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RESUME Took part in Electrolux Silver Generation Project organised by Electrolux and >60 Design Centre in year 2009 Featured in ‘Unearthed’ Portfolio show for young designers 2010 http://www.designportfolioshow.sg 3 months Overseas Internship Programme in Koszalin University of Technology (Politechnika Koszalinska) in year 2010 In my three years of study (mid 2008 - 2011), I received the Director’s list award in year 2008 and 2009, then graduated from Temasek Design School in year 2011 with a Diploma in Product & Industrial Design with Merit Worked as a temp designer in A*STAR (agency for science, technology and research) Institute of Infocomm Research in the computer graphics and interface department for four months in 2011

KONG WEN DA Industrial Designer gideon.kongwd@gmail.com


Me 1991 - now

Portfolio 2008 - 2011

As for now 2012

As a kid, I love drawing, started sketching and painting still life as i grew up. I also picked up music when I was around thirteen and have never lost interest in it since. The aspirations of my younger self were either to be an artist or musician, but these dreams often met up with opposition from others.

These works shows my experimentation of different possibilities and areas of design. Eventually, I will find a personal approach that reflects my beliefs and philosophy. When a project ends, everything that came as a result do not end altogether. Instead, multiple platforms are created for me to improve or add on to other areas of work in the future. Together they create a small library of design thoughts and ideas that I personally have experimented and experienced. It helps me gain better understanding of myself as a young designer.

Design is for the people, born out of empathy from the designer. It is not self expression, neither does it promise more than what it is. It does what it does, it is not what its not.

But design allowed me to embrace who I am, the creativity and passion I once had. I love designing for people and haven’t stop exploring since.

This is also the reason why some of the projects shown here are not presented as final concepts. They are left hanging halfway, showing certain skills or thought process along the way, even my imperfections. The value of these evidence showing me as a growing designer made me decide to include these projects here anyway.


Works TP DES

Diploma Graduate

2008 - 2010

2011 - 2012 Eyestop

Ecolamp

Tree Listowie

Glide Digital Menu

Technology in Musical Instruments

Design Academic Paper

Multi-touch Kitchen Table Interface

Jamo Medmate


Eyestop SERVICE DESIGN

is a bus information device for the visually impaired. It allow users to read the bus numbers with Braille numbers provided and press the button of bus they are boarding. This button will indicate to them the bus number, bus arrival timing (in minutes). The device will notify them of the bus arrival again to ensure the users board the bus. Project done in collaboration with 2 students from Social Science School in Temasek Polytechnic, along with 1 Product & Industrial Design student, for a competition based in Thailand, I-create. I was involved in the later part of the design process, which is to further refine the concept and doing up presentations layout to communicate this idea effectively.


Exisiting solution implemented in some existing bus stops in Singapore, an LED screen showing the bus arrival timings in real time, also providing real time information through online or mobile platforms.

Intelligent Route Information System eye-stop

computers

phone

tablet

Therefore, it is only natural for this service to be available to the visually handicapped. This will be possible with eyestop, providing audio information of bus arrivals. Numbers (in braille) of different bus service will be on these interchangeable plates on each eyestop, users can feel and click on the buttons accordingly to activate an audio information. Eyestop will automatically make an announcement when any bus is approaching the bus stop.

steel frame to support whole device strongly and provide handle for users.

1300mm

angled in for wheelchair users and more leg room

concrete base to hold device strongly


BEFORE

1. The visually handicapped might mistake other vehicles as buses. 2. There might be no one around to help. 3. Visually handicapped is not able to wait at ease, always being anxious about bus arrivals. 4. And most of the time, they end up missing bus arrivals.

AFTER

1. Visually handicapped following the tactile flooring that leads to Eyestop. 2. Upon pressing the button of desired bus number, there will be a sound notification informing the arrival timing of next bus. 3. Visually handicapped can wait at ease until they hear another sound notification from Eyestop informing the arrival of the bus. 4. They will then be able to board the bus safely and on time.


Listowie | foliage FURNITURE

Listowie, which means ‘foliage’ in english, is one of the main inspiration I had in this design, which also explains why its form is similar to leaves. Designed to fit the living spaces of Polish families, Listowie allows much flexibility in creating desired spaces for interaction between people. They are also easy to stack and store. This project was done individually during my overseas internship at Koszalin University of Technology in Poland, where we were each tasked to design furnitures based on our understanding of Polish culture after spending the first month travelling around Poland, visiting and interacting with different Polish friends and families. I recieved help from my friends in documenting the photos and trying out the ergonomics of the prototype.

Listowie was exhibited in the Museum of Technology and Transport - The Art Depot in Szczecin.


Poland is often being described as a ‘grey city’ after the war but it is how it looks like on the surface. After I experienced the people and culture, I find it very much different from the way it was described, the friends and families we visited were really warm and friendly. I want to translate this emotion into my design, to show fun, excitement and possibilities from just a plain looking structure.


Glide KITCHEN WORKSTATION

A kitchen workstation designed for the future silver generation (in 50 years): ensures minimal movement in the kitchen yet allow users to produce the same quality food as before. This Electrolux Silver Generation Project was organised by Electrolux and >60 Design Centre, where design students from all the design schools in Singapore were chosen to take part. I was in one of the teams from my school which includes two product & industrial design students, one visual communication student and one interactive media student. ‘Glide’ was exhibited along with the other 11 concepts at Laselle College of the Arts during Singapore Design Festival, 2009.


A kitchen workstation which consists of five elements (1.organic waste bin, 2. sink, 3. oven, 4. sliding worktop, 5. sliding induction cooker). The worktop and induction cooker slides on top of the 3 other elements. This sliding concept allows users to arrange the worktop according to the functions they need. The sliding and operating controls are designed such that no function conflicts with another when in use. Rather, they will enhance the workflow of the user.

WORKTOP

WASTE BI NS

INDUCTION COOKE

IN KO

R

VEN


WORKTOP

For basic food preparation. There is a slight depression on its surface that allow liquid forms to flow down to waste bin that is just beneath it (on far left). It also features a spring hinged lid that makes it easier for users to throw unwanted food waste into the waste bin. INDUCTION COOKER

The main component for the cooking. Once pots or pans are placed on the cooker, It will sense them and form an area for cooking automatically, controls will also appear at the front of the induction cooker for users to set a temperature. STORAGE AND BIN

Situated on the bottom left of Glide, it features a mechanism to bring out the front plate of the waste bin to retrieve and replace the waste bag when its full. SINK

It has a tap that is foldable so that it will not get in the way when the two other components are sliding on top of it. It can also be extended out, for example, to fill a pot that is on the worktop with water. OVEN

Gilde features an elevating oven lid, intead of the conventional ones. When food is ready from the oven, the lid elevates up with the food on a tray, Users will then be able to just drag the tray in and out from the oven to the induction cooking surface beside it which is of the same height. This solves the problem of elderly bending down to retrieve oven trays from conventional ovens.


REFERENCES Curwen, T (2009 feb 16). Gibson Dark Fire. Retrieved from: http://www.musicradar.com/gear/all/guitars/electric/6-string-solid-body/ dark-fire-196497/review/2 Haken Audio. (n.d.). Continuum Fingerboard. Retrieved from: http://www.cerlsoundgroup.org/Continuum/html/overview/HowItWorks.html Wanderly, M, M. & Marshall, M, T. (2005 sept). Vibrotactile Feedback and Digital Musical Instruments. Retrieved from: http://www.idmil.org/projects/vibrotactilefeedback Hoadly, R. (2000, april). Computer Technology and Musical Expression. Retrieved from: http://rhoadley.org/texts/mt_and_me/mt_and_me_v2.html Bowles, E, A. (1999). The impact of technology on musical instruments. Retrieved from: http://www.cosmos-club.org/web/journals/1999/bowles.html Castiglioni, B. (n.d.). Jojo Mayer. Retrieved from: http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/JOJO_Mayer.html Rhythm. (2008 Oct 20). Buyers’ guide: Budget electronic drumkits. Retrieved from: http://www.musicradar.com/tuition/tech/buyers-guide-budget-electronicdrum-kits-177956


Technology in Musical Instruments D E S I G N A C A D A M I C PA P E R

This paper was done to explore the relationship between music and technology, on how emerging technologies are affecting the design of musical instruments and how that in result, affecting musicians who interact with these instruments. I chose this topic because my final year project was something to do with technology in music equipments, so to apply the right technologies into my design, I had to further understand the role of technology in music. It was quite a general topic as at that point of time I wanted a general understanding, at the same time keeping options open before finally deciding on a direction.


1. INTRODUCTION 1.1. The greater influence of Technology on musical instruments. Technology has been playing its part in improving the sound and experience of playing musical instruments since a long time ago, where early improvements were, for example, the mechanisms in making clocks allowed the invention of the first keyboard instruments (Bowles, 1999). There are many more examples for these small advancements but the more influential one was when music playing was taken to a whole new level with computer technology, for example ‘adapting the digital process of computers to sound recordings’ (Bowles, 1999). This is the area I will focus on, with current and future technology re-defining or even creating many musical instruments, bringing about much ‘flexibility in sound creation’ in electronic musical instruments (Hoadley, 2000). Few of the most common examples are the evolution of electric guitars from acoustic ones, along with electronic drum kits flooding the music scene. 1.2 Thesis Statement While technology has been playing a greater role in the design of musical instruments, many people are still resistant to this move because the playing experience derived is different and these instruments cost more. 1.3 Scope of Design Acadamic Paper Therefore, I intend to look into how technology can be further improved to allow users to embrace this change. Also, I will explain the reasons why consumers are resistant to the ‘new’ instruments.

2. COMMUNICATION BETWEEN MAN AND THEIR INSTRUMENTS 2.1 Relationship The communication between man and their

instruments has long existed since musical language has been invented. Traditional instruments need constant tuning and maintenance from users, in other words, care and attention in order to keep it in good conditions for playing. There are a lot of details to take note of if instrument owners want to maintain them in good conditions, for example, to take note of sudden changes in surrounding temperatures or humid conditions. Also, the dynamics produced from an instrument is so much related and sensitive to the touch of a human hand; even a slight change of pressure from the users’ fingers will affect the pitch of a stringed instrument. In a way all these can be regarded as a hassle, but in fact, these are the things that relate us both. 2.2 How is this being left out from the new types of instruments? This connection we humans have with our tools is not one that can be easily replaced by fast and easy technology. If technology is being applied to create new instruments, this process needs to involve much thinking, taking into consideration how humans interact with their instruments. Automation is not the best option here even though it is widely applied in many other areas, for example in automatic emergency brakes used in cars (Norman, 2007). Traditional instruments need constant tuning and maintenance from users, in other words, care and attention in order to keep it in good conditions for playing. Technology is slowly removing this factor from the ‘new’ instruments, we can see it in many upcoming instruments which features ‘auto tuning’, for example the dark fire Gibson guitar which uses robot technology (ButterScotch, 2009), therefore saving a lot of trouble for musicians, but at the same time affecting the personal relationship musicians share with their instruments. If this principle of interaction and connection is applied in these ‘new’ instruments, where it encourages interaction with the user, it will definitely re-create a successful instrument.


3. CURRENT TRENDS IN HIGH TECHNOLOGY INSTRUMENTS As I have stated earlier, many modern musical instruments include more automatic functions and abilities which are believed to aid us in playing, in creating a greater user experience. I will explain how this exists in current technologies through two examples of musical instruments 3.1 Examples and impact on consumers Image 1: Dark Fire electric guitar by Gibson

Image retrieved from: http://www.musicradar.com/gear/ all/guitars/electric/6-string-solid-body/dark-fire-196497/ review/2

This electronic guitar from Gibson features a robotic technology that allows users to ‘auto tune’ their guitars in a few seconds by just choosing the type of tuning along with a couple of strums (Curwen, 2009). It also includes a MCK (Master Control Knob) where users can freely control or personalize the tones of the guitar to imitate almost any sound of any guitars. This is really a breakthrough for guitar systems but is it really beneficial in enhancing the relationship and interaction with users? Users no longer need to tune guitars own their own, with robots doing the job. How will this affect the guitarists of the future? Future generations may even lose the knowledge of tuning a guitar, which is a fundamental skill in guitar playing. With machines taking over processes, humans will be relying more on technology in the future.

Image 2: Continuum fingerboard by Haken Audio

Image retrieved from: http://www.cerlsoundgroup.org/ Continuum/index.html

This is a midi performance controller for real time musical control (Haken Audio, n.d.), it allows greater continuous control compared to traditional keyboards. It has a feature where it allows users to use ‘just tuning for rounded finger positions’ function to have notes rounded to a certain music scale no matter how far the fingers hit the board. This therefore allows users to not hit the wrong key/note even when fingers are not in correct positions. This round rate controller technology applied in this instrument useful in many ways, especially for consumers who are not familiar with technical skills on the keyboard but at the same time, hoping they could come up with a decent piece of music. Will this technology be applied on most electronic keyboards and synthesizers in the future? If this really does happen, the art of keyboard playing will be gone with technology making up for lack of skills and techniques.

4. DIFFERENCE IN PLAYING EXPERIENCE BETWEEN TRADITIONAL AND ‘NEW’ INSTRUMENTS 4.1 Main characteristics and differences 4.1.1 Sensitivity The sensitivity of an instrument is being referred to as the amount of response (in terms of sound) received from an instrument. Many


of the mid level electronic instruments do not have the sensitivity equal to those acoustic ones. For example, “At the cheaper end of the electronic kit spectrum, playing experience is not going to be much like that of an acoustic kit” (Rhythm, 2008, Para. 3). This is one of the examples which show that most affordable electronic instruments catered to the general market do not have the same response as acoustic instruments. For electronic drum kits, rubber pads are used as trigger modules in the lower entry models, compared to mesh heads for the higher end models, which gives a more authentic feel while playing. The same for electronic keyboards, cheaper models do not come with weighted keys, which provide an experience much more similar to the modern piano. 4.1.2 Tactile VS visual feedback ‘Tactile feedback is feedback generated through the sensation of touch’, (Wanderly, Marshall, 2005, para. 1). This is one of the terms used frequently in product design, for example when designing for elderly, who rely a lot on their sense of touch. Therefore, touch screens and controls do not really work for them, as they need the “sensation of texture or vibration” (Wanderly and Marshall, 2005, para. 1) to handle a certain task/product. The same tactile feedback is found in almost all acoustic instruments since vibration or slight shock is produced in the resonating body of instruments along with sound waves. For example, there is a slight amount of shock absorbed in the hand when one strikes a drum with a stick this resistance felt after each hit somehow enhances the playing experience of the user. For most electronic instruments, designers or engineers somehow focuses more on the visual feedback, this may be due to the lack or absence of technology in providing the exact same response as their acoustic counterparts. There are many such designs in the market, both existing and conceptual, for example, the TENORI – ON by media artist

Toshio Iwai and Yamaha Company. This digital musical instruments has an interface with light emitting bulbs which ‘emit lights that emulates intuitively the related sound’ (Yamaha design site, n.d.) played by the user, as shown in image three. Image 3: TENORI – ON

Image retrieved from: http://www.krunker. com/2007/12/15/a-look-at-the-yamaha-tenori-on/

4.1.3 Playing methods Playing method differs for both types of instruments; this is due to the different characteristics of each type. As explained earlier, technologies are implemented in a way such that it requires less effort or skills to deliver a music piece. This therefore allows a bigger consumer market to use these instruments with greater ease, lesser technical skills and sense of musicality. 4.2 Effects on the consumer market These technologies definitely made life easier for many of us, but will experienced musicians really want or need these technologies? These extra features may cause musicians to feel inferior about having that ‘aid’ from robots to help them in ensuring a better performance. So even though more of these ‘new’ instruments are catered to a bigger market, the musicians who will use it become lesser. Traditionally, there must be a balance in technique and expression to create a musical performance (Hoadley, 2000), but these new technologies are disrupting this balance by bringing down the level of technical skills needed.


5. HIGH COST 5.1 Comparisons and explanations Many of the new high technology gadgets in the market are priced higher than normal ones and it’s the same for musical instruments. Those with more functions and include higher or recent technologies often cost much higher, the dark fire electric guitar by Gibson again for example. It costs around two thousand more than a Gibson Les Paul standard, which is similar except for the robotic technology. The difference in cost is most likely due the guitar brain along with the many other functions. This guitar is also able to generate different sound/tones which can resemble almost any other guitars in the market, in the past this was not possible and musicians had to prepare several guitars for different situations. It is therefore being described as versatile since it can be used in any genres of music, which also explains the high cost. 5.2 Why consumers are not willing to pay more for technology they will not use Taking the robotic guitar again for example, there are many functions involved in the technology that not all users will use it to its full potential. This is often due to its confusing operating systems, for example the multi control knob function which is used to control and customize playing options (Curwen, 2009). It is amazing how everything can be done by turning just a single knob but at the same time it also confuses users. This is why consumers often decide carefully before purchasing high technology instruments, they are unsure of how it works and often are not willing to pay more for things they know they will not be using.

6. FURTHER EXAMPLES Thomas Lang worked with Meinl cymbals to create a series of contemporary crash cym-

bals which provides modern sounds that resemble artificially engineered cymbal samples. Jojo Mayer insists on playing live on an acoustic kit but to create electronic and experimental music, which can also be referred as ‘drum n bass’. It is described as “reverse engineering the textures and rhythms of the current stream of computer generated music into a live performed, improvisational format” (Castiglioni, n.d.). This two examples therefore shows how drummers prefer to play ‘live’ on an acoustic set even though they are playing electronic music which requires computer generated sounds. They would rather have real instruments which imitate these sounds and use them in live performances. 7. CONCLUSION Technology has been playing an important role in the development of musical instruments and it will continue to influence the music scene in the future. It will become essential for musical performance but it should not lessen the amount of technical skills or musical sense from the performer. Instead it should aid musicians by allowing them to have more freedom in expression and creativity. There should be further changes and improvements in technology applied in musical instruments to allow users in embracing it and use it to their advantage.


Jamo PORTABLE WIRELES S INTERNET AUDIO INTERFACE

If people all over the world could come together and communicate through music, exchange of musical cultures could take place just anywhere. Jamo aims to bring that kind of connection to musicians all over the world by allowing them to ‘jam’ with anyone in different locations through a social network platform. This project was my final year project in my three years of study in Temasek Design School. I wanted to do something I was very interested in, which is music technology. But this project was a little different from music technology, instead, it is using technology to create a platform which will improve the experience of playing music (jamming), to bring musicians around the world closer together, creating a denser network.

The design of the interface is just a rough representation of how it will look like when in use.


It is tough for musicians around the world or even those staying within the same area to meet up for jam sessions. Most of the time when it happens, they are not able to get the most out of the experience because they are limited to a place with certain equipments or instruments. This factor discourages musicians friends to maintain that special relationship they have in communicating through music. The simple enjoyment of being able to exchange and interact through playing music together is lost, instead jam sessions only happen when musicians are required to practice together for a certain gig or event.

The aim is to allow musicians from all over the world to communicate with each other through music: 1. In comfort of their own homes, musicians are able to jam with anyone around the globe. 2. People have access to online jams and are able to make friends and share ideas. They also have access to the library of recordings. This forms a huge social network of musicians. 3. Long distance online virtual music lessons can be held from anywhere with students from all over the world


PERSONAS

“Jamming is about creativity and improvisational learning, reacting to changes and challenges from different musicians.” JAMES, 21,national service/ part time performer “Jamming is about interacting with other musicians, going out of the classroom environment and learn through feedback and experience.” JUDAH, 22, songwriter at Universal Music/ part time at Starbucks/ part time performer “Jamming is about exploring possibilities with people who share a common understanding in music and its different interpretations.” SHAUN, 22, studying music in Melbourne, Australia/ part time music educator/ part time performer

CREATION

RECORDING

INTERACTION

JAMMING

CONNECTION

NETWORKING

From the primary research conducted and the meaning of a ‘jam’ to each of the different persona , I came up with the conclusion of what a jam session consists, which is creation, interaction and connection. Creation is the act of creating music and composition. Interaction is the way different musicians come together and create music through feedback and exchange. Connection is the relationship between different musicians, a common langauge they share and are proficient with. I then translated these 3 elements of a jam into something tangible as functions or modes to provide for a jam experience, which is the recording, jamming and networking. Recording (for creation) allows musicians to store their ideas and creations. Jamming (for interaction) allows musicians from all over the world to jam together through the internet. Networking (for connection) allows musicians to create a much denser network among themselves, not only knowing each other but that they have experienced jamming together through Jamo which creates more meaningful social networks.


I explored with the different methods to create an online jamming experience. Shown on the left are some exploration sketches on a few components: webcam, speaker and projector, how they can come together to create a system for a jam session. I then moved on to exploring how these compents could be docked onto a main body which houses most of the main technology and hardware. Finally I tried to bring everything down to just two compents, one housing the hardware controls, the other for the software interface. Portability was a huge factor for this decision.


CONCEPT : A Wireless Portable Internet Audio Interface that combines both related hardware and software that allows musicians to ‘Jam’ (play in sync in musical context) anywhere with anyone in different locations. It aims to bring musicians together by providing them with a common platform through a social network. RECORDING MODE - Individual musicians or bands are able to store (record) their creations/ideas anywhere on the go. They are also able to do simple editing of multiple recorded tracks using the software interface. JAMMING MODE - Musicians from different locations/countries are able to jam together virtually in real time through this wireless internet audio interface with anyone from anywhere. NETWORKING MODE - Create your own network of musicians through your jam experiences with different people. Uploads/stream your jam experiences, browse through profile pages and worldwide jams, make friends and store their contact/info in Jamo.


GRID INTERFACE - Software interface for navigation through different modes/ functions. Display visuals of multiple tracks when recording or (video) of friends when jamming ‘live’. CONTROL STRIPS - Hardware controls for instrument input. Displaying the levels of other musiciansin jam session. Controls for volume/ levels by sliding across individual control strips.

GRID INTERFACE

CONTROL STRIPS

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS : USB port x4 1/4 inchInstrument Input Headphones socket x2 Mic in socket x2


Ecolamp SOLAR POWERED LAMP

A eco-friendly lamp that runs only on solar power, charging up in the day and functioning as a desk lamp when dark. This project was done with a partner who also does Industrial Design, for a competition in Taiwan. We researched on the existing and upcoming technologies and applied it into this design, which is to create a smart and efficient lamp.

Inspired by how a plant work, ecolamp is a stand-alone solar powered smart lamp that has features which resembles a plant.

Like how plants already exists in most workspaces, a similar approach is adopted in designing this lamp for a workspace, which is to introduce an already familiar form.

The design explores sustainability beyond wise selection of material and manufacturing processes, looking into how products could have qualities that enable them to be self sustainable

The design intends to give the quiet lamp a voice which relate to its user’s empathy, making sustainability an intentional and yet enjoyable act, akin to shaping and caring for one’s prized bonsai.


EMOTION Leaves of the lamp changes its form at different energy levels, the different ‘emotions’ displayed by ecolamp will communicate to the user its energy level status, notifying user to charge it under light when necessary. The leaves can also be adjusted according, allowing users to shine on areas where light is needed on the workspace.

SENSORS The light level sensors modulate the LED power based on ambient light level. For example, if the surrounding environment is bright, the LED will lower its light intensity so as to save electricity, therefore making it smart and efficient. The infrared sensors sense the presence of humans and automatically turn itself on when someone is positioned in front of it.

CONTROLS (left) Switch off ecolamp by turning it away, facing another direction. (middle) Switch on ecolamp (automatically) by positioning oneself in front of it (right) To leave it switched on even when away, place any object in the base ring.


MATERIALS & TECHNOLOGY 1. Photovoltaic material (solar cells) - a lightweight and thin film photovoltaic material coated onto flexible plastic 2. Housing/ Bio Metal Fiber - The bio metal is soft and pliable like a nylon thread under normal conditions, but becomes stiff like a piano wire when current is being fed through. This therefore allows the leaves to take different forms accordingly to different situations. 3. Micro Energy Cell (MEC) - exible, rechargeable micro-energy storage that is used to hold the energy till it is used for LED lighting. 4. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) - The LED also acts as light level sensors to detect ambient light and modulate its intensity accordingly 5. Housing/ Bio Metal Fiber

WHY IS ECOLAMP ‘GREEN’? Having photovoltaic cells on its outer surface, this stand-alone solar powered lamp make use of current smart technologies to provide lighting solutions in a most efficient way. The in-built sensors and smart technologies not only work together to convey its condition and maintain itself, but also educates through relating to people emotionally, on how and why they should take care of the environment.


Tree FURNITURE

A sustainable furniture designed for small living spaces, inspired by how the simplest of forms can come together to provide a timeless solution. This project was done individually for FDA, a furniture design competition. The theme was Love, Think, Design Green, challenging designers to come up with innovative sustainable solutions, based on our own interpretation of ‘green’ design. I wanted to do a design that goes beyond exploring new ways of innovating materials or processes, which is to design a furniture that caters to the needs of people, especially in the current context of shrinking living spaces.


Based on the observation of the human desire to change the interior of their living spaces from time to time, due to changes in lifestyle and living habits, or simply to cater for different occasions. Tree provides three different possible furniture solutions, a coat hanger table, coffee table and a bar table. These three furniture does not need to exist together individually, especially when space is an issue. Yet each of them serves their purpose in different situations, therefore this design is able to cater to these different needs. Users will no longer need to buy different furniture for these different functional needs. This also results in a versatile furniture that can be used for a longer period of time through having different related functions. Furthermore, it consists of basic shapes using minimal materials and can be easily stored or transported. The ease of setting up and changing forms allows users to constantly use it to create different living spaces, increasing the value of the furniture and product life.


ASTAR Institute for Infocomm Research WORK EXPERIENCE

The Institute for Infocomm Research is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) family. I²R performs R&D in information, communications and media (ICM) technologies to develop holistic solutions across the ICM value chain. Its research capabilities are in information technology, wireless and optical communication networks, interactive and digital media, signal processing and computing. I²R seeks to be the infocomm and media value creator that keeps Singapore ahead. I was hired as a temporary designer for five months in the Computer Graphics Interface Department and worked under a Design Researcher who studied Industrial Design. During this five months, I was involved in several projects, ranging from medical products to interface design,. I was exposed to many different people from other disciplines, most of them were programmers, mechanical engineers and researchers. I had the opportunity to work with these people and learn how to apply and communicate my knowledge in design in different situations. The next few works shown here are those I have done during my five month stay in this company, under the guidance of my supervisor.


Digital Menu for Pizza Hut MENU INTERFACE

A menu for dine in ordering in digital form, For the ordering of dishes, it features a table illustration instead of the ordinary ordering tab, this is to allow diners to visualise how much food they are ordering when they are in big groups. This digital menu is meant for display on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. I was tasked to design this and come up with a concept draft before handing it over to programmers to implement into a working prototype. The idea was to keep to Pizza Hut’s existing design language used in their websites (printscreens shown on the right), also to make use of the possibilities that is only available for digital forms. All artwork were done using Adobe Illustrator and some edited in Photoshop. I was not involved in the programming for this interface but in communicating with the programmers to come up with the desired result.


A scenario depicting the ordering of pizzas using the digital menu. Everything can be done easily using simple gestures, for example; drag and drop for selecting dishes and toppings, swiping left or right to navigate through the different steps of ordering, swiping up and down to move through different dishes and pinching of thumb and index finger to increase serving size.


Kitchen Meal Planner INTERFACE DESIGN

A kitchen meal planner interface done for a multitouch surface that is to be built into a kitchen countertop surface. The aim is to provide an efficient method of preparing meals for the family, through having this device which is able to sort out the ingredients in the kitchen and generate suitable recipes. The main concept is to allow the user to visualise the recipes they have chosen on a table top, by having illustrations of each dish appear on the surface. Users can also customise serving quantity or replace certain ingredients of recipes from this meal planner. For this project, the company wanted to explore multitouch technology, incorporating it into the kitchen of STARhome (http://www. starhome.sg), which is an intelligent home environment built to showcase technologies and future living concepts. We went through a series of brainstorming and discussion before coming up with this concept. I was then tasked design a user interface for this idea, under the guidance of my supervisor, where we too made further refinements along the way. We worked with around ten others, of which consists programmers, researchers and engineers. This concept is still going through a series of user testing and further improvements. The engineers and programmers are also in the process of making a fully functional prototype. The illustrations were mainly done in Adobe Illustrator, with a little editing done using Photoshop.


INGREDIENTS MANAGER (top) - When this application is launched, the ingredient manager automatically appears, showing the list of ingredients present in the kitchen. This is made possible with the use of RFID technology which is present in the kitchen cabinets and fridge. These ingredients are displayed in order of expiry dates with those expired shown on the far left. By clicking on individual ingredients, further details like its location and exact expiry date will be shown. This helps the user to keep track of what he or she has in the kitchen, it also makes sure that there is minimal wastage of food by providing the user with constant updates.


RECIPE GENERATOR (bottom) - After seeing the list of ingredients in the kitchen, the next page will be the recipe generator. On the left hand corner, users can select recipes based on dish type and this application will smartly generate recipes which makes use of the expiring ingredients or those that already exists in the kitchen. The ingredients are still being shown at the bottom according to expiry date and those highlighted means that it is used in a certain selected recipe at that point of time. By clicking on a certain recipe, its details will slide down from both sides showing the ingredients needed and cooking steps. The user can then select recipes by dragging it to the right column.


MEAL PLANNER (top) - The last step would be planning the meal after the recipes are being selected. These recipes will now show on the left column and illustrations of the selected recipes on the main area of the interface, depicting a table surface. The plates are also designed to be showing at real size when it is being shown on the kitchen countertop. This is to allow users to better visualise the amount of serving the family will need and therefore better decide on the right amount of food needed. On this page, users can zoom into individual dishes and adjust the quantity or view recipe details. During the actual preparation of food, they can leave dishes in their ‘zoomed


After finally deciding on the dishes and servings of a meal, users can then proceed to shopping for the ingredients they need (if it requires). This application will generate a list of ingredients that is needed and not available in the kitchen, the list can also be saved onto the user’s smart phone.


Medmate MEDICINE DISPENSER

A medicine dispenser that makes taking different pills regularly a much easier task through keeping track of different pill information and dispensing them accordingly. There is also a website that families, doctors or users can access to check on the patient’s condition. It shows a online medication log book that is constantly updated and also medication info of the pills each users are taking. This project has already been going through different design stages before I was involved in it. They already had a prototype site and dispenser but wanted to further improve it. I was first tasked to come up with a friendlier look for the website. And when the engineering team had figured out a way to make the internal components work, I was then tasked to design a casing for this dispenser. I did not want to approach this as a styling project, I wanted the form to not just fit the internal components but also to make sense both aesthetically and functionally. It should have a language similar to the website and should not look only like a medical product but instead a mixture of both medical and domestic, since it will be for home use. Under the guidance of my supervisor, I tried working backwards with what the engineers had provided me with (a detailed drawing of the internal components), we took the natural form of the machine and were not afraid to move away from conventional ideas of a medical product.


This were the components that the engineers had built and sent for fabrication. I was tasked to design a pill dispenser to house these components (excluding the outer structure which was just there to support the components temporarily). Some of the placement of these components were changed later on during further discussions and improvements. They consist of: - BEAMS which support the components temporarily. - ROTATING WHEEL which stores the different pills and dispense accordingly during different time periods. The top compartment is for the user to feed the pills. - MOTOR which turns the wheel - SCANNER to scan medicine info when feeding the machine with new pills. - DISPENSING TUBE


I rendered thumbnails of the internal components in many different perspectives, then sketch over these thumbnails to explore form possibilities. The shape of the wheel and motor appeared quite intimidating at first but we decided to embrace it instead, to make use of it in becoming the main design feature of medmate. It eventually developed into a face-like expression.


In the process of exploring forms through sketches, I did a few foam prototype as well to further study the form in 3D. The first two that were made were in the scale of 1:2 and the last one is made in the actual size.

FOAM PROTOTYPE 1- This was done when I was somehow satisfied after a few sketches. But after it was built, my supervisor and I realised that the form still needed further refinements as it looks unbalanced/ unstable. For this version, I experimented with a second base for increased stability but it still did not achieve the desired shape.


FOAM PROTOTYPE 2 - This time we blended the two parts of the front plate into a smooth curved surface. We also extended the surface area of the base to increase its stability, yet not sacrificing its form; the idea of it looking like it is leaning forward towards the user, allowing it to look friendly and approachable. This curve made it look much better than the first one.


FOAM PROTOTYPE 3 - The final one was done in full scale, which was an improvement of the second form. This time we rounded the sides of the base. This form looks pleasing and friendly despite its large dimensions, (due to the internal components) which was our original intention when we were told of the dimensions.


I also visualised these different basic forms using CAD models, exploring little changes in the radius and curves to create forms of different emotions. This was after exploring with foam models and some minor adjustments were made again in this process. I was tasked to experiment with quite a few variations through computer renderings. They were then shown to my supervisor and a few of the other engineers, we all took part in deciding on one suitable form. It was this period of time where I managed to understand more about the details of form in design.


With the changes made in the form, the little functional details should also work well with this new idea. Since it looks like a creature with a face, the indicating lights and controls were all made to fit into medmate’s ‘expression’. Placement of the scanner and pill dispensing area also had to shift accordingly as we try to make them as unobstrusive as possible.

The original idea for the indicating light was to have an LED that changes colour according to the different modes of medmate, for example, when despensing or in sleep mode it would have different colour indication. We improved on this using a few more LEDS situated on both sides of the front plate, almost like communicating its status through its ‘eyes’. Here are some explorations of these faces.

Quick renders of how the internal components fits into the exterior, these drawings were used to communicate more effectively with the engineers. The Solidworks drawings were to aid them in the prototyping stage.


This was the suggestion of how the original information panel can be designed into the new body, similar to those devices with indicating lights or controls projecting from under a surface.

The project was left at this stage as the rest of the team continued working on prototyping the casing and few of the other technical components, to bring this design to reality.


Works 2012  

Compilation of works after graduating with a Diploma in Product and Industrial Design

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