Design for America Workshop

This past class DFA (Design for America) UIUC came and did an innovative workshop with us. They explained their premise of gathering a bunch of individuals from different backgrounds and creating unique solutions for problems in the community. Together, in groups, we had focused on 1 of 4 individual problems that we had needed to create a solution for. The individual that my group had chose was Jess, a blind student at UT Austin. To begin our workshop we brainstormed different problems Jess may have in general while attending college, then looked for similar patterns in our thinking. Then filled out a mission statement of what we were going to do, ours was “To help Jess get more easily involved in social attractions” since we felt that college is such a social place, a blind person may have difficulty of not only getting around but also interacting and hanging out with her peers.

Our next task was to design a product that may help Jess in social situations, and one of the main ideas we thought of was how social media is so prevalent in our lives to be able to engage with friends and see what other social events are going on in the community. So we decided to come up with something similar to an iPad that could digitally reform its screen into a brail pattern. This would make it easier for Jess to read Facebook and see any upcoming events. It would also come with a scanner for her to scan peoples faces and understand who she is speaking with.


This concept is relative to this week’s reading, Design Thinking by Tim Brown, in the sense that design isn’t necessarily just an aesthetic idea for product innovation. Now, design is the outcome of structured ideas and solutions to problems. This is exactly what we did for Jess, we didn’t think “we’re going to build a tactical iPad” we thought “we’re going to build something that makes social engagements easier for blind people”, our product was just the outcome of our thinking. I feel that this is the whole idea that Design for America bases itself off of, not so much “what can we make today?” but “how can we fix this problem and what needs to be built to fix it?”.

This workshop with DFA really opened my eyes to the different concepts of design. Thinking it was just another term for style, I now understand that we can use design concepts to better our community and creatively fix problems we didn’t think were fixable. It gets me excited for future classes and thinking about how we can fix everyday problems we all have. Going forward, I realize now that it is 100% about the user and how we can design a product to work for them and their needs.

Week 2 | First 3D Printing Experience

This past class was my first time making something of my own with the 3D printers! I feel like a majority of people made something of actual use to them, But I just wanted to make something fun as my first print (my Shiba Inu). Basically, from this past class I learned how simple it actually is for a novice like me to be able download something off of the numerous available sites and print it within half an hour.  IMG-20160201-WA0000

While we were printing, I thought about how Dale Dougherty of The Maker Mindset claimed “Students are seeking to direct their own education lives, looking to engage in creative and stimulating experiences. Many understand the difference between the pain of education and the pleasure of real learning.” I felt that this class is what he meant, in the sense that a lot of us come from very different studies at this university and all had varying reasons for why we took this course. But a common theme was that we all wanted to explore creatively, and through this nontraditional course we can take our new-found knowledge and expand upon it in our own fields. This course allows us to explore ideas creatively, have actual hands-on experience, and really enjoy “the pleasure of real learning.”

Searching among the different printing websites, the first thing I found for everyday use is an Elephant Envelope Holder from Pinshape:

Elephant Envelope Holder 3D Printing 28937 As a student, I feel like I always have random papers, folders, and envelopes floating around. This cute holder would help me keep my documents organized. To adjust it more for my life, I would include separators in between the two ends, to even further organize between certain documents.

Another product I found on Thingiverse that would be really beneficial to my life is this GoPro Steadying Stand:

 I love using my GoPro whenever I travel, and sometimes shots or video can get ruined because of accidentally fumbling or not resting it on a steady-enough surface. To make this more suitable for my life, I think I would change it so that it was more of a tripod mount, as opposed to the two pillared sides. But if that’s how it stays steady then okay!

From Shapeways, I found this really cool instant-vase creator:

Clip on vase 3d printed Clip on IKEA Pokal glass I love displaying flowers, and this little instant vase creator would allow me to turn any household glass into a vase. Obviously I would need to adjust the diameter of the larger end to fit the glasses I already own, but I think that would be worth it instead of having to spend the money on the vase to fit the flowers.

Lastly, from Shapeways I found this really handy Finger Armor:

FingerArmor 3d printed I frequently chop up my veggies almost every night for dinner, and this would be extremely helpful! Except this picture doesn’t look like it accurately depicts how to chop vegetables. A lot of the time I only use my thumb and index finger, so I wonder if it’s possible to make one just for those fingers? Or modify the shape in which you hold different vegetables.

Week 1 – Paige Lee

I have had a very brief exposure to 3D printing, in the sense that the company I’ve interned for the past few years (Bosch) develops the Dremel brand of printers. Though, I myself, have not actually used them. Still, I was able to sit in at a lunch-and-learn with the lead project manager of Dremel and he explained to us how 3D printing is opening up new doors not only for the tech industry, but basically the entire world and how we come across solutions to problems.

With all of the opportunities available to create with 3D printers, I was a little overwhelmed with the choices. Our guest speaker even mentioned a few ideas I would’ve never had imagined. But since I’m not a future doctor nor an engineer, I think I’d like to focus on something for everyday use this semester. I thought that door stopper Vishal showed us from a previous student was genius! Simple Ideas can really make a huge impact.

Searching on Thingiverse, I realized it’s kind of difficult to try to something when you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for. So I went into the gadgets category and found some of these neat objects:

Tablet holder for the car: (for road trips or to keep kids entertained)

GoPro Anti Vibration Wire Rope Mount: (I have a GoPro and this would certainly come in handy)

From Shapeways, I found this Bicycle Bottle Fender Mount:

This class will certainly help me figure out what I am most interested in working on.