The Un-p3 Project Part 2: Prototype Samples
Edit: Re-formatted the layout of some text and images.
Yep. There is no point me blogging about doing good industrial design or design theory if at the end of the day I don’t walk the talk and produce something to show, right? Well after starting, stopping, re-starting, hacking and spin drying my ideas, I have finally succeeded in creating sample prototypes of my Un-p3 Mp3 player! Can you say that five times in your head?
Please do check it out after the jump and please leave me all your hard hitting ego killing feedback? No hang on, my ego is fragile so please be gentle? Heh-heh.
If you have not already do have a look at The Un-p3 Project: Part 1, for some of the background information behind the build up to this project. Anyways without further adieu, here it is in its full glory!
What do I get when I try to design an mp3 player out of wood?
Oh yeah baby, check it out plugged into my B&O headphones.
Well these samples have shown that the design is currently not quite ready as things don’t fit well, for example I made the housing 3mm too big for the circuit board! I don’t think I would have spotted this if I did not make a prototype.
Actually, prototyping or functional models are one of the design tools I hardly see a lot off these days, both in a work situation and inside portfolios. With realistic computer rendering software packages these days, I see many designers rely on said renderings as a cheaper and quicker communication tool instead of models or prototypes. Furthermore, many clients in Asia try to drop the model making phase completely just to save on overall project cost.
I think this attitude is wrong and should change if possible. Model making and hand building designs gives you a certain sense of reality and quickly brings a designer very close to the product. Sadly these days I almost have to “whip” time starved designers to get back into the workshop!
From the client stand point, many rely on the first tooling trial shot for the first taste of the product. Therefore in both cases both designer and client lose a chance to “play” with their object to get a “feeling” of it very early in the development phase, and most importantly have the time to make the experience just right. Finally this also allows you an opportunity to work closely with your manufacturers if your test models and prototypes can come from the same source. (Many manufacturing companies also provide prototyping services.)
Check out the electronic guts I installed inside, unfortunately I made the interior about 3-4mm too big, oops! Better get back to work still lots more to do.
Anyways back to the discussion at hand. Briefly, the 4 equal semi-circles are the controls (volume and play direction) and the center circle is the play/power switch. The Lithium-ion battery runs for about 5-8 hours, and the product plays most digital music formats off a SD Memory Card (not included). It’s meant to be very simple and easy to use, but the focus is on creating a “haptic” product that can form a strong emotive relationship with the user. Well all in all, I think I’m only about 60% there, but with the pictured sample models you and I can roughly get a good feel of the product. I still have a few proportional issues (like the key hole etc.) to refine, mounting/alignment points and user graphics to finalize and I should be about there.
My plans are basically to create a limited run of 20 pieces for this design, and sell them at about USD$ 60-70 bucks each. I estimate I should be done in under a month if my work load remains at the current level. So what do you think of the design work so far?