Assignment #5


Structured Ideation

I started by examining the snow shovel, as it is arguably the most ubiquitous tool for Snow Removal, which is my area of focus. I started by creating a S.C.A.M.P.E.R.-themed (or C.A.M.P.E.R.S., if you are a more outdoorsy type) mind map about snow shovels to get some ideas for the 7 areas of ideation.

S - Substitute
This idea comes from my initial interviews, where the idea of a plow shovel was brought up, a device which can be pushed along the sidewalk and direct all the snow off to the side.

C - Combine
For this idea I started to think about other things that are used to remove material from a surface, and It thought of an electric shaver, so I figured a shovel with razor blades could be used to break up thick ice.

A - Assimilate Adapt
I figured a Borg snow-shovel wouldn't be the most practical idea, so I adapted the concept of an ice cream scoop to a snow shovel, allowing you to push stubborn snow out of the blade.

M - Magnify/Modify
This is an idea from the brainstorming session that I really like - a vibrating snow shovel that breaks up ice. I actually prototyped this idea at Leonardo's Basement on Thursday.

Here is the prototype from Thursday

P - Put to other use
Here I used the "how would a child use it?" prompt, and thought back to my own childhood using snow shovels to build structures in the yard. I figured instead of the ridged design which breaks up snow, why not a brick-shaped design which compacts snow for building forts?

I always get tired shoveling deep snow because of the sheer weight of it, so I decided to try to eliminate the lifting portion of snow shoveling, and created a lawnmower style push shovel with a bin in the back to collect loose snow.

R - Reuse/Rearrange
I did some analysis of the common snow shovel as a lever. Currently, the fulcrum is at the handle end. I have often tried to push down on the handle to pry heavy piles of snow off the ground, though most snow shovels are really not designed for this, so I figured I would make one that was by moving the natural fulcrum to the middle of the handle.

Table-Based Ideation

For this excersise I decided to use TRIZ on a snow shovel. I picked Weight of a Moving Object and Force as my parameters. The table produced the following results:

8 - Weight Compensation

10 - preliminary action

18 - mechanical vibration

37 - thermal expansion

I eliminated 18 right away as that idea had already been used in the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. part.

For Weight Compensation I came up with a hydraulic snow shovel that can pry huge blocks of snow and ice.

For Preliminary Action I decided to use another idea from the brainstorming, a Snow Tiller - a rotary device which chews up snow and makes it easier to shovel.

Lastly, for Thermal Expansion, I modified an idea that many people proposed in various formats - some sort of sidewalk cover which deals with snow in a variety of ways. I figured one could use a bimetallic strip which is heated and caused to expand at different rates to break up ice which is on top of it.

The Top Ten Ideas So Far...
As of this phase of the idea generation process, these are my favorite ten ideas for turning into actual products.

1. Heated Solar Sidewalk
This was an idea from the brainstorming session, a series of solar panels powers removable heated plates below the snow.

2. Car Screen Protectors
This is an idea from Tuesday's lecture activities. It is essentially a giant peel-off sheet that would take any ice and snow on your car with it, leaving a perfect window behind.

3. Heated Driveway Apron Grate
This is an idea I came up with during the brainstorming session. Though expensive to implement, it would save a lot of painful hours trying to break through the ice that piles up after a snowplow goes past your driveway.

4. Sno-Wacker
Like the snow-tiller from the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. part, but more portable and in the form factor of a shovel.

5. Ice Rake
This is another idea from the brainstorm. It is a rake with a sharp blade on it that you pull towards you along the sidewalk to break up ice before shoveling.

6. Igloo Maker
This is an idea from my original list of ten from a few weeks ago. It is an inflatable mold for easy igloo building.
idea 6.jpg

7. Variable Thickness Jacket
Another idea from my original ten, a jacket that can inflate to change its thickness depending on the weather conditions.
idea 7.jpg

These last three ideas were taken from S.C.A.M.P.E.R. up above.
8. Vibrating Snow Shovel

9. Block Shovel

10. Plow Shovel


I thought that this post was the best of the three I had to review this week! I appreciated how thorough it was. The drawings are great (you must have used your skills from the sketching class!) and I liked how they had a high contrast which made them stand out a lot in your blog. My favorite ideas were the razor-edge shovel (makes total sense for that ice that needs to be broken up) and the block-shaped shovel for creating blocks of snow to build snow forts. I also liked the idea of an inflatable/deflatable igloo globe. I also liked the pic you included from your prototype at Leonardo's basement. I guess my only real critiques are about a few of the ideas that I didn't think were very novel: i.e. the plow shovel and the snow tiller. To me, many of the heavier duty shovels are already shaped like plow attachments, and a snow blower is effectively already a "tiller" (think about how fluffy the snow is when it is being blown off of a surface). However, some of your other ideas are definitely more novel and look like they have potential to be real products. Good job and I look forward to seeing what comes out of such a fun product theme! :)

Your blog is very detailed and thorough. The image quality and layout of the blog is very clear. I liked that you included the photo from Leonardo's Basement, it helped visualize your concept clearly.

For critique, there isn't anything wrong with the layout and images, which seems to be the most trouble people have with their blogs. I'd agree about the sidewalk shovel not being novel. It seems almost the same as this shovel:

Other than that, good job on your blog.

Like others have said I think your blog is really well put together and very well done. It is easy to find every part of the assignment.Great job! I thought it was a good idea to start off by making a mind map to help you out. I wish I would've done the same to start out my assignment. You came up with some really great products by using the SCAMPER model. Some of my favorites were the vibrating shovel and the razor one. I think those could be really useful and could definitely be real items. Whenever I have to shovel and I come across ice I just end up hacking at it with the shovel and that's just too much work. I also really liked the no lift shovel because that is another thing I hate about shoveling, having to pick up the shovel so many times and my back and arms hurting after it's all done. I think you have some great ideas going right now. Most of them seem very possible to make into real products. The only bit of advice I have for you is to maybe add more color to your blog. The pictures are really great and sketched very well but the whole thing is in black and white except for your blue border on the sides. I think with more color it would really make your blog pop.

Wow, you covered a lot in this post! I really like how you incorporated ideas from Leonardo's Basement and your own childhood to help with your idea generation, and the mind map was a cool idea too. The SCAMPER method provided a lot of great ideas, a lot of them would definitely be helpful for a lot of people, one of my favorites was the plow-like shovel, and I like how you chose to eliminate a task of shoveling from the product rather than a tangible part of the shovel. The only critique I have is that a couple of your ideas don't seem all that feasible, or they would be too expensive. For instance, the sidewalk panels might be pricey, and the igloo mold might not hold up by itself without the blow-up part beneath it. Other that that, your ideas have some great potential!

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by grang074 published on November 25, 2013 12:45 AM.

Assignment #4 was the previous entry in this blog.

Assignment #6 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Powered by Movable Type 4.31-en