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: