My topic is winter driving, and the how might we statement I'd like to tackle with this blog post is "how might we make it easier for drivers prepare their cars for the morning commute?"
I thought it would be interesting to apply to SCAMPER process to windshield covers. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, here's an example:
(To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what's going on with that person's hair.)
The gist is that glass cools much more quickly than other materials. This is why ice forms on your wind shield even if there's no ice on plants or the ground nearby. This product essentially prevents the water vapor that forms ice from reaching your wind shield. Basically, you put this cover over your windshield at night, close your doors/windows over the ends to hold it in place, and take it off in the morning to an ice and snow-free windshield. A few versions even include a handy carrying case.
Some of the biggest product pain points from online reviews are that the product isn't large enough to cover the entire windshield and the suction cups (some versions of the product have these instead of the close-your-door-over-the-ends method) lose grip too easily. With that background in mind, it's time to scamper!
- Could we replace it with a stretchier material (replace or change parts)?
- Could we make it automatically remove/apply itself (replace someone involved)?
- Could we allow people to personalize their windshield cover and sell it in different patterns, colors, and styles (change color, roughness, or sound)?
- Could we give it a cooler, branded name? I looked, and Weather Guard, Ice Shield, Winter Guard, and Winter Shield were all taken. Winter Shield was taken by a Canadian company, so maybe that one's fair game. I mean, do they even have copyright laws up there (what if I change its name)?
- Is there some kind of way to make it fun? Gamify it somehow (change my feelings or attitude towards it)? I think the idea of changing the name could apply to this one to. Instead of just being a windshield cover, people would perceive its value differently if it was seen as protecting their car in some way
- It would be interesting to combine the slap-on bracelet's ease of application and storage with the process of putting on and removing your windshield cover (combine or merge it with other objects)
Looking at some opportunities for biomimicry, I though the way this bird uses its wing for protection could possibly be applied to wind shield covers. Maybe in the way it expands out or in the shape it takes when it's fully extended?
Since glass cools much more quickly than most materials, I wanted to look at how winter mammals, like polar bears, kept warm in the winter. Here's what I found:
"...the polar bear has white fur made of hollow hairs, which traps and warms air. Ultra-violet light is funneled from the sun down the hairs to the bear's black skin, changing it into warmth. The dense undercoat is covered with an outer coat of long guard hairs. These help to keep the polar bear dry and warm while it is swimming." (source: http://www.ypte.org.uk/environmental/wildlife-in-winter-adaptations-for-survival/112)
A photo for reference has been included below.
I think the idea of having a hairy windshield is generally pretty freaky, so I'm going to avoid exploring this any further for now. It might provide some interesting starting points for a sub-"how might we?" question, something along the lines of "how might we make windshields more resistant to freezing water vapor?"
I was also able to find a...less great...example of how to use Mother Nature to protect your windshield.
- Is there a way we could make a windshield cover something useful you could use during the day? It covers your windshield at night, but could you take it with you during the day and use it as a shopping bag or cape or something (use it more often)?
- Is there a way to have it collapse or expand with the press of a button (do it faster)?
- Could we add a glow-in-the-dark strip around the perimeter of the windshield cover to make it easier to find your car in the pre-dawn hours (add extra features or value)?
Put to other use
- This could make a great fort covering or blanket for a little kid (how would a child use it?).
- It may be tough to help people new to the product figure out how to use it. Perhaps you could design the end flaps that are meant to go into the car with a different color, to make it clear that the user was supposed to do something different with that portion (would I figure out the product if I knew nothing about it?).
- Could be a great short-term way to protect plants from frost.
- Maybe we could take the windshield cover, split it into two parts, and have it roll out of holders on the passenger and driver side windows to attach over the windshield? This would make it easier to affix and remove (split into different parts).
- Could we find a way to make the cover affix better on the sides, which would allow us to remove the suction cups (what parts can be removed)?
- What if we didn't use a windshield cover at all, but a vinegar spray instead (any other arrangements that might be better)? Spray Your Windshield with a Vinegar Solution to Avoid Frost
- What if we just poured water on our windshield the night before (do the exact opposite of what's intended)?
TILMAG matrix idea generation
I thought the four most important attributes for a windshield cover where that it had to be flat, collapsible, weather proof, and have something that holds it in place.
I think the spray on plastic, umbrella, and silly putty could be the source of some interesting innovation. I feel like one of the difficulties of using a wind shield cover is that it can be difficult to find an elegant way to roll up and store it every morning. These three options would provide different ways to remove or collapse your wind shield cover.
I think cinder block wins (loses?) points for least elegant solution.