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Meccano & Arduino Workshop: Connected Object Design

Meccano & Arduino Workshop: Connected Object Design

A joint conference for Master’s students in Product Design and Interaction Design was held from April 8-12, 2013. Sixteen teams from various disciplines converged on the topic of new household objects that act and interact in the day-to-day. Workshop sponsor Meccano issued each team a model construction kit from its product line as a starting point for the creations to follow. The interactive part incorporated Arduino technology and its Open Source electronics prototyping board.

Vibrating helmet called "Turning Head"

Arnaud Balduc, Head of Product Design, and Florent Michel, Head of Interaction Design, organized the conference, whose guest speakers included designers from two Nantes-based groups: the association, PiNG, and FoxDesign agency. PiNG was represented by Guillaume Brunet and Laurent Berthelot, music and electronics systems designers for interactive installations, who handled the projects’ interactive aspect by: embedding meaning in man-machine interactions, the types of sensors or triggers available, and implementing IT algorithms. Co-Director of FoxDesign Nicolas Libeaut was in charge of ensuring product operations and coherence (esthetics, structure, mechanical functionality, etc.).

Decorating machine named “Pimp my cake”

The initial briefing was to design an object that combined role and function within the home. Each group comprised four to five students (from Interaction Design and Product Design), and was given a different topic, such as designing an object in relation to the vegetal realm, health and well-being, cooking and entertaining, people-to-people communication or the environment. For all 16 topics addressed, there were 16 creations. For five days, students put their competencies together and to work, and in turn, were able to devise, design and execute their projects. After a week’s worth of blood, sweat and tears during which students and representatives from both PiNG and FoxDesign put forth relentless effort, the conference ended with an exhibit displaying all 16 projects in the reception area of L’École de design.

The objects on display dished up a healthy serving of creativity, and enabled the public to feasts its eyes on such novelties as the decorating machine named “Pimp my cake” or the remote-controlled, vibrating helmet called “Turning Head.” The “Tour’N’Soul” project gives flowers more flair, the “Toastineur 2000” sends you down memory lane with its all-in-one device for all of your sandwich needs, and the “Flipill” leaves you without words with its highly entertaining, automated pill organizer that takes the drama out of pill time.

D’autre part, chaque groupe a conçu une page web scénarisant et documentant leur projet au moyen de textes, illustrations et vidéos. Vous pouvez trouver ci-après une sélection de quelques sites web :