Assignment #2


This assignment required a creative atmosphere to get our brains in the right mindset.
An afternoon spent building with K'nex melted away the stress of impending midterms and got my wheels turning.

After that, it was time to start thinking about winter. An unusually warm start to November made this a bit difficult, but I did my best. I began with a quick mindmap to come up with a few categories.


After the mind map, I organized my thoughts a bit more. I created a table with products across the top and bottom and played a game of Cross Products to come up with 20* new ideas. (*a couple of combinations I could not think of anything for)


Now onto the actual product ideas themselves! The three themes which emerged most prominently were Winter Clothing, Snow Clearing / Snow Building, and Gift Wrapping.

Winter is coming, and that means winter sports! That also, unfortunately, means longer nights. What do you do when you want to go skiing but you just can't see the trail in front of you in? Skiis with headlights, of course! 1-skiis.jpg
Ok, you've just gotten done with a fun night of darkened skiing. You had the trails to yourselves because the peasants with their non-illuminated skiis had to stay home. However, as you sit there shivering in the cold, you become increasingly jealous of the "peasants" ability to sit in front of a nice, warm fireplace. Never fear, because you've got POCKET FIRE! All the warmth and comfort of a real fireplace in a pocket-sized package! Pop in a refillable gas cartridge and watch the realistic flames come to life on tiny faux logs. 2-fire.jpg
You finally make it home at 2:30 in the morning. Oh no! You forgot to shovel the walks. To make matters worse, you promised the kids you would roll giant snowballs for them to make snowmen with the next morning! All seems lost, until you remember your trusty Snow-Roller! Like a snowblower crossed with a hay baler, the Snow-Roller converts all that snow on your sidewalk into convenient rolls for snow construction. You've got the walk cleared in minutes, and the kids will have plenty to build with tomorrow. 3-roller.jpg
You crawl into bed at 4 AM, exhausted. You dread waking up the next morning because you agreed to plow the neighborhood streets, and last year you never heard the end of the complaints of noise and scraped asphalt and damaged property. Your neighbors are so petty! You wake up the next morning to find an early present from your Brother attached to your truck: the new LaserPlow! Its 100 watts of snow-vaporizing power leave a noise-free spotless road behind (but aim it away from your face). 4-plow.jpg
After plowing the streets, you get a call from the in-laws. They want to fly the WHOLE FAMILY over for the holidays. *sigh...*, this can only mean one thing, a massive, disorganized pile of presents under the tree. The kids will spend hours picking them over trying to find which ones are theirs, but then you have an idea. You recently heard about new Electroluminescent Wrapping Paper, which can glow at the push of a remote control. Now when it is someone's turn to open presents, you can simply press a button and have all their gifts spring to life with beautiful glowing lights! 5-paper.jpg
It's the day after christmas, and your kids want to go build a snow fort in the yard. Only problem is, it's not supposed to snow until way past their bedtime. Now's a good time to utilize their coolest present of the year! The Igloo Mold! Place the inflatable rubber mold on the grass before an impending blizzard and let it be. The snow covers the mold and hardens in its place. The next morning, deflate the mold and you've got a perfect igloo! (pour ice water over the snow before removing the mold for extra strength) 6-mold.jpg
You've lived in Minnesota all your life, so you would think you would be accustomed to the wild, random changes in the weather, right? No, of course not, don't be ridiculous. Fortunately, this year you are one step ahead of the game with the Forecast Closet. Forecast Closet links to the internet and gets the days forecast when you wake up. Then, using an advanced heuristic algorithm which learns from your personal clothing preferences, it automatically selects the optimal set of winter clothes to wear on that day. No more freezing to death at an outdoor party or burning up while shoveling the walks this year. 7-closet.jpg
If the forecast is for a cold morning with a warmer afternoon, as is so common here, the Forecast Closet may just recommend the VTJ: Variable Thickness Jacket. The Variable Thickness Jacket consists of a layer of expandable open-cell foam sandwiched between layers of windproofing and fleece. The foam can be expanded by pumping air into it, which adds insulation to the jacket for warmer days. When it gets too hot, simply suck the air out and have a nice, thin windbreaker. 8-jacket.jpg
You've been having so much fun playing with all your new wintery gadgets that you almost forgot your cousin's birthday party was in 15 minutes! You've had the perfect present picked out for weeks now (a pocket fireplace, of course), but how will you ever wrap it in time? Thankfully, you have the latest in non-glowing wrapping paper technology at your disposal: the Spray-On Wrapping Paper Can. Spray the paper over the box in a few quick strokes and you've got a beautifully wrapped present in 10 seconds or less! 9-spray.jpg
It's snowing again, you can barely see 3 feet in front of you. You think you are on the block of your cousin's party, but you can't tell. Suddenly, you see something glowing in the snow ahead of you: two orange lines. Your cousin has installed glowing sidewalk strips under the snow. You follow the light to the warm sanctuary of his house, throw your VTJ on the bed, and hand him his spray-wrapped pocket fireplace. (He loves it, of course.) You cannot thank him enough for guiding you there with his glowing sidewalk strips! 10-sidewalk.jpg

That's all for now, may you have a safe, efficient, and productive winter thanks to these ten new winter products!


First off, your K'nex sculpture looks awesome, sounds like you definitely had a fun and playful time! Your mind map obviously sparked some good ideas, and I like how you showed more organization in that other picture, but I feel like you could have added a lot more to your original mind map. Some color, pictures, or even more sub-categories could have generated a lot more options! For your product ideas, I liked how you made your descriptions kind of a story, it made the whole blog post a lot more interesting to read, it would have been nice to see more products that didn't just have to do with snow and cold though. Overall, nice work!

I saw your K'nex video last spring. You have quite an impressive collection (and passion) for building those structures! Your initial mind map could have used a little more detailed exploration. You had a good start, but know you could have definitely explored more.

The crossing products table was really great! I definitely plan to use that in the future. Did you find yourself crossing products that weren't in intersecting rows and columns? (When you couldn't think of anything for Shovel and Pen, what about pen and jacket? Etc.)

Overall, all your drawings are professional and were done correctly according to this assignment. Loved the descriptions.

You have a gift with words. Definitely keep growing that skill!

Your preliminary activity is spectacular! I have played with K'Nex as a child, but I never have attempted such a feat. Kudos! Out of curiosity I am wondering how long it took you to build that?

Your mind map is a good start, but I would love for you to be more detailed and include more quick sketches. As designers, we are visual - I tend to skim over large blocks of words that have no images to lead me through the page. I think your creativity would have been pushed even more if you had spend more time on the mind map. I like the idea of the Cross Products table. What was your process on coming up with the left side of the table? (Light, pen, etc.). I would push you to put more radical objects on that side to come up with crazier ideas!

The product exploration you did is interesting. I like the story form of your blog. Spray on wrapping paper is genius - you could really go somewhere with that! For the glowing sidewalk, are the strips heated to melt snow away that might cover up the illumination? Your sketches are clearly legible and well done - maybe you could add color to more of them for consistency?

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This page contains a single entry by grang074 published on November 4, 2013 12:36 AM.

Assignment #1 was the previous entry in this blog.

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