Solving Real World Problems

Trying to come up with a problem to solve was quite difficult. In addition, it was difficult to answer the “how can we…” question. Our team brainstormed a bunch of problems we face in our daily lives. We wanted to start very broad, and then narrow it down to a specific community. Since taken this class, it has really changed the way I approach a problem. I am definitely more open minded. Here are the three problems we came up with in class.

  1. How can we conserve water when doing dishes and washing our hands?
  2. How can we make smart home products less expensive?
  3. How can we stop hot air from escaping through window cracks?

Our first problem was an idea that came from a Kickstart project that claims you can save use 98% less water using the same tap. Our second part to this problem is, how can we use this product, and make it better. As of now, it seems like this “nozzle” only works with certain taps. We would like to come up with a tap that can be universal to all taps.

Most people in today’s day and age want a smart home. However, most smart home products, like light bulbs or wall switch, can be pretty expensive. In addition, most of these products require some sort of techy-ness. We want to create a product that does not require any drilling or changing the electric wiring. We want a product that you can just place over an existing light switch and make it “smart.”

For the last problem, most college students notice a huge increase in the electricity/gas bill during the winter times. This is most likely because a lot of hot air escapes through all sorts of openings, causing your heating system to be used more frequently. Currently, the only product that helps with this problem is insulation or a plastic film you put in front of your window. We thought this is great but can cause some problems. So we want to create some sort of product that can be used throughout the years and is easy to install every year.

Here’s the “drawing board” for the three problems I have just discussed.

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In last week’s class, Mark Bohmann, the Assistant Dean of the College of Media, came to talk to the class about his passion for the Maker Movement and all the side projects he uses 3D printing for. Mark displayed to the class some of his amazing work with 3D printing. The most memorable one is how he created a rack for one of his board games. Another one I really liked was how he programmed an Arduino with programmable LEDs for a board game. I don’t really remember how the game was played but the LEDs would light up if the town was being attacked (or something like that). I have actually worked with Arduinos before. I haven’t done anything crazy with them. The only thing I’ve done with Arduinos thus far is learned how to program LEDs and make them do cool little things. My long-term goal by doing this was to make a 6×6 LED cube that would do some cool animations. Here’s a video of what I wanted to accomplish. Unfortunately, I did not end up making this, as I did not have the time necessary for this project.

The Arduino website has some great guides for using the Arduino. If you plan on using an Arduino for your project and have no idea how to use one, I would highly recommend going to this link to learn more about how to use one.

In honor of the Academy Awards being today, click here for a video on how the Oscar statuettes are made. I think it’s crazy how even these statuettes require 3D printing! Check out the video, it is quite interesting!


2 thoughts on “Solving Real World Problems

  1. Hi Jorge!

    Great post! I really enjoyed how you wrote all your “how can we” statements and then gave insight on how you came up with those statements and problems. The way that you explained why those issues are issues to a given population were very detailed and I can definitely see that you emphasized with that population like in the IDEO clip rather than just coming up with a single product first. I also think it is cool that you have worked with Arduinos before and now can be a relative expert among your group if your project decides to use it. Again, wonderful post and I can’t wait to hear about what else your group will come up with!

  2. Hi Jorge,

    Thanks for the Oscar clip it is not only quite relevant to the class but today as well! Something that you brought up that really hit home was how a lot of people want something minimalistic and simple that will affect their lives in their daily lives. I realized that we as students, in this class, aren’t trying to solve a big world problem in just a semester. We’re just trying to solve a simple daily problem.

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