Page 1

Brian chiu design portfolio 2018

I am a designer who has worked in many different mediums. Since graduating from the University of Houston College of Architecture and Design, I have developed products in f ields ranging from consumer electronics, vehicle and transportation design, furniture, soft goods, user experience design- you name it. I love the entire process- from iterating outlandish concept sketches to the fabrication of functional and beautiful products. I pride myself on taking an immersive and user-centered design approach, heavy on research and observation, yet being careful not to overlook the details. When not working, I spend my free time climbing, working on vintage motorcycles, and looking for the perfect fried chicken. The Houston Rockets have been my religion since 1992.

4 22 32 40 54 70 78

TAU urban commuter TM

t heatro




aet her ast hma management Spur 5 Cycles axis design resume



Three unique bikes designed to meet the all the needs of the modern bike commuter. This group project was not only an exercise in craft but human centered research and brand development as well. My contribution to this project was the design of the frames of the three bikes, the componentry, and the bike’s lighting system.

Featured on KHOU, NPR, and NewsFix


4 3




Meet Amy. Amy is new to the commuter cycling world. She just moved to the city and wants to explore, but needs a bike that is both comfortable and reliable. She rather not need to do too much maintenance, and wants to sit back and enjoy the ride. And do it in style. She lives within a mile of her grocery store, cafe, favorite bar, and farmers market. She also lives just a couple of miles from school.




comfort and safety

Being a commuting student, Amy needs to be able to safely and securely carry her bags. We sought to design a easy-touse and “tool-less” rack system as well as special pannier bags to go with it.

Because someone like Amy isn’t an experienced rider, we wanted to design a bike that afforded her plenty of comfort and safety. The TAU line would need to accommodate all kinds of riding styles and provide and keep them safe on the road.





Living in the city can be fun and exciting but you still need to be careful. We made an integrated lock feature a top priority. It needed to be flexible enough to accommodate any obstacle yet strong enough to withstand the most determined of thieves.

Living in Houston, one becomes intimately familiar with the common pothole. We knew that our urban bikes had not be able to handle any kind of terrain one might encounter in the city.

IDEATION PROCESS Our first several weeks of development began with the creation of our brand, TAU and its subsequent brand philosophy. This was soon followed by endless sketch sessions and the birth of our line of bikes. Our three bikes would cater to the entire spectrum of bike commuters found in any city and stay true to our brands principles.

FRAME DESIGN The bike geometry allows for a comfortable, hybrid riding position. It allows the rider to maintain better control over the bikes maneuvering and riding over obstacles. The split top tube is designed to accommodate our accessories.


KOH ANNOURA Meet Koh Annoura- custom frame builder, bike enthusiast and former professional cyclist on Japan’s national cycling team. Based now in Houston, TX, Koh meshes his extensive knowledge in bicycle dynamics with the art of creating a beautiful handmade frame. Koh’s unique techniques include secrets and skills taught to him by master frame builders in Japan. We were lucky enough to work with Koh during the fabrication process. With his guidance, not to mention a full run of his garage and frame building tools, we were able to quickly assemble and align our frames with precision.

Riser Bars Grip Shifter

29� Velocity Blunt 35 Rim

Avid BB-7 Mechanical Disc Brakes

35mm Continental Speed King Cyclocross Tires

Brooks C17 Cambium Saddle

Truvativ Descendant 38T Single-speed Crankset Handmade Walnut Fenders


lighting system TAUs proprietary lighting system was designed to maintain a seamless marriage between the accessory and the bike. Most bike accessories on the market have to be fastened in some obtrusive manner. Both front and rear light provide up to 120 hrs. of 360O illumination via two AAA batteries.

THE LOCK Influenced by the links of a watch, we developed a lock that was both flexible and robust. Using 3-D printed hardened-steel plates, the TAU bike lock is virtually indestructible and fits snugly in between the split top tubes. The hidden key hole makes the lock almost un-pickable.

Theatro Brick and mortar retailers are reinventing themselves in the face of growing competition from eCommerce players and consumer show rooming challenges. With the onslaught of new technologies and empowered consumers, one area that is critical to a retailer’s success is store operations. A principle limitation of store’s operational performance is the lack of effective technology and tools for the floor associate and store management to execute the store’s day-to-day plan. To meet this challenge, Theatro is pioneering compelling business apps on wearable computers for retail. Offered as cloud subscription service, Theatros solution is the f irst “heads-up, hands-free” service for leveraging employee talents, saving steps and increasing customer service. Theatro’s service helps retailers instill a uniform chain-wide employee experience with emphasis on customer engagement. The built-in analytics measure each sales associate’s eff iciency to give management critical command & control for taking store operations to the next level.

Wearable computer The Theatro Communicator was designed with hourly employees in mind. Its simple, voicecontrolled interface takes employees’ attention off their device and back to what they’re doing. With a single device, they can call for backup, check inventory, locate a manager, and simply communicate with a team member—enabling them to do more, better. By connecting store and regional management, hourly employees, and corporate resources, Theatro eliminates the challenges associated with outdated communication technology. Employees can have one-to-one conversations, share expertise and product information, support one another, and guide new teammates without having to stop what they’re doing. During my internship, I was tasked wth designing the next iteration of the Theatro wearable computer. Using inspiration from a studio projects and collaborating with Theatro’s engineers and developers, I spent the 10 weeks coming up with a solution that was both innovative and cost effective. We took the existing PCB and battery capacity of the current communicator and were able to develop a device that was both more aethetically appealing wihtout sacrficing any fuctionality and costs. *DUE TO CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS, FINAL PROTOTYPE IS NOT DISPLAYED.

INITIAL IDEATION We sought a more elegant form that emphasized the single button fuction. We also sought to incorporate the clip instead of having a seperate unit. We also wanted to include some sort of cable management.

DESIGN The executive board of Theatro wanted a design similar to the one I developed for my studio project. The design uses a simple capacitive touch sensor as it’s action button. It is versatile in shape and is both subtle and elegant.

Both communicators use the same PCB, but we were able to integrate a capactive touch sensor chip. Also, by increasing the surface area of the battery, we were able to reduce its thickness, creating a much slmmer form factor. Getting rid of mechanical fasteners also made for a lighter unit.

The lighting of the new generation communicator is more elegant yet more discernable than the previous model. The new clip allows for versatile posistioning.

UX and graphic DESIGN The self-installation kit included software that allows store managers to set up and test the systems themselves. Currently, Theatro does all of the software installation and configuration themselves. Theatro also wanted to develop an smartphone application that would allow managers to access the store program and communicate with both the store and employees. The app would also give quick access to employee analytics. Theatro tasked me with developing the UI for the On-Boarding software that would be simple and easy to follow by someone with little technology experience. I designed it so that information could be quickly inputted and easily understood. The managers app was designed to be responsive to any Android equipped smart phone. After the On-Boarding installation is complete, managers will be able to access the employee lists from their phones, communitcate with them individually, leave messages for the store, and access store statuses.

TAXA OUTDOORS As lead Designer at TaxaOutdoors, I helped this small startup produce innovative outdoor recreational vehicles. The family of lightweight and agile towable living spaces allow users the comfort of being dry and off the ground while maintaining the experience of camping and being outdoors. Working at a startup meant wearing many hats, allowing me to play an integral part in not just design development, but also material sourcing, manufacturing line creation, vehicle graphics, and marketing. I lead the design and development of the WoollyBear gear hauler from concept to prof itable production product, as well as working with the team to develop model year improvements and components with the 2017 Cricket and TigerMoth trailers. A s seen i n:

TAXA Outdoors is a response to the “bigger-is-better” RV industry. Founder and architect, Garrett Finney, combined his experience as a habitation module designer at NASA and as a

lifelong backpacker to develop the concept of the Cricket Trailer, a small, self-contained popup camper. TAXA’s family of trailers are not intended to be a “house-on-wheels,” but rather an portable adventure living space. The objective is to provide an experience more similar to

camping than to staying in a traditional RV. The trailers are light and small enough to be towable by most 4-cylinder vehicles. This agility allows owners off-the-grid access to back

country areas not accessible by most other recreational vehicles. A wide array of stowage options provides the ability to haul food, gear, bikes, kayaks, and rooftop tents.



RV industry

I assisted in several major changes in the transition between the 2016 Cricket Trailer and the 2017 model years. Most

notably, the switch from a 12v water heater to a Truma

propane unit allowed us to provide a truer off-the-grid experience. This change involved the redesign of the

kitchen cabinetry, venting, and user interface. I was also integral in the design of several components that increased stowage capacity and improved human factors, as well as

material research to make our trailers compliant for sale in Canada.

The TigerMoth Trailer is an incredibly versatile

camper that, at 900lbs, can be towed almost anywhere. Smaller than the Cricket, the TigerMoth has many features that make it the ultimate adventure trailer for two people. - Industry leading ground clearance - Pull-out kitchen and stowage

- Pull-out bed, lounge, and stowage system - Pre-wired for solar and 120v shorepower

- LED lighting and NASA inspired attach points

For the 2017 TigerMoth trailer, one of the largest changes we made

was the switch to a powder coated black steel wheel fender and the addition

of a black step bumper. While only adding couple more pounds in weight, the cost reduction in switching from aluminum to steel was significant. Also we felt the black steel added robustness and a more rugged aesthetic. The step

bumper also makes loading and unloading gear from the roof much easier. An improved rack system also allows for the use of a rooftop tent.

The cabinetry for both the kitchen and trailer interior was improved as

well. I helped develop a system that allowed the kitchen lid to be secured with

the box open, providing access to the kitchen box interior while cooking. USB

ports as well as a tablet slot was added to the headboard of the trailer interior.

aETHER ASTHma MAnagement TM

Developed as my senior thesis, this project was one of personal signif icance for me. Asthma affects people of all ages, but most often appears during childhood. Asthma has no known cure and can flare up at any time if you suffer from the the disease. As an individual who grew up living with asthma, I came to understand the importance of taking an active role in managing the symptoms and the disease. Asthma can be debilitating and prevent a sufferer from living an active lifestyle. I wanted to design an option for those with asthma wanting to be excercise without the fear of triggering their symptoms. My research showed that regular excerise can improve the symptoms of asthma, providing a cheaper and holistic alternative to medication.

developed countries are the most vulnerable asthma rates are highest and increasing steadily in urban areas.









+5% 2001


source:, 2015

the global challenge legend

= 100 Million

source:, 2015

of the 7 Billion people on Earth today, 235 Million people suffer from asthma around the world Source: WHO, 2007

335 Million by 2025, the estimated number will grow by over 100 million Source: WHO, 2007

Normal airway

Inflamed airway

People with asthma have red and swollen bronchial tubes. This inflammation is thought to contribute greatly to the long-term damage that asthma can cause to the lungs. And, therefore, treating this inflammation is key to managing asthma in the long run. The airways of people with asthma are extremely sensitive. The airways tend to overreact and narrow due to even the slightest triggers such as pollen, animal dander, dust, or fumes.

most common triggers of asthma Allergens



Asthma suffers are sensitive to plethora of irritants. Any one of these can cause the airways to become inflamed and trigger asthma symptoms. It is imperative that they be vigilant about being aware of their environments and taking the proper precaution.

Severe Weather

how is asthma

effectively managed? MONITOR Asthma symptoms and airway health are constantly checked via a peak flow meter. This measures how well air moves out of your lungs.

LIFESTYLE Asthma suffers must be careful to avoid triggers in their environment as well as lifestyles.

TREATMENT Asthma treatment can vary from antiinflammatory and brochodilator asthma inhalers to oral medications to drugs delivered in an nebulizer.

how is asthma

monitored? A peak flow meter estimates the peak expiratory flow rate, which is a measure of the fastest speed at which you can exhale the air from your lungs, after inhaling a big breath. The measurement relates to how well the air is moving through your airways, so if asthma is present with airway inflammation or bronchoconstriction, the peak flow levels will be lower. Three peak flows are measured in succession and the best reading is recorded. This measurement can also be done before and after inhalation of your reliever medication. The measurement is recorded daily or twice daily and written in a diary to help recognize changes in your peak flow that may occur during the day or over time. A decrease over time may show that your asthma is worsening and vice versa, an increase in measured values will indicate increased asthma control or response to inhaled controller medications.

how does lifestyle

affect asthma? Asthma- while having been linked to heredity and genetics- has also largely been attributed to the sufferer’s environment. Developed countries with higher levels of pollution have higher growth rates of asthma cases. These countries also have a higher rates of obesity and sedentary lifestyles. The majority of physicians and specialists interviewed for this study have stated that increasing overall lung endurance is one of the most helpful ways to manage asthma symptoms. One of the best ways to do this is to engage in regular exercise. However, as stated before, the overwhelming majority of asthma sufferers experience exercise induced asthma. source: NCIB, 2007

2 out of 3 physicians

recommend maintaining an active lifestyle as an effective method of improving lung health.


of all asthmatics experience exercise-induced asthma

Over half of individuals with asthma experience symptoms during and after strenuous activity. When physical exertion leads to asthma symptoms like breathlessness and wheezing, it is called exercise-induced asthma. About 70 to 90 out of 100 people with asthma are affected by this. When we breathe in, our nose cleans, warms and moistens the air. During physical exercise, though, breathing becomes faster, deeper, and more through the mouth. Mouth breathing provides less surface contact with humidifying nasal membranes. This means that the air that enters the lungs is colder and drier than usual. The membranes lining the bronchi swell as a result. In source: Informed Health Online, people with asthma, these membranes are very sensitive, and they tend trigger an attack.

how is asthma


Asthma medication is grouped into two categories: short-term and long-term medication. Short-term is generally for pallative treatment, while long-term is prevantative.

short-term treatment The most common medications you may find in an inhaler is a quick-relief medication known as a brochodialator such as albuterol. These medications are generally palliative, meaning they treat the symptoms as they come or when the individual is anticipating an attack. Due to the relatively low cost of these medications compared to preventative corticosteroids, users often become dependant on inhalers as their main means of asthma management. Albuterol inhalers are most common with individuals with infrequent symptoms or excercise induced asthma.

avg cost: $30-$60 long-term treatment

These are most commonly found in the form of an inhaled or pill form corticosteroid. They are taken once to twice a day as a preventative measure, even if the user is not experiencing symptoms. Corticosteroids help manage brocnchial inflammation over time, yet are often used in conjunction with albuterol inhalers as well as nebulizers as ways of administering quick-relief medication if the user suffers an attack. However, many individuals expressed fear that these medications may show up as a false positive for PED’s.

avg cost: $140-$280 spending on asthma treatment in America

$3,000,000,000 in 2008

$427,000,000 in 1998

source: Respiratory Care Journal, 2005


increase avg. $3,300

spent by each person with asthma each yr.

method of holistic treatment There are currently very few alternatives to treatment with medication and most are only palliative solutions. While they serve either to abate symptoms temporarily or are cost prohibitive to most individuals, they do not address the other areas of life that are affected by medication dependance.


There is a market gap that shows the need for a treatment method that allows the individual to pursue a normal life. By allowing the user to engage in sports and exercise without feeling restricted to their inhalers.


In 1960, Dr. Nils Gunnar Toremalm of University of Lund conducted an study using an aluminum foil heat-and-moisture exhanger applied directly to the tracheal cannula to increase the comfort and recovery of tracheotomized patients. The findings were profound. Air flow moisture and temperature was optomized 200% as air passed through the HME.


objective. Design an asthma management tool that uses an HME to optimize air intake of the user. The humified air will allow the user to exercise with the respirator to improve lung endurance. As lung health improves over time, the need for expensive or ineffective medication descreases. This allows the user to participate in sports and exercise, improving both overall physical and social health.



magnetic filters

Desiging around the use of the expanded aluminum HME and ergonomics, while also focusing on trends in athletic apparel, I began developing a facial respirator for asthma sufferers.

NEEDS: Low-profile needs to be pocketable and comfortable while wearing Affordable both the mask and the sleeve need to be affordable

adhesive filters

bandana style

full-face mask w/ fans

across bridge of nose

Easy-to-clean the sleeve needs to be machine washable and the HME needs to be removed to wash in the sink Tracking ability there needs to be a small on-board spirometer that tracks lung capacity and encourages users to exercise

mic and speaker

flexible plastic nose bridge

free to run.

free to train.

free to breathe.

rear velcro fastener

machine washable chammois-lined neoprene sleeve

breathable mesh panels


hand washable aluminum HME

on-board spirometer



3 Th is W ee k


4. 6 L

Last We ek


45.2 ml

AETHER’s built in spirometer tracks effective VO2 during training. The on-board transmitter


training data and lung health data to an app available on the users phone. This information is plotted on a graph that is easy to understand by both the user and physicians.

The UX acts as a virtual coaching tool by using the data to show improvement as positive reinforcement.

Spur 5 cycles


After the success of the TAU project, three members of the TAU team, including myself, were asked as graduates to develop another bicycle as a flagship project for UH’s ID+ initiative. The objective was to not just design a bike for Houston, but also develop a unique and eff icient manufacturing and assembly process, as well as create the opportunity for a local micro economy.

Featured on KHOU and NPR

ID+ is a think tank and incubator founded by the Industrial Design program at the University of Houston College of Architecture and Design. It’s purpose is to help local designers and former UH ID alumni to develop new products and innovative concepts. It is the only product design incubator in Texas. ID+ fuses the talents of UH students with industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and developers to inspire new commercial products and smart design locally. ID+ GREEN was a showcase for sustainable design that promoted products, partnerships, and design thinking that could encourage Houston’s economic growth through sustainable strategies, use of local intellectual and creative resources, and design commercialization. SPUR 5 was one of five projects featured in this inaugural showcase.

design Objective


SPUR 5 aims to develop an innovative manufacturing and assembly process as we establish ourselves as a company that produces fully customized bike frames, and a collection of integrated cycling accessories.

By utilizing and innovating with accessible resources within the manufacturing hub of Houston, SPUR 5 sought to successfully facilitate for sustainable design and entrepreneurship. With a streamlined design and assembly approach, opportunity for material customizing and interchangeable accessories can exist.

Coach k

jimmy tran

Carlyle yarbough

Brian Chiu



90%%70% DRIVE to work




of vehicle trips


RIDE A BICYCLE even though you can

reduce co 2 emissions by

1,248 lbs.

SAFETY Visibility and lighting is key to being safe on the roads. We wanted to design our lighting and its power source as an integrated and seamless system.

CARGO Being able to carry your laptop on the way to the coffeeshop or store a rain jacket away is important in an urban environment.

security Often times urban settings are not the best place to leave your belongings unsecured. We wanted to improve upon the TAU integrated locking system.

ease of assembly Most people are not seasoned bike mechanics. Making sure that the assembly and maintenance of this bike was simple and intuitive.

design The design of SPUR 5 Universal Frame Lug allows for changing the size of the bike to be done by simply changing the length of the tubes. The integrated lock and lighting provides safety and security for the rider at all times. The rack system is easily detached via a spring loaded clasp.

lighting controls

pannier rack and storage platform

universal frame Lug

Lock compartment

rechargeable battery

extruded aluminum

Integrated lighting

Spur 5 urban commuter

AXIS DESIGN As a contracted industrial designer with Axis Design in Round Rock, Texas, I helped develop numerous product concepts, beginning with high level concept sketches to CAD models and CMF selections. We worked with clients such as Hewlett-Packard, Toro, Nextivity, Dell, and more. The products I worked on ranged from mobile signal boostes to automated lawn mowers.

rubber grip overlay

aluminum stand

60V Leaf blower Toro sought to create a line of yard tools that would help modernize their brand and include updated technology and design. The key components of the updated leaf blower included maximizing their brand language as well as creating a feeling of lightness and speed.

honeycomb style vent dual-textured blower tube

Robotic mower Toro also tasked us with helping develop their first ever robotic mower. Compared to other brands robot mowers, Toro sought to use a combination of GPS and on-board cameras and sensors to program an efficient for maintaining a lawn. Key elements of the mower include protected cameras, field of view, and a integrated handle.

extending handle

wrap-around lens cover

hidden front handle

rear bump stop sensor

emergency stop button

wall note We worked together with HP to explore the concept of a CNC robot that could autonomously write on an office surface. Using a series of vaccuums (think reverse air hockey!) the robot would hover a white board and use its reloadable cartridge to write in four different dry-erase markers. When finished, the robot returns to its charging unit.

Cel-fi signal booster This mobile signal booster is meant to be used in a commercial application. The client, Nextivity, wanted the booster to be wall mounted and to blend in to an office setting. Several challenges presented itself in this design, such as ensuring rotation/pivot clearance of the large antennae board, cable managment, and adequate heat ventilation.


8307 Be a ve r Bro o k La ne , Au st i n TX, 78748 b gk c hi u @gma i l .co m 832.282.0861


www.b r i a nc hi u .co m



Axis Design / Industrial Designer

General Assembly / UX Design




round rock

As a contracted Industrial Designer, I produced numerous high level concept sketches, CAD models, and CMF selection for clients such as HP, Toro, Nextivity, and Dell. Products ranged from commercial to cosumer markets. Developed graphics and UI interfaces for HP products.




10 - week course in User Experience Design. Developed travel app designed to provide users with possible destinations based on time and budget. Wireframes created with Sketch & Illustrator, prototype created with Invision. Reinforced user-centered design research methods.

University of Houston/ B.S. Industrial Design 2012 - 2016,

TaxaOutdoors / Lead Designer 2016 - 2017,


As lead designer for this Houston-based startup, I was tasked with taking the idea of a gear-hauler, outdoor living space from concept to a profitable production consumer product. I was integral in not just the design development, but also material selection, and developing company and product branding, promotional material, and graphic design.


Designed a line of bicycles and accessories influenced by the diverse neighborhoods and landscapes of Houston. Developed a wearable to promote excercise and improve lung health among asthma sufferers. Heavy focus on design research methods.

UTSA / B.A. English, Art History 2006 - 2010,

san antonio

TOOLS UHID+ / Industrial Designer 2015 - 2016,


Upon graduation, I was asked to participate in the seminal stages of UHID+ - a design think tank/incubator based at the University of Houston with the goal of fusing skills of ID alumni with industry leaders, entrepreneurs and developers to inspire new commercial products and smart designs. My team and I designed an innovative urban commuter bicycle and developed a manufacturing plan to create a viable bike startup in Houston.

Theatro / Design Intern




10-week internship at tech startup. Worked closely with engineers to design new form factor for wearable computer. Designed packaging for product line. Created a library of digital and print materials for clients such as Bed Bath & Beyond and The Container Store. Developed wireframe and prototype for mobile/desktop app.

Design: Illustration & UI graphics • Strategy & vision presentations • User flows • Concept sketches • Wireframes & mock-ups with Illustrator & Sketch • Hand & digital rendering • Branding, logo, and icon design• Style guides & pattern libraries • Data visualization • Packaging • Photography • Fabrication • Rapid prototyping

Programs: Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, some AfterEffects) • Sketch • InVision • Keynote

SOLIDWORKS • Keyshot • Sketchbook Pro • Corel Painter • SketchUp • some Rhino • working knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

• Task analysis • Persona creation • Storyboarding • Card sorting • Rapid prototyping • Comparative analysis • Design and material trends • Post-its!

Research: User & Competitive research

Interests: Graphic Design• Data Analytics Motorcycles • Cycling • Rock Climbing


Brian Chiu Design Portfolio 2018  
Brian Chiu Design Portfolio 2018