inspiration – Igenworks – Flow Light

I really like this idea of hyper-localized power generation. Use the power available on-site to serve a local purpose. A very elegant concept.

I also really like the design. I’ve seen these type of wind-fascinators before and they are very captivating and beautiful to watch. Putting LED light on the ends is brilliant and will create a really neat effect. Bamboo is also a good choice.

Skeptical about a few things for this design:

1) Will those bamboo supports really be enough? If wind is so abundant, as is claimed in the design brief, I’d be worried about such a delicate design with a delicate support system being able to withstand it. I understand the “root system” concept, and that’s clever, but compare the actual picture of the roots of the tree to the delicate little struts supporting the structure here.

2) It seems, based on the drawings and the conversation in the comments, that the electronics portion of the design hasn’t been very well thought-out yet, or else there is some problem that still needs to be resolved. Concepts are great, but without execution it serves no one.

3) How much light will this really generate? will it be enough to make the boardwalks safer?

Otherwise, if I had a yard, I’d love to have one of these spinning in it.

Posted: May 20th, 2010
Categories: Inspiration
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Inspiration – Vapur Water Bottle

Water bottles are a serious problem. The energy that goes into creating them, transporting them, and trashing them is immense. Even if you recycle them, there is a significant amount of energy required to melt them down, and the resulting plastic degrades.

I’m also concerned about the idea of water as a commodity. The water we have here in BC is among the best in the world, we are so blessed. Most bottled “spring” waters comes directly from BC Taps!

It is no surprise, then that British Columbians are always in the lead when it comes to reusable water bottle fashion. When I was in University, everyone would tote around a Nalgene bottle. By the time I graduated, the Bisphenol-A scanadal came to light, and all the nalgenes were quickly replaced with metal water bottles.

Whatever the material, it’s clear that rigid cylindrical bottles are a pain to carry around, and they are quite heavy. If it’s not convenient enough, the average consumer will fail to pick up the habit of having it with them, and will resort to buying bottled water wherever they are.

For these reasons, I’m really interested in the Vapur bottle.

Instead of a rigid cylinder, the bottle lays flat (and even rolls up).

I was lucky enough to spot one of these bottles in person in a shop in Vancouver (what did I say about British- Columbians always being trendsetters for this type of thing?).

Now that I’ve seen it in person, I’m not so convinced about the design. Love the concept, see the need, but there are problems. First of all, the bottle is much-much larger than you can tell in the pictures. Larger than I would have wanted. The carabiner is an interesting idea for transportation, but I thought the idea was to roll it up. I get the impression that it does not stay rolled up, and the act of rolling/unrolling would be inconvenient.

Visually, the design is not really pleasing to me. It’s not something I would want hanging from the oustide of my bag, ESPECIALLY considering the size. I like the design on the front, but the shape just looks cheap, I would have wanted it to be sleeker than having those abrupt corners at the top. The bottom looks like it was designed to “stand up” when full, but I think it adds un-necessary bulk.

What material is this made of? It doesn’t list it anywhere on the site, so as a consumer I’m not at all convinced that this is a material that I could use over and over again and not be poisoned by some mysterious chemical. How puncture-resistant is it? Can the cap-portion be removed for better recycling at end-of life? How long is the life, anyway?

Finally, I’m just not convinced that the experience of using this product would be a positive one. I’ve never enjoyed the type of cap. “Squeezing” is not how I want to drink my water. While they are bulky, I much prefer twisting off the cap of my wide-mouthed metal bottle and drinking from that, like a glass.

In conclusion, the Vapur is an interesting offering that addresses a specific problem, but I’m not convinced by the design.

As for me, I don’t quite like the metallic taste that results from a metal canteen, and I’m sure some other contaminant will show up before long. I’ll stick with glass for the time being. And you can be sure I’ll be giving this problem more thought.

Posted: May 13th, 2010
Categories: Inspiration
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Inspiration – the Plumen

I love this concept. So many citizens are having trouble with the transition from the incandescent lightbulb to compact-flourescents.

The fact of the matter is, the light bulb has been with us for so long, it has literally become an icon. So much of the energy put into a light bulb is wasted as heat, a CFL uses a quarter of the energy. Many countries will soon require that all new light bulbs be CFLs.

In spite of these facts, it’s going to be a difficult transition, so I love the fact that this lamp is making an objet-d’art from the bulb itself. Really beautiful.

The Plumen by Hulger

Posted: May 12th, 2010
Categories: Inspiration
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Hi there, I’m in the process of building a new blog here. Just hang on a minute, okay?

In the meantime you can read about time management or look at some funny pictures.

Posted: May 4th, 2010
Categories: News
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