I just attended one of the summer school workshops at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) and had an amazing experience! The workshop was “Design for Connected Devices”, and it was taught by the folks at the interaction and product design studio: FROLIC studio. In this post I’ll share some of thing I’ve learned through this course.
Although internet of things (IoT) has been the hot topic for the tech industry for a while, a lot more potential are still yet to be explored. Different from smartphones or smart watches, the connected devices designed in the summer program are “enchanted objects” that are connected to smartphones, and serves a single purpose, instead of trying to solve everything for everyone.
Rapid physical prototyping
With the magic of the Little Bits, we created our first physical prototype within an hour and demoed it to the class at the end of the first day of the workshop.
Rapid physical prototyping allows us to get quick feedback on whether the product would be feasible with the existing tools, and if people would find the product interesting and useful.
3D printing and laser cutting
A major difference between designing for the screen and designing physical devices is that you’ll need some industrial design skills to create physical prototypes in the later case. With 3D printing and laser cutting technology becoming more accessible, now people can design their own products with 3D modelling software such as Rhino 3D, or Blender, and print these products out using popular 3D printers such as MakerBot.
Laser cutting is another useful technique to engrave smooth surfaces or cutting a plastic or paper board to a specific shape. With some basic materials and creativity, most simple devices can be easily prototyped within a day or two with surprising high fidelity.
We used Proto.io to prototyped the mobile app experience to support the device. Proto.io is a very convinient and handy tool to create high fidelity interactive prototypes that you can see and use on mobile devices. It has a free account version that allows you to create one project for unlimited time. Feel free to check it out!
Communicating design through video prototyping
The most efficient way to communicate experience design is through a demo video which explains the use of the product and how people interacts with it. We demonstrated the entire user journey with the device with a video that explain the different stages of device use. You can find the demo video here: