Electronic Product Design

Hawkshead Designs' Blog

News and views from Hawkshead Designs.

Team

Following on from last week, we look into innovation creation, its environment and its presentation.

Imagination

Innovation is a creative process and requires imagination. We all have degrees of imagination and this is particularly true of children. In adult life, we may be coerced into a life of boundaries and expectations where the requirement for imagination is limited. As a result, like an unused muscle, it becomes weak.

A child's view of the world has far fewer boundaries and many possibilities exist. The surrounding adults “allow” children to express their unreasoned views because they are children after all. As we grow up the expectation is for more reasoned opinions. We are also required to observe various boundaries.

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Steam Engine

Some bright sparks

We are taking a walk on the wild side over the next 3 weeks. There's no need for a back pack but we will be covering a different form of ground. In essence we are looking at how innovation is formed and utilised. Most important of all the steps is the successful conclusion.

Definitive start

Wikipedia's definition of innovation is enlightened and informative: “Innovation is the creation of better or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society.” Design on the other hand is much harder to define. In a rational model of design it a plan driven process to optimise the eventual construction according to the objectives and constraints.

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Steam Engine

Complex motor control options

This week we have a challenge. We are charged with what might appear to be a simple task. In the process, we will come across a few “issues”. The aim of the exercise is to see into the world of design and the kind of processes that go on behind the scenes.

The scene

The enquiry is for an advanced model railway controller. You may remember the train sets of old where the train speed was controlled with a rotary control. It was a crude device in technical terms. The trains would run pretty much as desired until/unless they hiccuped on points or similar disruptions in the circuit. The circuit is a powered from the controller, through the track to the motor inside an engine that has conductive wheels/pick ups.

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large old book

Tooling more than tools

The BBC has recently looked at the Apple i-phone in the light of voided warranty claims. In the process the programme arranged to have one opened up – very much a job for the specialists. In fact there are “strip down” videos on Youtube which take such devices and disassemble them into their core structures.

Even at this level they are not taken down to the component parts. This is due to the (almost) permanent bonding of components to the circuit board. The smallest of these necessary parts measures 0.2 x 0.1mm. To put that in perspective, ground black pepper is of similar scale provided that it is not too coarse!

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large old book

Pointers to deal with reality

Thoughts from abroad

The British are generally considered to be an inventive group and this does have some historic foundation. In electronics we deal with electrons that move as a current measured in Amps due to a potential difference measured in Volts. All terribly British sounding until you realise that the terms derive from abroad in the form of André-Marie Ampère (French physicist and mathematician) and Alessandro Volta (Italian physicist). Mr Volta is also the inventor of the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.

We hear about the world shrinking due to our connectivity through the internet. We may have friends or family overseas. It still appears to be a surprise to some that international dealings are not only commonplace but almost essential. One of the most direct thoughts about your intended invention needs to consider the matter in global terms. Can your product be used in Africa? Would India be another candidate?

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Hawkshead Designs Ltd
Unit 4 Penrose House
Treleigh Industrial Estate
Redruth
TR16 4DE
UK

T: 01209 216 878

E: info@hawksheaddesigns.co.uk

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