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Ben Dekock Industrial Design // User Experience Western Washington University Graduate


Personal Flotation Device

Western Washington University + Extrasport Ten week collaboration. Fall 2011.

Best in Show

Designed to Save Personal Flotation Devices are designed to save your life. Extrasport designs and builds PFDs catering to a wide range of interests and outdoor activities, but at the core is the kayaker. Extrasport strives to provide the highest quality and innovation in paddlesports.

Current PFD Anatomy

Research To better understand the world of kayaking I became a paddler myself. Through the multiple experiences I had on the water I learned about the closure systems and methods of donning a PFD. I found that the zippers and buckles were hard to use when my hands were cold and that my mobile phone – that I brought along for emergency purposes – had to be placed in a dry bag located in the haul of the boat to protect it from the elements. To further understand the PFD, I conducted an extensive ergonomic and usability study that revealed inefficiencies and inappropriate methods of donning and adjustment. Lastly, I observed and interviewed professional kayakers – one of which was Fred Norquist pictured below – who spoke of his experiences, issues with PFDs, and desires for change.

Design Opportunity Develop a next generation adventure PFD that centralizes user assets into one accessible ergonomic location.

Ideation & Prototyping The ideation phase of this project was directly related to the physical validation of each concept. Sketching focused on elliptical closure systems, form development, prototyping ergonomics and usability.

Design Direction Justification The PFD design was selected out of the ideation phase for the following reasons: 1. 2. 3. 4.

The form of the PFD spreads the mass of flotation material out from the torso area and moves a portion of it under the arms, diminishing overall bulk and adding protection to the paddlers’ sides. The closure system is located in a central ergonomic location and is increased in size, adding dexterity during cold weather operation. The space above the closure system could be allocated for a flip open waterproof pocket. The overall form is the most dynamic, employing fast curves and proportional theory.

Design Refinement Technical Layout


Color Theory Aluminum

Black // Dominant Black was chosen to diminish the visual size of the form.


Silver // Subdominant 400 Denier Nylon

Silver was chosen for its reflective properties and visibility.


Red // Subordinate Red was chosen as a means of indication and user interaction.

Reflective Fabric

Production Foam Once the chosen design was determined, work began by cutting out each section of the PFD from flotation foam. Efforts also commenced on machining the primary closure system and related components.

Fabric Templates Once the flotation foam sections were cut, shaped and thermoformed, fabric templates were developed for each material.

Fabric Work After the fabric templates were made each material was sourced and purchased. The templates were then transferred over to the material. Taking into consideration the grain, the fabric was cut and prepared for sewing.

Sewing & Fitting Following the fabric preparations, the unique sections were flipped inside out, pinned and meticulously sewn together.


Final Product

PFD Overview

Reflective Piping

Red Pull Tab

Waterproof Pocket


Closure System

The final PFD design sports a large tactile primary closure system with secondary adjustment webbing to the left and right. Above the closure system is the user necessities pocket. These two features are located front and center in the most ergonomic location possible, streamlining the user’s experience. The color red accents the front of the PFD and indicates essential interaction points to the user. The holistic visual form of the PFD is diminished with the use of the color black, but for safety reasons is contrasted by reflective branding and piping making the paddler visible in all weather conditions.

Final Product

PFD Overview The back of the PFD is a continuation of the visual proportion and color theory found on the front. Visible on the paddler’s sides is Extrasport’s Retro-Glide adjustment system. This is an extension of the secondary closure system that attaches the shoulder straps to those found on the hip, eliminating the need to reach around the body to find adjustment webbing. The main feature on the back of the PFD is the red rescue ring. The ring is highlighted by reflective Extrasport branding making it visible to rescuers in the event of an emergency.

Reflective Piping

Reflective Branding

Rescue Ring

Retro-Glide Adjustment

Side Protection

Closure System Primary The primary closure system consists of a circular aluminum restraining plate and a red aluminum securing handle. The restraining plate has a recessed chamfer which allows the closure system to be secured flush against the PFD. This protects against an accidental release in the event that it comes in contact with the kayak during a roll.

Secondary The secondary closure system consists of a nylon covered polyethylene belt and adjustment webbing fitted with Extrasport’s Retro-Glide two-in-one shoulder-side adjustment system.

Donning the PFD

Step One: Put PFD over your head and rest onto shoulders.

Step Two: Attach the belt around your waist and tighten the secondary closure system.

Step Three: Insert primary closure system through the aluminum restraining plate and turn red handle onequarter rotation to secure the PFD.

Asset Pocket Overview Paddlers carry an assortment of assets while out on the water. These consist of a whistle, knife, light, and cell phone. During critical situations paddlers would have to dig through their dry bag storage in the haul of the boat to access their mobile phone. The user necessities pocket stores all of these assets on the user’s chest. A flip down waterproof pocket reveals a phone sleeve, allowing paddlers to make calls or check weather, tides, or river flow. The entire pocket is reinforced with polystyrene to protect against impact.

Auxiliary Storage

Elastic Straps

Waterproof Phone Sleeve

Personal Flotation Device

Western Washington University + Extrasport Ten week collaboration. Fall 2011.

Best in Show

Convertible Ultrabook Technology Development Vehicle

Intel Corporation // Platform Technology Development Team Industrial Design Internship 2012-2013

Internship My education continued between my junior and senior year when I accepted a one-year industrial design internship with Intel Corporation. I worked as the sole industrial designer on a thermal and mechanical path finding team. My task was that of developing and employing future computing technologies in tomorrow’s computers. Over the course of one year I designed eleven computers and have a patent pending. Presented with permission of Intel Corporation and public release of the design.

Convertible Ultrabook Tablet when you want it, laptop when you need it. Convertible Ultrabooks are laptop computers that transform into tablet devices. This hybrid relationship provides a flexible computing experience tailored to the user’s desires.

Design Focus This Ultrabook is a Technology Development Vehicle (TDV) and is used for the testing of new computing advancements. Due to the proprietary nature of these computers, only three technologies will be discussed in this presentation: hinge advancement, thermal solution, and convertible keyboard protection.

Hinge Design

Thermal Solution

Convertible Keyboard Protection

Hinge Problem The folder hinge – pictured in this Lenovo Yoga – was chosen for this Ultrabook TDV due to the minimal number of steps required for conversion. The user opens the lid of the computer and continues the motion until converted into tablet mode. The issue with this hinge style is the jogging action that leads to an offset placement after multiple uses.

Jogging Displacement

Hinge Solution My team and I designed a 360-degree hinge bar which contains geared hinges that solved the jogging action in the folder hinge. The unique hinge was manufactured using wire-EDM processes. Upon opening the computer the gears track with a 1:1 ratio for a solid and smooth conversion experience.

Geared Hinges

360 Degree Hinge

Converted Problem When converted into tablet mode the keyboard faces downward against the resting surface. Heuristic evaluations revealed people’s apprehensions over keyboard exposure and opportunity for damage to both the trackpad and keyboard.

Keyboard Exposure

Converted Solution Looking at the computer in the front clamshell orientation, I designed the lid – containing the screen – to have a convex profile that nests into a concave base. When the computer is converted into tablet mode the concave base faces downward creating a resting point, thus protecting the keyboard by elevating it off the surface.

Clamshell Mode

Convex Lid // Concave Base

Front View

Tablet Mode

Elevates Keyboard Off Surface

Concave Base // Resting Point

Opening Affordance The nesting relationship between the lid and base creates a natural screen opening affordance. Instead of depressing a button or identifying the crease to open the lid, the entire front of the computer becomes the opening affordance.

Nesting Lid // Open Indicator

Thermal Solution This Ultrabook TDV is a thermally passive computer. A single heat pipe extends the width of the chassis and is directly attached to the CPU. I designed a thermal air intake in the rear of the computer to draw cool air in and over the heat pipe. The hot air plumes out of an opening north of the keyboard and over the screen.

Air Intake

Passive Thermal Exhaust

UX Hierarchy The exhaust of the passive thermal solution was neatly placed in the keyboard well north of the keys in order to limit the visual impact on the surface. Minimization of the keyboard surface maximizes the users focus on the screen where all user interactions default.


Minimal Keyb


board Surface

IDF Reveal This Ultrabook TDV was a tremendous learning experience and a great success for my team. It was the quickest computer to be designed, manufactured, and revealed on stage at an Intel Development Forum in company history. Former Intel VP Dadi Perlmutter debuting the Ultrabook TDV.

Chaise Lounge

Western Washington University Senior Thesis 2013 - 2014

Thesis Western Washington University’s Senior Industrial Design class was presented with a minimal yet inherently classic industrial design prompt of defining, designing, and manufacturing a chaise lounge chair. The rest was up to us.

Ideation The chaise lounge project began with copious amounts of ideation sketches. From large to small, simple to complex, no idea was left off paper. Phase after phase of ideation went by but no idea stood out.

Inspiration With no standout sketch, reevaluation was needed. I looked to nature for inspiration and found it on top of the clouds. The rolling wave motion of cloud tops through time-lapse photography provided an inherently peaceful and beautiful spectacle to base my design. I correlated this with refined mechanical forms like the blades of single bypass jet engines and fell in love with the paralleling planes and dynamic relationship between them.

Scale Models With newfound inspiration, 1/8 & 1/4 scale models were created to validate the new direction. Focus was directed on the elevated seating plane and relationship between chair components.

Futuristic Approach

Classic Intent.

Design Overview Designated to be a place of relaxation and contemplation, the design consists of a component dynamic relationship. The thin seating plane has been elevated to correlate with the subconscious lifting of stress and is supported by a carbon fiber midsection. Carbon fiber was chosen for strength, beauty and technological relevance. The large carbon portion is the means of interface and structure of the chair. The legs provide footing for the chaise lounge. Designed to cradle the carbon fiber midsection, the legs consist of two opposing neutral curves welded at a point of tension.

Elevated Seating Surface

Carbon Fiber Midsection

Chromed Steel Legs

Detailed Componentry Alloy Steel Screws & Polished Plugs Alloy steel socket cap screws were the chosen joinery for the chair. The screws pass through the seating componentry and eventually thread into the chromed steel legs. Aluminum Seating Surface Aluminum was chosen for the seating surface for its minimal weight. The thin seating plane was designed to appear delicate and is paralleled and strengthened by the carbon fiber midsection. Machined Aluminum Pucks & Urethane Rubber Standoffs The machined aluminum pucks were designed to be the initial interface between the steel alloy screws and the seating plane. Epoxied to the aluminum seating surface, the pucks align with the urethane rubber standoffs, elevating the seating plane and channeling the screws through to the legs. Carbon Fiber Midsection The carbon fiber midsection provides the driving form for the chair, it structurally supports the thin aluminum seating plane and interfaces with the chromed steel legs. Chromed Steel Legs The chromed steel legs focus the terracing chair componentry to a single point of tension, and then flare back out along a neutral curve.

Carbon Preparation The carbon fiber midsection of the chaise lounge was the most complex part of the chair to manufacture. To prepare, I researched the manufacturing processes of Eames composite chairs to better understand the coming undertaking. For hands-on experience I constructed full-scale molds and through an extensive lay-up process, I created two carbon fiber Eames chair renditions for preparation purposes.

Manufacturing The entire manufacturing process of the chaise lounge was personally completed in house. Outsourcing occurred only for the aluminum seating plane and various part finishing. Aluminum Seating Surface The aluminum seating plane was water-jet cut out of Âź inch 5052 aluminum and hydraulically rolled to the desired profile. For protective purposes the seating plane was powder-coated silver. Chromed Steel Legs The steel legs of the chair were manufactured using a variety of processes. The lower portion consists of four parts: two neutral curves rolled out of one inch tubing and two 104-degree bends formed using a mandrel tubing bender. Heating and bending oneinch cold rolled solid around a water-jet jig manufactured the upper section. The multiple parts were then assembled in a jig and welded together. After blending all the welds the chair legs were meticulously hand sanded to mirror finish and protected by chrome plating. Carbon Fiber Midsection The mold for the carbon fiber midsection was created in Solidworks and CNC machined out of high-density polyurethane foam. The mold was then sprayed with tooling gel-coat and sanded up to 1000 grit. The final carbon part taken from the mold was laid-up with six layers of 6K carbon fiber using System Three resin and hardener. The wet lay-up process was vacuum bagged under 25 PSI and finished using a handheld cut-off wheel and palm sander. Additional Componentry The polished plugs that hide the alloy steel screws and the aluminum pucks that interface with the rubber standoffs were both machined using various turning processes on a metal lathe. Each individual part was sanded to a mirror finish and polished using compound on a buffing wheel. The standoffs that elevate the seating plane off the carbon fiber midsection were cast in an aluminum cylinder using Smooth-On PMC-780 urethane rubber.

Senior Show Western Washington University’s Senior Industrial Design show titled Reflection occurred June 12, 2014 at Teague’s downtown Seattle design studio. Thirteen unique chaise lounge chairs were on display for the 500+ in attendance to enjoy.

Chaise Lounge

Western Washington University Senior Thesis 2013 - 2014


Love of Winter I love snowboarding. My love for riding began in my backyard while living in Minnesota. An impressionable sixth-grade boy, the feeling of riding a snowboard was authentically mine. Self taught from day one I dreamed of riding the big mountains of the Northwest. That dream came true and so many more. As a high school student I instructed the terrain park and half pipe at Stevens Pass and built a community on the mountain. Snowboarding is at the core of who I am. Always in pursuit of a steep line, a face full of powder, or a massive jump, riding is how I cut loose.

Through the Lens Raised in the Pacific Northwest, I gained an appreciation for the beauty of nature while spending time on the Hood Canal at my grandparents’ cabin. In 2006, this appreciation grew into a desire to capture these moments through the lens of a camera. I have taught myself the intricacies of photography, specializing in landscapes and wildlife. Ben Johannes Photography Š 2014

Ben Dekock Industrial Design // User Experience

Contact Education Recognition





HILLSBORO, OR 06/12 - 07/13 - Lead Industrial Designer // Platform Technology Development Team - User Experience Designer // Ultrabook Consumer Journey contributor - Designed Horseshoe Bay, Vizio concepts, & Intel Patent Holder - Worked with Mechanical & Thermal Engineers, ID & IxD Designers

BEN JOHANNES PHOTOGRAPHY // PHOTOGRAPHER SEABECK, WA 08/06 - PRESENT - Skilled outdoor & studio photographer -


BELLINGHAM, WA 10/11 - 05/12 - DME certified Level 1 Delivery Driver - Delivered medications to Nursing Homes, Rehab Clinics, and etc. - Delivered with efficiency and customer service in mind


SEABECK, WA // summers 2006 - 2010 - House, deck, and custom construction - Acquired large skill set in construction and customer service

STEVENS PASS // STUDENT MARKETING REPRESENTATIVE BELLINGHAM, WA // 10/09 - 4/10 - Successfully represented Stevens Pass Ski Resort 09/10 season - Marketed season pass opportunities on WWU campus


COEUR D’ALENE, ID // summer 2010 - Coached hundreds of high school athletes javelin technique - Refined communication and instructional techniques


BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WA // summer 2008 - Designed Money Smart Kids youth financial education program - Worked directly with CEO Carolyn Frame



Ben Dekock - Industrial Design Portfolio  
Ben Dekock - Industrial Design Portfolio