All posts filed under “Engineering design

Do you really need to print that?

Do you really need to print that?

This is not difficult to do, once you know how. Of course, it’s not terribly useful, since a) most people don’t read the display on a printer unless an error occurs, or b) you’re only likely to see it once you’ve already sent something to […]

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Slanty design

Slanty design

The Main Reading Room, Library of Congress. Image from CIRLA. In this article from Communications of the ACM from January 2007, Russell Beale uses the term slanty design to describe “design that purposely reduces aspects of functionality or usability”: It originated from an apocryphal story […]

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Some thoughts on classifications

Some thoughts on classifications

Over the last couple of years, this site has examined, mentioned, discussed or suggested around 250 examples of ‘control’ features or methods designed into products, systems and environments – many of which have come from readers’ suggestions and comments on earlier posts. I’d resisted classifying […]

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Water on the membrane

Water on the membrane

The Cranfield/Electrolux Smart Sink – photo from Trespassers by Ed van Hinte and Conny Bakker. Ten years ago, teams from Cranfield University and Electrolux Industrial Design collaborated on an ‘eco-kitchen’, a family of related concepts for a kitchen of the future. Part of the intention […]

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On the level

On the level

A tilt-detector from this 1984 US patent, with intended application on a packing box. The liquid detection stickers in mobile phones, which allow manufacturers and retailers to ascertain if a phone has got wet, and thus reject warranty claims (whether judiciously/appropriately or not), seem to […]

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Electro-Bonding: Part 1 of many

Electro-Bonding: Part 1 of many

While it hasn’t often come across on this blog, due to most of the focus being on architectures of control, I am, both personally and professionally, very interested in lightweight transport – its design, use and potential.

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Dishonourable discharge?

Dishonourable discharge?

Long overdue, I’m currently reading Bruce Schneier‘s excellent Beyond Fear, and realising that in many ways, security thinking overlaps with architectures of control: the goal of so many systems is to control users’ behaviour or to deny the user the ability to perform certain actions. […]

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Making energy use visible

Making energy use visible

Photos courtesy of Harry Ward We’ve looked recently at water taps with meters built in, the thinking being the ‘speedometer’ approach to shaping users’ behaviour – making users aware of the scale/rate/level of some activity should cause them to adjust that behaviour. A number of […]

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Another charging opportunity?

Another charging opportunity?

Last month, an Apple patent application was published describing a method of “Protecting electronic devices from extended unauthorized use” – effectively a ‘charging rights management’ system. New Scientist and OhGizmo have stories explaining the system; while the stated intention is to make stolen devices less […]

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Lean or mean?

Lean or mean?

Image from a flyer by Joscelyn Bingham. The Lean Seat bench, by Joscelyn Bingham, a graduating 3D Design student from University College Falmouth, is a ‘traditionally’ styled slatted wooden alternative to the (usually) unattractive anti-sit perches often found in public places. Note: the surface of […]

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Making exercise cooler

Making exercise cooler

Main image and above right: Snowdown aesthetic model; below right: Snowdown functional test rig prototype. Snowdown, by Matthew Barnett, is fantastic. Powered by a child exercising, moving the handle, it crushes ice cubes and compacts them to make snowballs. There are a lot of kids […]

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Changing behaviour: water meter taps

Changing behaviour: water meter taps

Three student projects on show at Made in Brunel earlier this month took the idea of moving the function of a water meter to the tap (faucet) itself, to act as a ‘speedometer‘ and thus encourage users to reduce their water usage (or wastage). The […]

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Process friction

Process friction

Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah kindly sent me a link to this article by Ben Hyde: I once had a web product that failed big-time. A major contributor to that failure was tedium of getting new users through the sign-up process. Each screen they had to step triggered […]

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How this research will be moving forward

How this research will be moving forward

UPDATE: This 2-page PDF (produced summer 2008) introduces the research I’ve taken the plunge, and will be starting a PhD in September at Brunel University, Uxbridge, in the School of Engineering & Design. The chosen subject incorporates both a formal investigation and review of certain […]

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