Science, Engineering and Design! Video 2: Engineering Design Process

[MUSIC PLAYING] In this video, we’re going to go
over an example design process. The steps that we’re
going cover include observing the world around
you, brainstorming solutions, comparing ideas, making
prototypes to test ideas, and repeating steps
all to solve a problem. Welcome to the
Product Design Lab. Now, here, MIT students will
practice product design. In product design, you
start off with a problem, and then you design a
product or a service that ends up solving that problem. Now, engineers
will learn as much as they can in order to
be effective designers. That way, they can use
what they’ve learned in order to help people. We’re going to be
going over something like a recipe that will help
teach you more about design. One good place to start
is with an observation. Now, in an observation, you
just pay close attention to the world around you, and
you look for any problems that you might be able to
solve by designing something. You pay close attention
to things at school, or while walking around outside,
or maybe even in your own home. Let’s walk through an example so
that you can learn a little bit more about how designing works. So I’ve spent some time looking
around at home, at school, and even while playing
sports thinking about different problems
that I can solve, and I’ve encountered
many problems. Let me tell you about
the one that I want to try to tackle right now. So my favorite
sport is volleyball. And when you’re by yourself,
it’s pretty difficult to practice your skills alone. So I wish that
there was something that could help you
practice when you don’t have anybody else around. Now that we have a
problem to solve, let’s start brainstorming
different solutions to that problem. Brainstorming is an
incredibly important step in the engineering
design process. If you can think of multiple
ways to solve a problem, then you have a good chance of
finding a really good solution. So let’s get to it. [MUSIC PLAYING] I’ve brainstormed many
solutions to this problem, including services
that help you find other people to practice
with and find a coach to help you practice. But I’ve also
explored devices that will launch a volleyball
you can then practice with. Three interesting
ideas I came up with include a kicking
device to launch a ball, a slingshot device, and
a pitching machine volleyball launcher. Now that I’ve picked an idea
that I want to explore further, the next thing an
engineer will typically do is make quick
prototypes to figure out more details about
their solution. Quick prototypes are useful
because they don’t invest a lot of time or
money, and they keep things flexible so that you
can explore other solutions as well. What I have here
is a prototype made of cardboard that’s
going to help me explore the kickball
volleyball launcher solution. So it’s basically just
a cardboard structure with a hammer that’s going
to act as the kicking force for launching the
ball up into the air. So after you’ve
made your models, the next important step
is to test them out. That way, you can figure
out a little bit more about where your
project should go. Some important questions that
you hope your model will answer are things like, does
my idea even work? Do I need to talk
to users some more? Is it worthwhile to make a
more refined, more expensive, and more time-consuming
prototype? Those are the kind
of things that you hope a good model will answer. So to test this one
out, I’ve gotten into a room that’s got a little
bit higher ceilings so we can see what this thing can do. Here we go. [MUSIC PLAYING] So even though that
was a lot of fun, we actually learned a
lot from this prototype, even though it wasn’t
that expensive or durable. One thing that I
notice is that it’s kind of difficult
to get the hammer to impart some
momentum on the ball and launch it up into the air. Another thing that I
notice is that the ramp has to be designed pretty well. Otherwise, if the
ball hits it, it’s not going to get
launched up into the air. Finally, another thing I
noticed about this idea is that by design, it’s
not really that portable, because it’s dependent
on lugging around a big, heavy weight. So that could be a problem if
you want to take this thing out into a volleyball net. Based on the things
that I’ve learned, I’ve actually decided to switch
from a kickball launching method to a slingshot method. Remember how I mentioned
that you don’t always get it right the first time through. Because this video is
a little bit short, I don’t have time to go through
another model at this level, so we’re going to skip ahead
to a more refined prototype. OK. So here’s our more
refined prototype. It’s made of wood, so it’s a bit
more durable than the last one. And it’s going to help us
find out a little bit more about the slingshot solution. So the way that
this prototype works is that these
elastic bands up here will act as the slingshot
with these two posts. And this hook is
going to connect to a pin that goes through
these holes right down here. Then, when the pin
gets removed, the ball should get launched
from this funnel. So let’s see how well it works. [MUSIC PLAYING] So even though this
prototype worked, am I done? Absolutely not. There’s still a lot more to do. I could do stuff like improve
the model by talking to users and see if actually
meets their needs. I can make it a little bit
more user friendly and easier to use. I could add some more features,
something like a ball feeder so that you could
have multiple balls and that it launches
them one at a time. There’s still plenty
of things to do. Keep in mind that the
design processes is actually an iterative thing, so you’d
go through it over and over again until you
arrive at something that’s ready to go to market. I hope you learned a bit
about the design process in your hope to out there and
design something yourself. OK. So let’s recap the
process we took. We made an observation that
it’s difficult to practice volleyball by yourself. We brainstormed solutions
to that problem, and we compared ideas to
pick our favorite one. We made prototypes to
test those solutions, and then we had to repeat
some of those steps in order to find even
better solutions. That’s how we came up
with a way to solve the problem of it being
difficult to practice volleyball on your own. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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