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Matthew Howdershell Portfolio

The Anywhere Lamp

The Idea

Create a modular lighting system, based on the Eames’s design philosophy, where the user can detach different sections of the light and move them around; thus one light becomes many.


Initial exploration sketches. Some ideas include a modular lamp constructed of pipes, lamp made of flexible tubes, and a mesh lamp. None of these worked.

Triangles as a form language. Used straws and tape to mock up different triangle combinations, eventually settling on the tripoint “petal� shape.

Sketches and mock ups examining the stand, how the light sits on the stand, and the functionality of the light.

Features Each individual lamp contains a LED and a rechargeable battery. If the user wants light in a different area of the space, they can slide the petal off of the charging arm and carry it to the location where light is needed. It is turned on and off through capacitive touch.

The arms on the stand act as power ports, powering and charging the petals when on the stand. When a petal is taken off, LEDs in the arms illuminate which allows the base to continue to act as a floor lamp when all the petals are gone.

Material Options Injection molded ABS connectors

Frosted glass shell

Extruded Aluminum

Rose Gold

Brass Mesh

White ABS

Carbon Fiber

Transparent Acrylic

Extruded brass

Carbon fiber support rods

Alite Visual Brand Language

What Makes Up Alite’s Brand? Strong Colors

Gear for Casual Camping

Outdoor Furniture

Goal My goal for this was to study the brand Alite and create 3 new products that would fit into their brand. Alite’s mission is to create products for people who are new to the great outdoors but would like to experience it; whether that is through camping, going to your local park, or attending a music festival. They position their products so that they can be used on an extended camping trip or on a day trip out in the city.

Alite Mayfly Couch

Ideation One facet of Alite is that they sell products to encourage people to share outdoor experiences together - such as their sleeping bags and tents which connect to each other. It seemed that a natural extension of this would be a chair that seated two people - a love seat for outdoors. I drew from the design language of their Mayfly chair and extended the length of the chair to fit two people. Just like their other chairs, the couch had to be easy to assemble and break down. Also it needed to be light weight enough so that people could take it with them; whether they took it on camping trips, to the park, to music festivals, etc...

Ease of Use 1.

Take fabric off aluminum structure



Remove front supports from rest of frame.

Pull supports apart and fold them up.



Separate back poles from rest of structure.


Pull middle supports apart and fold up.


Pull support rods apart and fold up.

Place polls on top of chair, roll up, and place into bag


Carry off to your destination!

Alite Camera Backpack

Ideation When researching Alite I saw that they didn’t have any camera bags. The thought process behind creating a camera bag was when people go hiking they often bring a camera to take pictures of their experience. I wanted to create a bag that wasn’t solely a camera bag but could also serve as a day pack where you could store food, a light coat, laptop, as well as your DSLR. I also wanted it to not look like a typical camera bag but looked like just another regular backpack. That way whether you were traveling, hiking, or sightseeing you could take your DSLR along without having to worry about it rolling around in a regular backpack but still be able to carry some other supplies with you.


The camera compartment has Velcro dividers so you can easily customize the compartment to fit your needs.

The backpack has 3 different compartments. One for your camera and accessories; one for a computer; and one for personal items. You can also strap a tripod onto the outside hooks.

Alite Portable Hammock

Ideation I wanted to create a hammock that you could take anywhere and would have a system that could support itself. This idea was that the user could take this hammock to a park and not have to worry about finding two trees to hang it between. The main problem with creating a self supporting portable hammock was that the structure had to be light weight enough to be able to carry around, yet strong enough to support the weight of a human. In these sketches I was exploring support structures and the way that the hammock and supports would be tied together.

Parts and Materials

Heat Sealable Coated 70 Denier Nylon Taffeta provides a lightweight, waterproof, strong and durable shell for the user. This material is low maintenance and incredibly lightweight. Yellow outer stitching provides visual contrast to the blue fabric and connectors.

The top piece of the hammock support structure is injection molded, in two separate halves, ABS which is ultrasonically welded together. The aluminum support rods are inserted into the bottom when the user wants to assemble the hammock. The rear tension wire is clipped onto the top with a carabiner. The user can then clip the carabiner on the end of the hammock to the support structure.

The support rods are manufactured using extruded aluminum and swaged at one end. The swaging allows the rods to be friction fitted together. There is a hole at one end to allow the tension wire support piece to click into the rod and be held in place.

Four of the aluminum extruded tubes have a rubber end cap inserted into them. This protects the edges of aluminum and gives the support structure some type of grip against the ground.

The tension wire support piece is an injection molded ABS part that slides onto the aluminum support rods. The parts will come tied to each other with a nylon rope. This serves as a tension wire so that when a person sits in the hammock the aluminum rods won’t slide apart.

LCW 1/4 Scale Model






Glue layers of MDF together for the molds.

Create and print out dimensioned orthographic drawings.

Cut MDF into different sizes depending on the piece being molded. Then dremmel out molds.

Measure and cut out veneers.





Glue veneers together.

Place veneers in the mold, clamp, and leave overnight.

Take pieces out of the molds and finish the edges of each part.

Epoxy pieces together to create the model.

Holographic language learning toy Collaborative Research project with UX designers

Our Goal: To create a toy designed for children ages 6-8 that teaches a second language primarily through verbal communication.

Inspiration Augmented reality and Tamagotchi For our toy, we were initially inspired by augmented reality games. We liked how the games kept you engaged not only with learning but also with the world around you. We also liked how these games were different than just another iPad app. Also, we hadn’t seen any augmented reality language learning games on the market. Another area of inspiration came from tamagotchi, a 90s digital pet toy. What we liked about tamagotchi was it involved interactivity that wasn’t solely confined to a screen. We also appreciated that tamagotchi taught children how to take care of something and that there was a physical level of interaction between the user and the toy.

Research, Round 1





Screen Time


Parents told us that the most important quality when picking out a toy for their child was that the toy was educational. They also told us that they were most interested in having their child learn Chinese or Spanish.

The second most important quality when picking out a toy for their child was that the toy be entertaining. They said that if the toy wasn’t entertaining the child wouldn’t play with it and they would have wasted their money.

In interviews, parents said that they often limit the amount of time their children are allowed to use screens at home. Though, they did say that if the toy was educational they would probably allow the child to play with the toy longer.

What we heard from kids is that they want a game that has a character that they can interact with. In addition, they told us that they want to be able to customize the character to their own liking.

“Entertainment is more important than price.” “I want my daughter to learn Chinese or Spanish!”

“I want to be able to dress up my character!” “My son is limited to two hours of screen time a day.”

Initial Ideation and Feedback

We didn’t want to create just another app, especially because parents told us they were hesitant to let their children borrow their iPhone or iPad. We wanted a shape that kids would like, but would also be ergonomic. Kids are also rough with their things, so the device had to be durable. The feedback we received from these first mock-ups asked us why it needed buttons and that our toy was like a blast from the past. When we heard this we knew we had to go back to the drawing board.

“Why all the buttons?”

Hola! I am hungry. Tengo hambre.

“Why can’t it just be a screen?”

“Looks too retro!”

Research, Round 2

Findings: Parents really don’t like screens and kids need less screen time. So, let’s make it holographic!

After doing a lot more research: interviews, affinity clusters, radar diagrams, bullseye clusters, concept mapping... We came to the conclusion that there are a lot of screen based language learning tools in the market. Also we kept hearing from parents over and over again that they would love for their kids to do something other than just stare at a screen. So instead of trying to make a toy with a screen feel less like a screen based toy, we decided to look towards the future and make a holographic toy.

Prototype Testing

Lev: “This should have a game mode, like play chess.”

Clara: “I want to buy this now!”

Loved the egg shape. The best part: “The hologram”

Features Character The user is able to change their character and customize them to their liking. If their friend has this toy, the two characters can interact with each other.

Cameras and Microphones Cameras and microphones in the toy allow it to sense the environment it is located in. For example, if the toy is in the kitchen, it can give a language lesson about the kitchen. It can also sense where you are looking and can interact back with you.

On/Off Button In order to turn the toy on, the user presses their finger on the green light ring. This ring also indicates charge and if the toy is on or off.

Charging Base When not in use, the toy rests on the base and recharges.

Blood Sample Courier Drone

Initial Research Current System

Sample drawn from patient.

Sample placed in pickup box.

Sample picked up by lab company.

Sample delivered to lab and processed.

Pain Points Cost



Human Error

Lab companies have to pay for drivers and vehicles for an entire area. That can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars just for the cost of getting the samples from the doctors office to the lab.

Pick up boxes offer minimal protection from tampering and theft as they often sit outside of doctors office’s; out of sight of any of the office staff. Anyone could come by and pick up the box or samples.

Sample pickup occurs only once a day, and if someone gets their blood drawn after the pickup occurs, then the sample has to sit in the box until the next day. There is no pickup on the weekend and drivers may get delayed by traffic or weather. All of this adds time to the delivery.

Drivers may accidentally leave samples behind at an office. They are also prone to getting sick,lost, etc... all of which inhibit sample pickup. Drivers also have to verify what samples they are picking up and can sometimes get this information wrong.


Concept Development We wanted to create a drone that could be loaded autonomously through a loading station. The healthcare provider would place the samples in the loading box, which would then summon a drone. The drone would then carry the samples to the lab where they would be removed out the back of the drone through a magazine. The magazine would then be replaced with an empty one allowing the drone to pick up the next batch of samples. Here we were exploring different forms for the drone.

Our System Before the drone leaves the lab, an empty magazine is loaded into the drone.




Samples are drawn from patients.


Samples are loaded into cartridges. Each cartridge can hold 5 sample.

Cartridges are loaded into the dropbox and a drone is called to pick them up.


Drone picks up samples from dropboxes and flies to the lab.

Samples are unpackaged and processed.


Drone lands at lab and magazine, holding the cartridges, is pulled out from drone.

Cartridge Once a nurse draws blood she prints out a label with the patients information on it. There is also an RFID chip within the label which contains the patients info. She then places the patient’s samples into a cartridge. Each cartridge is insulated and can hold 5 samples.

The Dropbox Once a cartridge is filled with vials, the healthcare worker goes to the dropbox and enters a pin. Then, they insert the cartridge into the dropbox and it reads the RFID tags on the vials to keep track of what samples have been dropped off. The dropbox sends a signal to the drone that samples are ready to be picked up.


Magazine The drone has a magazine which can hold 20 cartridges giving it a capacity of 100 samples of blood. When the drone lands the magazine is pulled out the back of the drone. If need be magazines can be stacked on top of each other and be sent to other labs on pallets.

Cartridge Intake Slot This drone has two cartridge intake slots. When the drone lands on the dropbox, the dropbox inserts the cartridges into the intake slots in the bottom of the drone. The drone accepts the cartridges using a conveyor belt system, which then transports them to the magazine inside the drone.

Hybrid The drone is powered by a gasoline generator, which gives it a longer range than traditional electric drones. It has a maximum flight time of 2 hours with a maximum payload of 5 lbs, allowing it to fly to multiple dropboxes around an area.

Quad-Copter There are 4 rotors, giving the drone more lifting power and endurance. The blades are made out of carbon fiber and there are LED navigational lights above and below the rotor head.

Sketches, Renderings & Explorations

Autonomous Vehicle

Introducing Uber’s new driverless vehicle service! We’ve eliminated the driver to give you more privacy and comfort while transporting you to your destination. No more creepy drivers who eavesdrop on your conversations or bother you with pointless small talk. You’ll have our new vehicle all to yourself. Next time you open the Uber App look for the uberAV option to call one of our autonomous vehicles to come pick you up.

How to Inflate a Flat Tire 1



Portfolio 2018  
Portfolio 2018