Next Generation Product Development Tools, Part 5

As the previous two entries were very much about the meatspace side of the equation and there was basically no discussion regarding the digital in “digital direct manufacturing”, I want to address that now. In addition, I want to expand from the relatively limited idea of “manufacturing” (which has certain connotations) to the broader idea of creating for the physical world; from artificial hearts to architectural wonders, from accessories to aircraft.

Rather than talk about the digital component that unites all these endeavors, I’ll rely on videos to show some of the different ways digital information is integrated into various development processes.
Continue reading

Next Generation Product Development Tools, Part 4

Originally, in my prior post, I’d included the disclaimer that while using molds might be an old solution, the ability to do it well is both an art and a science. It’s no easy thing to properly balance all the different factors that go into molding quality plastic parts. But the same can be said for casting swords. So while I respect those who can do it, I don’t feel beholden to them or the process.

So without reservation, in this post I want to discuss where I believe manufacturing is headed.

NGM: Next Generation Manufacturing

Not many people outside manufacturing circles are aware of what’s called “Next Generation Manufacturing”. It’s not a new term. In fact, it’s been around for some time. Here’s what the U.S. National Science Foundation has to say about it (Link): Continue reading

Next Generation Product Development Tools, Part 3

At this stage I just wanted to post a reminder of just how amazingly basic much of today’s manufacturing technology really is. To that end I surfed around for some visual media to help illustrate my point.

Where Fabrication Has Been And Where It Still Is

The above video does a decent job providing an overview of the injection mold-based manufacturing process currently used in China (reinforced by this short piece on Design News – Link) and is pretty much the standard solution for fabricating a substantial amount of product worldwide.
Continue reading

Next Generation Product Development Tools, Part 2

Hopefully the augmented reality video in my previous post (reLink) provided some sense of the potential for integrating tangible with intangible to facilitate product development. It goes without saying that the 3D models being used were of relatively low fidelity, but it shouldn’t require any effort for creative individuals to see the potential, especially with news out of the University of Washington of contact lenses which potentially will allow visual, virtual overlays (reLink). Continue reading

Next Generation Product Development Tools, Part 1

In a previous entry I called out the lack of predictions (and thus, by default, discussion) for the future of the Industrial Design profession. For what it’s worth, that entry was the most recent of a few that have been sitting idle in the cue. And this one… or rather what remains of it… was perhaps the oldest, going back to when I saw something pretty interesting inside Second Life some months back; prior to my post regarding the fashion industry (reLink).
Continue reading