I’ve decided to do a electronic device for my senior project. Why? My portfolio is mainly geared towards the upper mid-west (appliances, tools, etc)…click my coroflot link and you’ll see what I mean. However, I plan on moving to Austin, TX and all the work down there is electronics of some kind/IxD. My school has no education for IxD or knowledge about doing a electronic project. I also don’t want to do the typical “cell-phone” project that students like to do. Any ideas what would be a good project topic? Are there any issues that need to be solved in electronic products? I’m just looking for a starting point…thanks
Companies in Austin I am looking to gear this project towards:
Dell, HP, Samsung, IBM…etc
mhhhhhh, this is tricky.
Actually, I think by now, since this is your thesis, you should choose a topic that is close to your heart. and that your passionate about.
This project is supposed to sum up what you are about as a designer.
That there is no faculty support for electronics is a big warning sign. Approaching a project like this on your own is almost impossible.
As student in my school was hell-bent on designing a car concept, but Parsons has ZERO experience with trans design and no faculty with experience in that field. Needless to say, he was completely neglected and almost didn’t graduate.
If I were you I would rethink electronics as the umbrella theme, since I believe that just catering to the market is not a strong enough reason to gear your thesis into that direction.
In terms of identifying the problem you want to solve. This is a big part of your thesis, you should find that yourself. This is your great chance to find something you really care about and solve it.
Your thesis should be something truly memorable, a little of the box, unexpected, and show off all of your skills, problem solving, visualization, form giving, understanding of manufacturing, understanding of larger cultural impact.
“Actually, I think by now, since this is your thesis, you should choose a topic that is close to your heart. and that your passionate about.
This project is supposed to sum up what you are about as a designer.”
I understand this, however I am bored of doing the same type of projects and am looking for something new and exciting, which has led me to this topic.
"That there is no faculty support for electronics is a big warning sign. Approaching a project like this on your own is almost impossible.
As student in my school was hell-bent on designing a car concept, but Parsons has ZERO experience with trans design and no faculty with experience in that field. Needless to say, he was completely neglected and almost didn’t graduate. "
I have a few connections that can mentor me on the project, but the faculty most likley wouldn’t be able to help. I have also seen crash and burn thesis projects that you had mentioned.
“If I were you I would rethink electronics as the umbrella theme, since I believe that just catering to the market is not a strong enough reason to gear your thesis into that direction.”
My area is mostly (appliances, tools…etc) which makes up my whole portfolio. I am certain that I will be moving to Austin, TX where all of these electronic companies are. Are they going to hire somebody with a portfolio full of appliances/etc?
This is tricky because the gulf between IxD and ID is widening for a few reasons:
software interfaces are more robust–touchscreens are taking over and that means less ID crossover
IxD is maturing by leaps and bounds–you can’t half-ass an interface anymore without talking about metal-model elucidation, Information Architecture strategies, heuristic usability evals etc. If you haven’t been educated in this, AVOID IT. Play to your strengths.
Therefore I’d pick an electronic product that’s heavy on the physical side, having hardware user interfaces like keyboards etc. And I think you’re smart to tailor it to the industry of the city you hope to move to (so things like car dashboards are out.) That leaves me thinking…
Photo Printers, or all-in-one printer/copier/fax
PC peripherals, like wireless routers, network attached storage etc.
I like this one, just because I’ve been getting more into photography. Many current DSLR bodies seem to derive their shape from the previous film slr’s. Since the film is now gone, can the body shape be reconsidered?
I was going to say the same thing pretty much, so I will just second what CG said. Play to your strengths! IxD is really becoming it’s own discipline. And as you mentioned, it will help you to find a mentor/expert. I designed something “electronic” for my thesis, it was a DJ turntable (it was ridiculous, looking back) because I wanted to get into pro audio gear. I’m not a musician, but it really interested me.
Remember, your last school project is not the time to learn or do something completely new, it’s the time to really show what you’ve learned over the last four years and how you are no longer a student, but a mature, professional and apply it to something you are passionate about.
I think who cares about individual items. I see a lot of digi cams and printers and what nots…Think bigger.
I’d like to see a technology collection that all works together. Walk into a store and get the brand x laptop, printer, router, digi cam, skype/mobile phone/mp3 player/nav system, home dock for everything that includes a home media center, backup hard drive, and home theater speaker system… It all has a singular design language and it is all dumb as rocks to understand, set up, and use. Wrap it all up into a compelling brand message and retail experience…
That’s what we Industrial Designers thought 15 years ago when digital first came on the scene. I remember thinking the same thing. Here’s one of the first, the Apple Quicktake 100. We loved it because even though it was low rez (640x480 as I recall) it beat the hell out of polaroids+copiers for creating sketch underlays.
I’d do a specialty product that solves a problem some one has. Like the tango for kids with ms and cp. It’s got GUI and and physical interface but won’t make you look like another guy with an iPhone project.
Find an opportunity for a digital device that hasn’t been filled yet.
I’m with Yo on this one. Think bigger than just styling an existing product. When you start to look to what hasn’t been really done, that’s when you start getting something memorable that people say…“I wish I’d thought of that.”
Yes, but remember stoneback’s goal is to create something that “fits in” to the businesses in Austin. He needs to pick a product that prospective employers can relate to. Remember, he still has the rest of his portfolio to show range.
Why make your thesis the only thing to flesh out a portfolio for the austin market? Stick to your passion, it makes the write up and less exciting things much easier. Mentors certainly help.
You can do some laptop or other explorations on the side, no reason they couldn’t go into your portfolio instead of some of the tools.
That said, I like the idea of a product family very much. How can Dell, HP, etc get into the living room or kitchen? Bonus if it works seemlessly with your dvr, directv converter, iphone, netflix, digicam, DSLR, etc. or ideally makes those each easier to use somehow, without 20 different styles of cables to try to store and hide.
What can you do as an ID grad to make it all “appropriate” and communicate effectively, without drawing undue attention to itself?
Might I suggest zooming out at the beginning of your project and looking at human needs within an area that involves technology (and therefore electronics)?
Do some primary and secondary research, analysis, and brainstorming on the entire experience of photography for a specific user group, or something similarly broad. You may find out it isn’t a camera, but an entirely new device, or a software/hardware solution that works within an existing one.
I have to agree with a lot of people here. While electronics seem like the sexy choice, the projects that stand out the most can be simple as long as they are original. Make a list of problems in the world, they can be big(lack of purified water in parts of the world) or small (something that does not work well at home). But if you come up with a simple, realistic solution then that makes people think why didnt I think of that, and keeps them thinking of it. Employers care about original thinking and problem solving as well as technical design skills. If you love electronics, maybe you can combine problem solving with it. But redesigning a camera or computer or printer will get lost, and forgotten about.