Choosing a good design project for 2nd years

Hi Guys

I have recently began teaching product design and I am looking for some help choosing good, relevant projects for my 2nd year students. I am looking for products which incorporate a nice balance of aesthetics, usability and ergonomics. This project will probably be the centrepiece of their work placement portfolio, so I need concepts that will impress potential employers. Bare in mind they are only 2nd years so their prototyping and rendering skills are not that strong yet.

Any thoughts on a good brief?

Thanks in advance



Here are a few ideas:

Tea Kettle: there are so many on the market, but so many are not very functional. An opportunity for mechanics, ergonomics, aesthetics, and brand exploration

Alarm Clock: do we even need them anymore? Is it just a phone dock? Opportunity for ergonomics and to design an everyday product that people love to hate.

GoPro Camera: these things are pretty amazing, and pretty simple, what could be done with a ground up redesign?

Smartphone for a non tech brand: With the stabilization in computing OSs (Mac/PC) one could extrapolate that a similar thing will happen with mobile computing OSs. What would happen if let’s say Google gave android dev kits to non tech brands to make phones?