I’d like to share with you a work in progress project I’ve been working on over the last couple of months in my spare time.
I have been very interested in computational design following the stunning works that have been made in architecture with the likes of Zaha Hadid and more recently in product design with the likes of Adidas and Nike applying very advanced algorithms as part of their design process. (Have a look at Adidas’ Futurecraft 4D if you’re not familiar)
This project, is as much of a learning experience and exploration as it is a design project for me. Market viability was a bit of an afterthought on this one.
Using anthropomorphic data, 4000 tests were devised representing a wide breadth of typical drop situations across the population. Testing parameters include elbow height, angle and length of forearm, initial angle of phone, initial speed of phone, as well as the possibility for an initial collision with the user’s hand.
The results from these 4000 drop tests were then compiled onto a single impact map.
In order to create the final mesh, a set of random points are located on the surface of the phone biased by the impact map.
A purpose built (soon to be shared!) mesh optimization algorithm refines the mesh into more regular triangles while keeping the mesh more dense in impact zones.
The left image being the initial random points seeded from the impact map and the right image after 12 iterations of the algorithm.
And finally, some renders of the final product:
As a bit of background, in my day to day work, I get to use those tools in the context of bespoke landmark playground structures, so my work is much closer to the Architectural uses. I’ve been meaning to learn and see how these tools can be applied product design. Yes this means some work in Grasshopper/Rhino but for me that meant going way beyond some of the low hanging fruits that get associated with that toolset.
This project is still a work in progress for me. I’m hoping to use some of the data I harvested to create some new shapes. Possibly going in a very different direction from the simple mesh. Next step for now is to get this version 3D printed and see how it feels and holds up.
I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the project and maybe even have a bit of a discussion on the possibility of computational design methods becoming much more common.