With the 10 ideas chosen from the last assignment, I decided to assess them using the criteria of Technical feasibility, Potential market size, Adoption rate, Obscure-ness, Usefulness, and Vanity in the Pugh chart. Since my ideas are not all that closely related, I chose to use the Roll-up Mirror as my baseline because it seemed to be one of the least technically feasible, so I was weighting the rest of the results with that being more important.
Here is the chart:
I had a couple ideas tie, and a close second, but decided to go with the Video Mirror, mainly because the mirror in the gum pack is really just a bonus to the gum, and I wasn't doing anything with the gum.
HD wonder mirror 3000
Back side capture system
The eyes in the back of your head
From this I chose "Hind-sight HD" with the slogan "The eyes on the back of your head."
The idea stemmed from the observation study, noticing that there was a lot of leaning in closer to the mirror and awkward contortion trying to see the back of my head. It became a solution during the morphological analysis, as seen in my original notebook entry.
View pt. 2 to see the video. Because my video editing software was not working right, it is longer than 30 senconds.... Which is really short!
My general process consisted of doing product searches for similar ideas to get a benchmark of what is already out there. For market research, I gave surveys to 5 people, asking if they would buy or use the product, and how much they would pay for it. The surveys contained images of my sketches on the ideas and I verbally gave them a description of each one.
Idea # 1: Roll-up, retractable, window-shade-like mirror: After doing internet searches around this product, I did not find anything like this. All mirrors I could find were not flexible at all so it hints that this idea may not be feasible, as a reflective sheet may not give enough clarity. However, if it was a string of narrow solid mirrors, it may work more like a mini-blind, which I couldn't find anything either. Market research of 5 individuals shows that 4 of them would buy this product, and the price that they are willing to pay was $50, $40, $5, and $5.
Idea # 2: Convex shaped sink that was made of a reflective material: The water would flow over the top and into a catch basin underneath. This way, your sink is your mirror. Again, my benchmarking did not find any exact matches, but there were some reflective sinks, but the concaveness of them is not conducive to accurate reflection. I would guess the image is smaller and inverted, similar to looking in a spoon. Four out of five people would buy, but most stated they would use for a secondary bathroom only. Willingness to pay (WTP) was $50, $150, $80, and $35.
Idea # 3 is really two ideas, the first being a faucet that is squeezed like a water bottle to dispense only the water you need, and the 2nd being a sink that resembles a river, so that the water doesn't go right down the drain, but can be used for washing or cleaning as it works towards the drain, and can be used for growing plants. Similar concepts found include a pet water dish/bottle, a water cooler-like dispenser, and a couple elongated sinks. None of these use natural materials to grow plants along the banks. Market research showed that no one like the river type sink concept, citing that they all preferred the dirty water to be down the drain immediately. Only 1 would consider the squeezing bottle concept and said would pay $5.
Idea #4: Bathroom Hose Faucet: allows for portability of the water source in the bathroom, similar to those sometimes found in kitchen sinks. I found plenty of kitchens with these, but could not find any attached to the bathroom sink. It is seen in some shower types. Only 2/5 people would buy, with comments that it might be useful for the elderly. They would pay $20 and $100.
Idea #5: Putting a mirror into a pack of gum or mints: so you can check your teeth for food after meals, when going for a breath freshener. Could only find 1 product on the market that includes this idea, but it seems solely aimed at females, but could be refillable. Everyone would purchase this product, paying prices of $1, $5, $3, $1.25, and $5.
Idea #6: Video TV/mirror: Using a TV to display images captured via a video camera. I can also show broadcast in Picture In Picture, and zoom in and out. Multiple cameras could catch the back side also. Many current ideas exist that put the TV behind the mirror, which purposes is to watch a show while in the bathroom. They do not use video as it is still a conventional mirror. Everyone would also buy this, paying $200, $200, $200, $150, and $100. With current technology for video and TV's, this is on the edge of being possible to make marketable...but maybe in a few years.
Idea #7: Mirror reflector system: Strives to achieve the same problem as idea #6, but in a lower-tech way. This is a hard idea to search for, but there are some solutions that attempt to achieve it but still require a lot of odd manipulation of the person and mirror and don't seem to get close up. The market indicates that 4/5 people would like to use this system, with the other indicating they'd just use a hand mirror. As for pricing, people would pay $100, $20, $20, and $15 for the extra mirrors.
Idea #8: Separate Mirror and Sink from one another. This is more of a concept than a product, but I was still able to find a couple quick examples online where this was done. Of those shown below, I am not sure where the mirror is exactly, but would guess that it is a full length mirror on a wall or door, in order to save more space. The market said that 3/5 people would be likely to use this type of setup, with the other 2 saying that they would just have the mirror extended to being over the sink also. Pricing was hard to conceptualize, but the general feeling was that it shouldn't cost more than any current setup.
Idea #9: Mouthguard toothbrush: a mouthguard filled with bristles, that is battery powered, and vibrates. It is reusable and meant to work without having to hold onto it once started. It would ensure that all teeth, front and back sides are not forgotten about. A quick internet search shows that other people have already had the idea, and at least one other college design team has already approached this concept. They did a lot of work for me already, but their concept uses oscillating bristles where as mine would be stationary and the whole thing vibrates. But as their research shows, there is also already a patent for this type of brush...from 1978! I was also able to find another type of chewable toothbrush for babies that is kind of mouthguard shaped.My market research revealed 4 of the people would buy this, spending $40, $8, $10, and $50.
Idea #10: Vibration ball toothbrush: Another variation on the above idea; this is a small ball of bristles that is battery powered and again vibrates inside your mouth without the use of hands. It is also meant to be reusable. Searching for ball toothbrushes finds that there are 2 current products that are out there, both are advertised to work by chewing them, and then spitting out when finished. They are single use, "emergency" type brushes that are not battery powered. There is also a patent for these. One other thing I came across was a toy, that is a vibrating robot, that looks like the end of a toothbrush. It is not meant to clean teeth, but by the act of vibrating, it moves around the floor like a bug. Perhaps this could easily be modified to become a tooth cleaning device, although I am not sure of the exact scale of it. Of my interviewed market, 3 of the people would buy this, spending $40, $5, and $1.
The 3 ideas I chose to do sketch models on were the Water bottle faucet/River sink, the vibrating Mouthguard toothbrush and Vibrating ball toothbrush. All of these were a little harder than I initially thought and did not come out the way I had expected. I think the Water bottle facet/river sink is feasible on a larger scale, but does not seem to have the market acceptance, but there may be a niche for something like it in a more design friendly setting.
The vibrating Mouthguard brush still leaves the unanswered question of if you can put small enough bristles into the device so that the users can fit it in their mouth comfortable. Perhaps it couldn't be produced at an adequate price point, but I think that since there are expensive electric toothbrushes out there now, that this would still be viable since it potentially will save the user time and effort.
The question also for the vibrating ball toothbrush is whether or not it can be made small enough to include a battery and vibration motor mechanism. This could probably be produced at a cheap enough price point even by using a rechargeable battery, but the main issues will be how well it cleans and the potential for swallowing the ball.
Video 1 - next post
Video 2 - next post
I also prototyped the Mirror in gum packet idea... because that was simple:
Using Magnify/Modify questions:
What can be magnified or made larger?
Can I add extra features or somehow add extra value?
With the idea that Participant #2 came up with of a flexible magnetic mirror, I thought, what if you made it like a rollup window shade? You could put the window in-front of a sink and just pull down the mirror when you want it. It would also work with my theme idea of using only one of the two at a time as you need it or rearranging the floor plan so that your kitchen sink could also become your bathroom sink (or vice versa)
Using the Adapt questions:
What else is it like?
What processes can be adapted?
What ideas could I incorporate?
With the idea that participant 1 came up with of the pulley system to access what you need when you need it, it could be adapted to be like a conveyor belt that you ride at the airport, or a baggage belt. You could just ride it and tell it where you want to go. It could also include a trip through the shower and air dryer like an automatic carwash.
Thinking of the coffee dispensing sink and the spaghetti fountain, I wondered:
What ideas can be combined?
Can it do more things?
So perhaps there could be a faucet to dispense all your types of food, cold things from the refrigerator or hot food like it was right out of the microwave. Potentially, eliminating two bulky devices.
Next I used a morphological analysis tool with the functional requirements of a sink and mirror. They are two products, but a sink only really needs to provide water, and dispose/drain/divert it somewhere, and a mirror only has to reflect an image clearly. Since I am looking at the interaction between the two, perhaps this would lead me to other means of their use and identify other situations where similar things also interact.
What I came up with after merging some of these new embodiments did not quite get at the results I was hoping for, but are interesting nonetheless.
One idea is to use a garden hose, or kitchen sink style hose instead of the faucet, which would allow localized water use and prevent awkward bending or leaning in when trying to use water from a spout. And instead of a sink, it was a soil based basin where plants could also grow, which prevents the concentration of water to a drain and allows it to be filtered. Maybe you could also use a vertical water channel to provide reflection.
Another is making the sink a steady flowing stream like a river instead of a large bowl. Instead of a mirror, a TV with video cameras capturing different angles all at once, and perhaps even include PIP broadcasting. Then you could switch it off whenever you don't need to see yourself, or have to lean in or contort into odd positions to see your backside.
Thirdly, a water source that mimics a water bottle that requires the user to squeeze would help with conservation and keep it out of the way when looking into a spoon-like convex mirror. Draining into a barely sloped trough keeps the water around longer and stops it from going right down the drain where it can't be used.
Brainstorming on the topic of the interaction between bathroom sink and mirror.
Since I was not able to assemble a large group of people together with such short notice, my only option was to perform this activity with two other people, one of which was done long-distance over the phone and email. On my end, we watched a couple episodes of Parks and Recreation and The Office from the newest season, which got us laughing quite well. The in-person participant (participant 1) is an Architect Intern currently pursuing a Masters degree, while working full-time at a building restoration company. The participant via phone (participant 2) was a mother of two young, energetic boys so needless to say, she was already in a quite playful mood. She works as a furniture reupholster-er and aspiring furniture designer. Sorry, that's all the people I could get....
I started by explaining the "un-rules" and my topic as the mirror-sink combination and the interaction a person has with each, and proceeded to start with 15 minutes of blue sky generation. As we announced ideas as they came and we drew them, while the tele-cipant announced her ideas, which were later sent via email. Here are some of the best ideas that were created during this time:
Next, I told one person to pretend they were Superman, and the other Dr. Evil, and to think of ideas from their perspective. I tried being Casper the ghost. Here are a couple of the best ideas from this 10 min exercise.
The third activity I decided to try was Random Word association. I took a picture of the random word pages in Cracking Creativity and sent them to the distance participant (ahead of time). Here are the best ideas generated by this technique.
To be honest, the group's IPM was pretty low, but I feel there are a lot of good ideas! In defense, I did not interpret the assignment to include silent sorting or voting so I just performed the final steps myself as the participants' time was precious.
I could have explained the rules a little better as to not write down explanations on the drawings, and perhaps that would have increased the IPM. It was hard to stick to the specific topic of sink-mirror interaction, but there are no non-rules about this, and I suppose it is analogous to the tape vs. tape dispenser question.
As of 12 Oct 2011
- Fingerprint smudges on screens
- Too many unused Post-it notes and not enough places to put them
- Where to put random desk things
- Parking brake levers in manual transmission cars that are next to the shifter
- How magazines are displayed
- When the "Next" arrows change position when clicking through photo albums
- Carrying a wallet
- Videos that don't tell you how long they are
- Gas-smelling hands after filling up your car
- When hangers get tangled together
- The end of the sponge dish cleaner that pops off when pressure is applied, even when new
- People trying to open door while holding coffee and computer and bag
After reviewing my mind map from last week for a bit, my first sub topic to interest me was flossing... probably mainly because I don't do it that often (as I would guess many people don't) and was sure there could be improvements there. But a quick web search of flossing aids showed that there are really a lot of good products out there that would help so decided I would set that one aside. Another theme I noticed on my map was that most of the activities really had nothing to do with using the sink for what it is designed for, dispensing water. Also, I noticed that the mirror, which is integral part of what I would guess 99% of bathroom sinks, really didn't get much mention on my map, but yet a lot of the activities would use it. So it is that I decided to focus on the utility of the sink-mirror integration.
Jill from Huge Theater once said that if you tell someone "don't think about penguins" all they want to do is think about penguins. I found that true with this assignment, as Barry told us not to come up with solutions, when I was looking at my mind map, that's all I was doing!
The first thing I did was observe a user in the morning as they prepared for the day. I tried to note which activities they needed the mirror only, the sink only, and both. This was a little difficult because, since the mirror is there, why not look at it? It seemed it also led to many distractions in between "scheduled" activities, like plucking a stray hair, inspecting that discolored spot, popping zits, or just looking at oneself for unknown reasons really. All of these "bonus" activities seemed to not be dependent upon the sink or water at all, but yet, there it was right in the middle of everything. One experiment I'd like to try later on, is to cover up the mirrors, and see how much they would be missed. I think removing them would make someone really notice that they needed them for something specific, and realize how much they didn't actually need a mirror.
I also decided to create a Facebook survey asking people to think about issues they have with their sink/mirror layout or if they can remember a time using an awkward sink/mirror area. Results are still pending....
The next morning, I decided to create a storyboard of my routine. Because I had to be camera-appropriate, I'm sure the process of observing tainted the natural flow a little bit. And because I had already thought about it and observed the day before, I was probably too aware of things, which could also lead to bias. It would have been a better idea to start with this so that I was less distracted by my own thoughts on the topic. But, I don't really have access to other individuals for this kind of observation...
However, reviewing the storyboard later led me notice things such as the way I lean into the mirror to get a better view, and at one point, sitting on the sink itself for that reason. Something that I now realized I observed the prior day, but didn't really come conscious of it. Another thing I realized was that maybe the whole house design could be changed to more efficiently accommodate the full process between waking up and leaving for work. It seems I leave and return to the bathroom a few times throughout the morning. Could a household get by with only 1 sink for both kitchen and bathroom purposes?
Next, I headed to Barnes and Noble to peruse the magazine section for pictures of bathrooms. With my new-found attention, I wanted to find layouts that would inspire and invoke.
One trend I noticed is the increasing amount of dual vanities. Separating not necessarily into "his" and "hers" but rather, duplication just for the sake of being able to allow 2 people to use their own sink/mirror at the same time. Another trend may be the simplification of the vanity area and its disguise to look like something other than a sink. A noticeable fad is that of separating the sink from the rest of the basin to make it appear as a bowl or other object separated from the base. Almost so it appears movable or detached.
This extensive exploration has led me see there may be the following opportunities:
• Creating a layout with a sink separate from the mirror to allow multiple users in the area at one time
• Devising a system to view the back side of head/back
• Efficient, "assembly line" layout of floor plans
Perhaps the need for 2 entire separate vanity areas could be transitioned into a sink area and mirror area. One must recognize that the chances of 2 people needing to use both all at the same time must be fairly slim.
To get in a creative mood, I thought I'd watch one of my favorite movies, Dumb and Dumber. But it seems when you are trying to make yourself laugh, it is really hard... especially when you know the movie well. So I switched to something I haven't watched in awhile, Futurama, but again, the most I could muster was a few chuckles, even though I was enjoying the show. Part of it could be that I was trying to prepare myself to be creative and knew I had to do work right after watching. I had to then think a lot about what to do that could make me laugh honestly.
After perusing Youtube for a bit, (unsuccessfully and requiring a lot of work) and thinking about the different types of comedy, I decided to watch some episodes of Wipeout. True misfortune of others, but it did the trick. The surprise and hilarity of the ways people falter on the obstacle courses finally created some honest belly aching laughs.
When done with a couple of episodes, I was feeling rather creative, so I grabbed some caffine and went to work on the mind map. I struggled with this a bit in class because I let other peoples idea of a mind map get in the way of my original thoughts. Now on my own, it went a lot smoother for the first 3/4 of the mapping, until I started to get bogged down with things I couldn't find connections to sinks.
I then took a break and tried to do some Association of form thinking, and again, I seemed to struggle with this a bit, not wanting to let myself stray too far from the sink topic. When I flipped my sheet back over to the mind map, surprisingly, I began to see some connections and was able to quickly expand that last 1/4 of the map.
After finishing the mind map, I was still a few silly ideas short. - As a sidebar, it is actually kind of hard to think up silly ideas, but seemed much easier to find the "good" ideas in the mind map. - My next step was to try some product crosses. I wanted a way to randomly list products, which is again, hard to do without prior bias, so I went to the Google Patent home page, which displays a set of 5 random patents each time you refresh the page.
Starting out with the word "sink" I hit refresh and the products that populated included Zipper, Unicycle, and Contact Lens... which worked out well so I continued a few more times, starting with other sink area related words.
My final set of Silly Sink area Ideas is as follows, in no particular order:
1. Skunk smelling (and tasting?) toothpaste.
1.5. Sausage and syrup flavored toothpaste.
2. Vibrating ball brush toothbrush - for hands free brushing.
3. Kayak paddle sized Q-tips.
4. Guitar string musical floss - they say that certain notes are "happy" notes, so this would be a good way to start your day.
5. Coin separating sink drain / bank - make a wish in your own sink and cleans and sorts your change.
6. Randomly spraying faucet - like the fountains in city parks.
7. Hair collector wig maker.
8. Porcupine flosser.
9. A sink that puts on/takes off your pants.
10. Magnifying sink - so you can see your toes close-up without bending over.
11. Human-gas powered tooth brush.